Oktane19: Balancing Agility and Security in Workplace Collaboration
Ilan Frank: Thank you. So first actually, it's going to be myself, Ilan Frank, I lead enterprise product at Slack, and Pooja Mehta will be joining me in a little bit. And then we have a surprise guest, Erik Hansen from Workday, who is a senior business analyst, will join me at the end and we'll do some Q&A on how Workday has rolled out Workday, Okta, and Slack, together.
Ilan Frank: Those lights are blinding, but I see enough to see hands. How many people in the audience here use Slack? Okay. That's similar to last year, so at least we're consistent. Almost everyone, in case you're in the front row and weren't turning around. That's good. So our goal for today, myself and Pooja and Erik as well, is really not to preach Slack, but more to hopefully have you walk away with some tips and tricks for how Okta has integrated into Slack, some of the ways we just think about security, and then you'll get lucky chance to also learn from Workday and how Workday has configured Slack and secured Slack. So that's really our goal, is to really more give you some information that maybe you didn't have before these 45 minutes.
Ilan Frank: Before we do that, I will talk a little bit about what we're seeing in the market, but I'll spend only a few minutes on that, I promise.
Ilan Frank: So I meet with probably about a hundred or so CIOs a year on the enterprise side, and what we're seeing over and over, and I'd love to hear from you later on in the Q&A session maybe, how this is affecting you, a real trend where work is changing, work is becoming more complicated. It used to be that there was one person, made a decision, everyone else ran off and did whatever that one person kind of said. And now, we have more people involved in decision making, we have decision making is based on data, and of course we have more apps that we are integrated in as we make decisions. And that's compounded by three factors that we're also seeing; one is the pace of innovation, this little chart on the left shows how long it takes a product to get full market saturation, going all the way back to refrigerators in the 1900s, that would take something like 80 years. And now of course to the age of cell phones where it takes only a few years for full saturation for a new version of an iPhone or Android.
Ilan Frank: The second effect is ... the second pressure is the Amazon effect. What that means is basically it used to be that you decided whether you want to be focused on service or focused on price, or focused on quality when you set out to develop something. That's no longer the case. You just have to develop and you have to focus on service no matter what industry you're in. You just don't have a choice anymore. The consumers are asking for that, are expecting that, and so that's something that we're seeing. And then the final one is decisions are just more complicated because more people are involved in those decisions.
Ilan Frank: And so what's happening is organizations are adapting. And this is, again, just the lead-in to the rest of our discussions here about agility. What we're talking about agility is not necessarily agile with a capital A, but lowercase A. Organizations are moving from this machine, this top-down control where CIOs and CEOs would make all the decisions, and everyone else would basically follow suit. And what's happening now is that instead of that, we have these teams, and you enable these teams to go off and run and do whatever it is that they need to do. We empower them. Those teams are not just IT teams. If you're in IT, which I'm assuming at an Okta conference most of you are, you know this, you've already done this for the last 20 years. But what we're seeing more and more is that this happens now in marketing, in HR, so recruiting, marketing campaigns. Even sales is now a team sport. You no longer have the lone sales person out there trying to close a deal. They come in with their solution engineer and their customer success manager, and they bring in product, and so forth, and so selling is not a team sport as well.
Ilan Frank: And what that does is it leads to a proliferation of applications, and that is where we circle back to where we are today, which is we want to do two things. As our companies are transforming into these agile organizations, these fast-moving organizations, we want to do two things; we want to enable that. We don't want to stop it. We don't want to be the old IT that basically is known as a call center that says no. We want to be enablers. At the same time though, those of us that are in IT obviously have to still be worried about security. So how do we do both? How do we enable our organization to be agile and to move quickly, and at the same time secure the boundaries of the information that we have with an organization, so we prevent things like data leakage and all the other crazy things that we have to worry about.
Ilan Frank: And that really brings us to the next stage here. So the CIOs are changing what their stance is. Again, IT is no longer a department of no, it is a department of yes. That's what CIOs across the world are really changing to, and how do we do that with Okta, how do we do that with Slack.
Ilan Frank: So with that very short and quick intro, I see the countdown clicking. I'm going to bring it over to Pooja Meta, who will take you through some of how we look at that at Slack.
Pooja Mehta: Awesome. So as Ilan mentioned, my name's Pooja Mehta, I'm the enterprise product manager at Slack and I focus on our identity, security, and compliance product areas. So really what my goal for today's portion of this presentation is to focus on how as we know that the modern work environment is changing to become more agile, our organizations have to adapt to this new way of working, which means providing tools that are both flexible and agile as well as secure and compliant. And what I want to talk about is how Slack allows you to power agility and security in the modern workplace.
Pooja Mehta: So Slack, as most of you know as users, is a tool that helps everyone work together and collaborate as easily online as folks were used to doing in person. Right? The information, the collaboration around conversations, the software, it's all centralized in one location allowing folks to get work done quickly and in a very agile manner. What this means is that with the tools that Slack provides, you are now able to balance and strike the right balance between security and agility, which I know a lot of folks find very challenging in this modern work environment. And the way that Slack allows us to do that is through these buildings blocks.
Pooja Mehta: So we can kind of dive into each and every single one of these. So these building blocks are the ones that allow us to ensure that we are meeting our compliance requirements, everything from ensuring that we are meeting our regulations from a data security and data privacy perspective, ensuring that we have the tools and controls to ensure that we are identifying the right users logging into our tools, as well as ensuring that their authenticating in a way that is secure, ensuring the right people and the right tools are accessing the most secure business content within your organization. And then finally, ensuring that you have all the oddity and visibility that you need to ensure that the tool is being managed in a way that is compliant within your organization.
Pooja Mehta: So let's dive into each one of these building blocks. We can kind of go through these from left to right. So from a compliance perspective, I think if we took an informal poll of everyone in this room, we would find a broad spectrum of organizations across different industries, organizations that have both business domestically within the United States as well as abroad, and then also those organizations that have to adhere to a broad set of data privacy requirements. And as such, Slack is really invested in having a broad range of regulations that we support, and we'll kind of dive into what some of these security badges that we comply with in just a moment, but this has been a top priority for us over the years.
Pooja Mehta: The second building block to kind of balancing security and agility is around identification and authentication. When you bring on a tool like Slack within your organization, it becomes imperative to ensure that you're able to identify that the right users are trying to access your tool and they're authenticating securely. So what falls into this category is a variety of different things; the ability for you to manage your different company domains, ensuring that you're able to manage user provisioning and de provisioning at scale, as well as ensuring that your users are able to securely and seamlessly log in to the application whenever they deem necessary, and then also ensuring when they're logging in if they need that additional level of security, they can use multi-factor authentication. And Slack provides all of these capabilities either natively or through partner solutions, and we'll dive into each of these in a bit more detail as well.
Pooja Mehta: And then as Slack becomes the hub of collaboration within your organization, which I'm sure you're seeing over time, auditing and accountability become imperative. You need to know what's happening within the solution both at the administrative level, but also at the end-user level. Right? You need the audit logs of all of the activities that are taking place. You need to ensure that you are complying with retention requirements such that messages and files are only being kept for as long as necessarily, and no longer than that so that your risk profile isn't increasing too much over time. You also need to ensure that your users are accepting the terms of service within which they can use Slack in your organization so that you're complying with legal requirements. And then finally, you want to make sure that you're able to integrate Slack into pre-existing DLP or e-discovery solutions so that you're meeting those requirements as well, and this is not a siloed solution that's kind of living off in the corner.
Pooja Mehta: And then finally, also as Slack becomes the hub of collaboration, you want to make sure you have full control over who has access to your tool. Right? Whether it's us as the vendor, or the users that are accessing the tool across mobile devices, web applications, as well as desktop applications. So we have a variety of different solutions that we offer under this brick as well.
Pooja Mehta: So what I want to do in the subsequent slides is just kind of walk through each of these categories, and just highlight some tips and tricks and best practices that you can take away and bring back to your organizations.
Pooja Mehta: So starting with compliance certificates. As I mentioned, we've really invested in this area in order to support a broad range of regulations across different industries, international requirements, as well as data privacy requirements. So you see a lot of the badges that we support here on this slide, and most recently we announced that we are also HIPAA compliant. So for any organizations out there that are in the healthcare space, you can now use Slack in a very compliant manner in order to use it within those means as well.
Pooja Mehta: From an identification and authentication perspective, I mentioned there's a bunch of things that go into this, and we've really invested in this area heavily over the last several years. And you see this spectrum of capabilities that we offer both natively as well as through partner solutions. Right? So as you go from left to right on this spectrum, you have options within Slack that become more integrated and more secure and more automated so that you're not only using email and password to log in to Slack, but rather connecting this to things like Okta so that users have a very secure and seamless way of managing their identity and tools.
Pooja Mehta: From a audit and accountability perspective, I want to highlight one feature in specific that we recently launched around our audit logs. So audit logs essentially allow the customers now to have a full log of all the activities that are happening within your organization. Right? Everything from when an admin decides to turn on a specific feature for your users to adhere to, or users download a file, or log in from a certain location. You should have the ability to proactively monitor these behaviors as well as reactively audit them through different sim tools in order to detect any malicious activity. So these are now at your availability.
Pooja Mehta: And then kind of touching on the last brick around access controls, I'm really excited to talk about a feature that we just recently launched a couple weeks ago under this category; it's called Slack Enterprise Key Management, and it is a new tool in order to give customers that are more security conscious and in regulated industries the comfort of moving their most secure conversations and collaboration to a tool like Slack. It allows you to manage your own encryption keys and bring them to Slack so that we're using those keys in order to encrypt and decrypt your messages, thereby giving you full visibility and control of when we're looking to access your data. Thereby just giving you that additional level of assurance and security controls. We launched this feature, as I mentioned, just a few weeks ago and we have a handful of customers already leveraging it, and we've deployed this feature in partnership with Amazon's key management service. If you want more information on this, we definitely have some collateral that we can share with you as part of ... if you stop by our booth in the expo hall.
Pooja Mehta: So with that, I will past it back to Ilan.
Ilan Frank: Thank you very much. All right, great. So Pooja showed you a lot of information there if any of you took pictures of that slide with all the Lego blocks. We obviously didn't have a chance to go into every single one of those features and explain how every single one of those features works, but if you have questions on that, stop by, we'll be here hanging out, I think we have maybe a few minutes after that we can have this room to hang out with. If not, we'll go down to the booth where the Slack booth is, and both Pooja and I will be available there until midnight or something. I don't know. Tonight. So feel free to come by.
Ilan Frank: Okay, so with that, we have lots of customers that are using Slack, obviously many of you here in the room. But I want to really bring up ... I want to introduce you to Erik Hansen. Erik, if you can come up actually from Workday, he is ... there he is. He's got a picture, too. Come on up. Erik is a senior analyst. We'll let him actually tell you more about what he does. I've got some questions prepared, but I think what would be a lot of fun ... do we have a mic, by the way?
Erik Hansen: Oh, I'm mic'ed.
Ilan Frank: I mean for the rest of the folks. Okay, great. Thank you so much.
Erik Hansen: My pleasure. Thanks for having me.
Ilan Frank: All right. So I have some questions prepared for Erik, but think of some questions that you have and I think we might have enough time, for a few minutes at the end there, to run a mic around.
Erik Hansen: Great.
Ilan Frank: Great. So first question-
Erik Hansen: Well you wanted me to talk a little bit about what I do at Workday, so just real quickly, I'm in an enterprise architecture group and I'm specifically in the area of enterprise architecture that deals with new tools, new service, new technology coming into the organization, so I'm a real tools nerd. I imagine a lot of you are in a similar position, so I'm real happy to be here to talk about Slack.
Ilan Frank: Thank you so much. And you took an interesting path into your role, one could say untraditional.
Erik Hansen: Yeah.
Ilan Frank: Tell us a little bit about that, but also specifically how that has maybe informed or affected your view of Cloud, SaaS, security.
Erik Hansen: Certainly. Well it started with my education. I was a communications major, but I also was in information technology, so it's always been this sort of left brain, right brain approach to things. I did a lot of change management in technology firms, and then I joined the Workday ecosystem and they kind of didn't know what to do with me, so they stuck me in data migration. But I got to learn a lot about Workday and that actually led me to Workday itself where I was in professional services for a few years.
Erik Hansen: And my perspective on Cloud really came from being a total neo-fight. I didn't know anything about Cloud delivery really, so everything I know I learned on the job at Workday, so my perspective really is sort of ... it's not entangled in previous ways of doing things or legacy. You know, we like to make fun of our legacy competitor, so I'm like rah-rah, definitely on that. I don't care about those guys, I have no affiliation to them.
Erik Hansen: But since I moved into our technology, our business technology org, I've really seen how powerful the Cloud delivery model is not just for solving some of the problems that the Lego bricks solve, but for really increasing the user experience. As somebody who really cares about the tools that I use, which is why I fell in love with Slack, like I'm sure many of you, hopefully you fell in love with Slack, hopefully it wasn't hoisted upon you. I started to understand the connection between the Cloud delivery model, the Cloud business model, and the innovations that I as a user really got to enjoy. I don't know, do you like reading those release notes on the iOS apps. I do. I love learning about all the new things that they delivered, and it was really enabled by the Cloud model, so I'm 100 percent for ...
Ilan Frank: Yeah. And obviously you have Cloud software, so my previous slide that had all those thousands of apps, how do you look at securing Cloud applications or just thinking around both enabling and securing at Workday?
Erik Hansen: Yeah. I can talk to specifically Slack, because we got enterprise grid and we sort of ... we leverage our ... we also have a sandbox edition of it to do a lot of testing. All the enterprise features, right, you've got to test them out first before you push to production. And we use that as sort of a Wild West, that sort of approving ground for anybody who wants to install a new app or do a new integration or anything like that. They get carb launch in sandbox, they get their own dedicated work space since we can create multiple workspaces in there. They can prove it out and then that's part of the security approval which is here's my test workspace, here's ... you can see the OS settings, here's access to the code and the code repel. And that's part of how we sort of balance the need for security in approving everything that goes into our production since with the sort of empowering the power users that care enough about their experience to go through the trouble of submitting a security ticket and actually making it happen, ticking the box to make it happen.
Ilan Frank: That's really cool. Those of you who are asking a question, what was the sandbox. Sandboxes are part of the functionality that you get with enterprise grid, the skew of ...
Erik Hansen: Our non-prod grid instance, yeah. It looks scary in there because of all the ... it's so many workspaces.
Ilan Frank: Yeah, but making it scary there makes the production less scary.
Erik Hansen: Exactly. It really balances it out.
Ilan Frank: Tell me. I know you mentioned something that actually piqued my interest early on, and I don't know if anyone here caught it, you mentioned that ... I don't know, it's not there. But you work for a department called Biz Tech.
Erik Hansen: I am.
Ilan Frank: What is that? I've never heard of that department before.
Erik Hansen: I've been told that the way to explain it ... so at Workday, we have people in purpose, and that's our HR group, and we have business technology, which is our IT. It sort of maps to what most people know as IT. And this came about relatively recently, it's one of those sort of trends that sweeps the industry, and the more I learned about it, the more it really made sense to me. Most people are familiar with IT. IT is a great ... well I can't say it's a great brand, which is why you see people rebranding, but people know it. You say, oh I work in IT, this is the Thanksgiving conversation, like oh, what does Erik do? Oh he's over in IT.
Erik Hansen: But the business technology part of it really goes to when you're talking about Cloud and our delivery and how we do it, is part of our Workday experience is enabled by Salesforce, another system that we call it Go to Market systems. It's not things that touch our employee experience necessarily. And calling it business technology was really an acknowledgement of not only the stuff that you talked about, which is CIOs becoming the department of yes, but how important it is to think of it holistically, not just your day-to-day communications, data systems, but also your Go To Market systems, and the entire tool chain for delivering your experience, your platform experience, your product experience to your customers.
Erik Hansen: And so that's just one of the facets of us rebranding business technology because it's to acknowledge the strategic importance of it to essentially everything we do, our customer.
Ilan Frank: Yeah. I know this is anti-interviewer 101, don't speak, just ask questions, but one of the things that I'm seeing in the transformation from IT to business technology is also transformation of thinking about Slack very differently, right? It's no longer a chat tool, it's now a workflow tool, it's something that you're using actually to think about when a business person comes to you and says, how do I do this? The answer could be a workflow within Slack. And later, we'll be talking a little bit about some of the workflows ... actually, we'll talk later about the Workday workflows, but do you have any integrations, knowing the answer there is yes, that you would like to highlight that you have built in Slack?
Erik Hansen: Yes. Part of me being allowed to come here today was I'm really excited to talk about Workday's Slack app. Slack, we have the shadow IT thing at Workday where some people started using it and then it kind of catches on like wild fire. Wild fire is actually a nicer, a more pleasant kind of image. I was one of the early people to use it and I fell in love with it. You start using it, you go, oh, Workday needs an app for this. So I've been so excited for this to happen.
Erik Hansen: And I can tell you that right now, we are using a Workday Slack app internally, we have a lot of our customers using it as part of an early adopter program, so we're developing it, we're shipping it, and right now it's my go-to ... when I'm on my desktop, it's my go-to tool for looking up workers. You guys have probably been ... you folks have been in a situation where you're in a meeting with someone you've never met before, and you quick need to look them up, get the dossier on them, so that's what I use now is our Slack app.
Erik Hansen: And we also use it for feedback. If someone goes above and beyond all the time at Workday, especially I ask a lot of favors, and I thank them by giving them feedback and leaving feedback on their profile, which then gets pulled in during the performance cycle. It doesn't just go in a vacuum. The feedback really means something at Workday. It's its own currency. And so I can now leave that from Slack, which produces a ton of friction, which makes me more able to leave more feedback. And now that we've essentially built this infrastructure to support the three-second trigger, API expiration time, we're going a mile a minute. So a lot more features from Workday are going to be pushed out to our Slack app. We're really excited about it.
Ilan Frank: I can't wait for PTO requests and approval. A couple clicks and be done with it.
Erik Hansen: The whole inbox.
Ilan Frank: Yeah. I don't know if any manager ever rejects a PTO approval. I just want to hit yes, yes, yes, and be done with it.
Erik Hansen: I'll let you know-
Ilan Frank: All right, Pooja ... It's not how I do it. I'm really serious. Yeah.
Erik Hansen: You're going to see this recording, she's going to Slack your link to this recording.
Ilan Frank: Exactly. All future vacations. Tell us a little bit about your usage of Slack at Workday, and I have some information for those who ...
Erik Hansen: Oh yeah. Do we have any Workday customers, users in here? All right. Woo! Yeah.
Ilan Frank: At least a third.
Erik Hansen: All right, that's awesome. Yeah, so we have a ton of apps in our grid. We have a lot of workspaces. I would say if were to sort of implement slack, like clean sheet of paper, we'd probably have a lot more workspaces. I know I fell in love with Slack when it was just for other people and me, and that whole workspace can really stretch your legs, have a bunch of stupid channels. But our grid implementation of it is essentially unified, direct messaging, that's what grid gave us is allowed single, direct messaging across the company. It solved a lot of external communication, which is ... external communication outside of the organization is an unsolved problem, it'll always happen, but it really improved things for us because we could have direct messages with people and that really helped. And then we have a ton of apps installed, and so like I said, we have this ... every app goes through security approval, but we're a technology organization, we have a lot of power users, they know how to write their own Python or Java Lambdas, and hook things together. So we have a lot of sort of custom, homegrown apps that people have built. And then we have a ton of channels, so much so that we have a lot of automations that also clean up things and enforce conventions, things like that.
Ilan Frank: Yeah, and I should pause to explain to people who don't know what a grid workspace is. Enterprise grid, which is the version of Slack that Workday is on, is for our larger organizations. If you know what a Slack workspace is, everyone that raised their hand is on a workspace. Enterprise grid allows you to have an unlimited number of workspaces, and then you can connect those to one another with these things called shared channels or cross organizational channels. So you can have a channel across your entire organization. You can use these to separate departments or project groups, if you have a secret project that needs to go off and do that. Yeah, totally unrelated to Workday, but universities are now starting to use them actually, and they have a workspace per class for example, and then all the students can have their channels for that class.
Erik Hansen: How many grid customers are here? I'm curious, maybe the Q&A can be more of a two-way thing, but what happened with us when we got grid is our workspace became less a collection of people and more a collection of channels and apps, and so the channels and the apps really defined the sort of feel of a workspace and the sort of culture of the group. Our Workday education, like our training team, it's like a party. It could be at the university grid. And they'll have different ... you'll see the emojis, you'll see so many more emojis, so many more gifs, so many more apps that are sort of about that interaction and fun, things like that. That's been our experience with grid is now that you can have multiple workspace, each one sort of takes on its own life and culture.
Ilan Frank: That was the intent.
Erik Hansen: Yes. Nailed it.
Ilan Frank: Yeah, when we created it, customers came to us and said we have different groups with different culture and we need something that unifies everyone, but at the same time allows them to express their own desires, needs, and velocity.
Erik Hansen: Yeah, you don't want somebody in education tripping over channels called "Sec eng, op dev, 0-2525."
Ilan Frank: Exactly. Cool. So we only have about 10 minutes left and so I've got a whole bunch of other questions, but if you have questions, let's ... I'm not sure if it's best to raise ... I can't see anything with these lights, so if you could raise your hands, someone could run a mic to you, otherwise I'm going to continue with some of my questions. We have one? Okay, then I'll pause.
Erik Hansen: This reminds me of the high school football games.
Ilan Frank: I know, right.
Speaker 4: So Workday's on enterprise grid, like the pinnacle of Slack, and when I say the pinnacle of Slack, I mean it's the thing that gets all the features. But how do you guys, when you're evaluating tools and you're looking at Slack and say hey, maybe we don't want to pay for all these features, but the only way that we can have security, like Slack, is to pay them an exorbitant amount of money. How do you deal with companies that, unlike Workday, seem to charge for security best practices and disable smaller organizations from being more secure?
Erik Hansen: Is that a question for me or for ...
Speaker 4: It's for whoever wants to answer it.
Ilan Frank: Yeah, that felt like a loaded question as far as pricing strategy.
Erik Hansen: I've been there. I'm in a very small team and like I said, I ask a lot of favors so I leave a lot of feedback, and we're constantly sort of begging for enterprise features for five people. So I've been there, man.
Ilan Frank: Yeah. I could just say that in a high level, I also set the pricing strategy for some of these large enterprise offering some Slack, and our goal is absolutely not to price in such a way where security is only at large organizations. We try to create our skews for each standard plus enterprise to meet the large [crosstalk 00:30:21].
Speaker 4: Just to use Okta, you have to pay twice as much as your normal one, and enterprise grid is three times as much as that.
Ilan Frank: So we can have a side conversation on that. Enterprise grid pricing is basically something that we work with our customers to figure out, and so let's have a conversation later on on what it is. But as far as the features that we put in it, the features that we put in it are ones that our large customers ask for. And if it's a whole bunch of small customers that are asking for those features, that seems like something that we should bring down to the standard or plus. We're not trying to gouge people, we're trying to fit the skew for where the people are in their evolution as a company. So you'll see our compliance features in our enterprise grid offering, like HIPAA and FINRA because those are the types of offerings that our large customers ask for.
Ilan Frank: Any other questions?
Ilan Frank: So I want to switch the topic from pricing to profile fields. Finding people, speaking of large organizations, finding people in large organizations is very difficult. And the first step to collaboration is to know who it is that you're collaborating with. And so I'd love to know a little bit more about anything that you've done over at Workday as far as identifying, helping with that. I know with the integration, which I have a picture of, is one step and that's great, but also you've done some profiles-
Erik Hansen: I apologize. I grew a beard since that picture was taken. I feel like I mis-rep.
Ilan Frank: It was like a week ago.
Erik Hansen: Yeah, oh, I wish. I've been growing this since 8th grade. So the profiles ... So Okta is what provisions our Slack accounts, and all the information, or a lot of information from Workday makes its way through Okta into Slack. I mentioned I'm someone who looks up a lot of people a lot of the time, and that information, their manager, their org, their job description, it's all extremely helpful to me as a user.
Erik Hansen: So we push a lot of information into that slack profile to really enhance the user experience. And also as a tinkerer, it really helps when that information comes in through the API, too, because if I've already gone through the trouble of getting access to our cyber workspace pragmatically, going and then getting it again from Workday is just another security step, it's another security approval, it's another ... it increases the attack service, right, because it's another OF app or API key. So having more of that information in Slack is really helpful for building Slack integrations, things like that.
Erik Hansen: One of the things that really helps me, being at a global company, is that local so we push the local information and if you're messaging someone that you've never worked with before, knowing if they're at work or maybe having dinner or maybe dreaming is a really useful thing for me as a user. So the more information ... it seems the more information we push into Slack from Workday through Okta, the better the user experience is.
Ilan Frank: Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. I don't know. How many people are using profile fields, thinking from Okta into Slack? Do people know that you can do that and bring information in? Only a couple people. So everyone here is probably using Okta, I'm guessing. I didn't ask that question, but I'm assuming the answer is yes. Everyone seem to be using Slack. I find it to be a really useful thing is to bring in those profile fields, especially photos.
Erik Hansen: Oh yeah, photos.
Ilan Frank: Because then you know what people look like.
Erik Hansen: Yeah, exactly. It's hard to tell if someone's photo will be of their dog. Unless they bring their dog to the meeting, which does happen at Workday, you may not recognize them because you haven't seen them. You can look them up in Workday. But I just noticed it says I've worked here. I celebrated five years at Workday in March, and we actually also push employee number to our profile fields, and that's sort of a proxy of how long has this person been at Workday. So again, the more information you pull into the profile, I think the more it enriches that experience.
Ilan Frank: Yeah, that's helpful. So you get your due respect for celebrating five years.
Erik Hansen: What little respect that entitles or engenders, yeah.
Ilan Frank: That's awesome. I can't see anyone, by the way, so if anyone asks a question, just speak and I'll stop.
Erik Hansen: I want more tough pricing questions, like really nail them.
Ilan Frank: Yeah, exactly.
Erik Hansen: What's the deal with the skew. I don't have to worry about it.
Ilan Frank: So I want to talk a little bit about some of the custom or some of the hack-a-thon type things that you've done. Can you tell me that stuff ... you started looting to the sandboxes.
Erik Hansen: Oh, yeah.
Ilan Frank: Can you tell us a little bit more about what you've done there or maybe something else beyond sandboxes that you've done that's really kind of clever and cool.
Erik Hansen: Yeah. For the folks who don't have access to the sandbox, like I said, I think everybody, well maybe not everyone, but we were non-grid customers longer than we were grid customers. But one of the things that my team actually does is we're actually trying to provide a hack-a-thon as a service, like year-round access. And so enabling access to not just our Slack sandbox, but all of our sandboxes year round, giving them enough permission that they would need to develop something cool, to build OF apps and things like that, but in a completely isolated environment from productions. So fostering that sort of spirit of hack-a-thons, not just during our several hack-a-thons throughout the year, but year-round. So if somebody has an idea for ... oh it would be great to connect Slack with JIRA or Workday with some sort of new AWS machine learning APR or something like that, they can have access to that and it's in sort of a self-service sandbox environment. Yeah, sort of a copy of the enterprise stack.
Ilan Frank: That's really cool.
Erik Hansen: Yeah, yeah.
Ilan Frank: There's some other things. I mean you all hack all the time. There's some other things-
Erik Hansen: Feels like that.
Ilan Frank: You mentioned that in one of your hack-a-thons, there were a large number of Slack bots, Slack integrations. Any cool kind of custom things that people have built that you've seen over at Workday?
Erik Hansen: I don't know about-
Ilan Frank: Open copy, nothing copyrighted, don't mention anything that's patented.
Erik Hansen: I can't talk about a lot of that stuff. I can say that Slack is by far the most endpoint for all the integration, so they might do something really cool on side A, but the expression of that or the interface for that increasingly is Slack. And so it's an extremely popular target for our hack-a-thon projects. I just saw a demo the other day where they pushed some stuff into Slack, and they did it from Workday, and it was sort of like a use a very complex workflow thing. They had it up and running in Slack using block-it and no time. It was really cool. But yeah, in terms of ... We're pushing insights from Workday. We're prototyping a lot of stuff. We're seeing yes, we want this, but how would you implement it. There's five different ways to implement certain workflow, so we see people just playing around with different ones. Yeah, I can't talk about too much of it.
Ilan Frank: All right.
Erik Hansen: But yeah, we want that spirit of the hack-a-thon in Slack increasingly important as a target for that. People just want to push it all into Slack, and that's their endpoint, that's their UI.
Ilan Frank: Yeah, yeah. That's what we're hearing more and more, especially with ... I should maybe take a second to explain what block-it is. In case you heard that and don't know what that means, so that's basically Slack's new kind of UI framework for apps. So you see an example of it here where it used to be that when you input information into Slack as an app, as a bot, it just was a text field just like any other text field in Slack. But we want to make that more rich. Imagine a calendar control or a task object or an event object, a task object could actually have an assigned two-field where you select someone to assign it to, and a checkbox when it's done. So things like that basically. So we have several different objects that we're releasing over the course of the next quarter or two that you're going to see in a thing called block-it. So if you're a developer or you integrate into Slack at home, you will want to pay attention to that.
Erik Hansen: Yeah.
Ilan Frank: It's really cool.
Erik Hansen: It really is.
Ilan Frank: Yeah. And it just looks nicer, it's easier to integrate with. And as I was saying, it is available on desktop, on mobile, you don't have to think about it as a developer, like what this is going to look like. Slack kind of takes care of all of that for you. And so that's what we're seeing more and more is people thinking about Slack as kind of that final mile, the interface for things like the PTO request or approval, but it's obviously not the place where you're going to do your feedback cycle at the quarter feedback review or compensation, or something like that.
Erik Hansen: Yeah. Exactly.
Ilan Frank: It's quick tasks or quick things.
Erik Hansen: Yeah. So everybody who doesn't live in ... there's some people who live in Workday, right? You know? But there are other people that are living in Slack, they're living in their inbox, things like that. So we want to push as much of the Workday functionality for those users, that's important to those users like you mentioned, approvals and expense entry. We want to push that to that natural workspace where they are, and so that's what we're building at. And block-it ... some people will be like, why did it take so long for this. It's like, well, we're really happy that it coincides with block-it because the functionality and the richness of the interaction, it's times 10 what we can do with that.
Ilan Frank: Yeah, it's definitely much nicer. All right. We're pretty much at time unless there's another question. I'm going to call it, and thank you very much. Thank Erik for joining us, thank you for coming down.
Erik Hansen: Thanks for having me.
Ilan Frank: I really appreciate it. Thank you, Pooja. And again, we'll be over here. Thank you.
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