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Slack wants to help you sign in to all your other office apps

The office collaboration startup joins a crowded field in identity management.

Slack / Shutterstock

Slack, the fast-growing office productivity and communications app, today made a case to be the only thing you sign in to during your work day.

Hot on the heels of its latest fundraising and with its attention focused on selling to ever-larger companies, Slack today unveiled Sign in with Slack, a feature that will allow it to integrate easily with other apps in adjacent markets. By enabling a single sign-in for the customers it shares with upstart workplace apps like Quip, Figma, Kifi, OfficeVibe, Slackline and Smooz, Slack is making a play to control what's often referred to in enterprise-focused software as the identity layer.

It's a crowded area, as you can tell by the number of web services and workplace apps that allow you to sign in with a Google, Facebook or Twitter identity. In fact, there are numerous larger companies with names like Okta, Centrify and PingID that specifically focus on helping companies manage and secure the employee sign-in credentials for the hundreds or thousands of apps they're using.

The conceit of Slack's approach is that all companies need — or soon will — the sort of instant group-based and one-to-one chat and collaboration app it offers in order to cut back on email and conference calls. And Slack is the sort of sticky app that employees tend to sign into once and use throughout the day, making it a logical one-stop for signing in to the apps you use to get things done at work.

This will help set it apart from other messaging apps like Symphony, which tends to be focused on the financial industry, and Spark, a Slack-like product created by networking giant Cisco Systems, but which hasn't seen much traction. The more unique cross-application combinations Slack creates, the stronger the case it can make that it amounts to the most meaningful shift in how people communicate in the workplace since email itself. At the moment, Slack still has a long way to go.

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