By providing clients, like 1-800-Flowers, Tsingtao Brewery and JetBlue Airlines, with software to help manage their IT infrastructure, San Jose–based Nutanix gives them the flexibility to keep some data in-house and outsource other pieces to the cloud. Disrupting the enterprise IT infrastructure landscape when it launched in 2009, Nutanix reached a $1 billion valuation in four years, officially earning the title of “unicorn startup.” Then it filed for the biggest IPO of 2016.
As Nutanix grew, so did the engineering team, with new employees joining from across the globe. “One of our founders knew we needed a faster, better way for engineers to collaborate, so we could work toward a unified mission and vision,” says Amit Bhatnagar, Nutanix’s senior director for IT applications. Teams were using Yammer and Facebook Workplace, but the ability for Slack to integrate with other applications and unify on one platform was too strong of a draw.
Once engineering started using Slack, everyone recognized the potential of the secure channel-based messaging platform. “Our biggest initial Slack champion was one of our company’s founders,” Bhatnagar says. “We’ve now unified our collaboration in Slack, and it’s become a crucial part of Nutanix.”
Its value quickly realized, Slack now helps teams across Nutanix optimize their tools, collaborate efficiently and facilitate high-impact work. “I can’t imagine working without some of the apps and integrations in Slack,” Bhatnagar says.
“At one time, even though our ticket volume was up by 40%, we were resolving tickets 34% faster with 27% fewer technicians thanks to Slack automations and bots.”
Resolving IT tickets 34% faster with 27% fewer technicians
Bhatnagar is responsible for supporting and managing the different applications Nutanix employees use globally. “We want to enable our users to be more productive and efficient,” he says. This includes both the tools IT offers employees and the services it provides. “The more operational processes we put in Slack, the less our users have to switch contexts.”
Things like approvals for software, accounts, purchase orders, leave and timesheets were once a time-consuming process that involved multiple applications and windows. “People love that they don’t have to log in to approve anymore,” Bhatnagar says. “Now for every key app, we add the Slack integration.”
To keep up with Nutanix’s growth, Bhatnagar’s team also empowers colleagues to create IT tickets using a self-serve autonomous Slack bot called X-Bot.
To engage with more than 60 external vendors and partners, Nutanix uses more than 70 Slack Connect channels to securely work across organizational boundaries. “There’s more seamless collaboration in Slack Connect compared to email, and the response rates are better,” Bhatnagar says.
“Slack Connect is the primary way we collaborate with our vendors and partners.”
Driving meaningful engagement and a 90+ NPS score
When Bhatnagar or anyone on the IT team starts a project, they loop stakeholders from different departments into designated Slack channels, virtual spaces to share messages, workplace automations, digital tools and files. “Slack helps break down silos because when everyone’s in one channel, we don’t think of them as people from different departments,” Bhatnagar says. “We’re all working towards one goal, one initiative or one OKR.”
The IT team is also unlocking company-wide productivity by giving teammates ways to build on their own, without technical training or knowledge. Thousands of Nutanix engineers have the tools they need to develop Slack integrations by themselves via customized flows made with Workflow Builder, Slack’s no-code tool for automating routine tasks.
“We want to democratize development with what we call our citizen developers,” Bhatnagar says. With customized tools at their disposal, teams can be more innovative with their operational efficiencies.
Bhatnagar measures his team’s success by calibrating the end user’s experience via a net promoter score (NPS): “We want to know when they had a successful experience, and where we can improve,” he says. On a scale from -100 to +100, Nutanix IT’s average NPS is 90+, and Slack apps play a key part in achieving such a high score. “To maintain our culture and success, we want our employees to have delightful, uniform experiences in Slack.”
“Over the last year, we’ve integrated more operational processes into Slack and are seeing increased engagement across the company.”
Engaging with the CEO and facilitating high-impact sales
Tina Grillos is the senior director and head of internal communications at Nutanix. One of her big priorities is guiding the company’s new CEO and other senior leaders with a communications strategy that facilitates growth while unifying the global employee base. “Right now, my function is to drive the right communication elements as the organization grows,” she says.
One way Grillos helps with this is via Slack channel management, recommending different channels where senior leaders can focus their attention. For example, “Instead of talking to 6,000 people in the
#general Slack channel, we asked our CEO to address a more focused audience in our
#webscalewomen channel for International Women’s Day,” she says. “The interaction on our leaders’ posts is incredible because our leaders are in the right place having the right conversations.”
Another highly visited channel is
#competitive-info, where sales, marketing and engineering teammates share knowledge about Nutanix products, discuss the competition and ask for feedback to close large, high-priority deals faster. “The competitive-info Slack channel is where all the communities come together to talk about everything, and it’s not owned by anybody,” Grillos says. “It’s owned by everybody.”
“By having all of our important information in Slack, we’re able to create a simplicity around our communication channels.”
Driving such meaningful engagement in Slack affects employees at all levels and helps create a cohesive culture, especially important for those just joining Nutanix. Grillos has a recent new hire who’s thriving remotely. “She’s never been in the physical office, but she’s learning about the organization and Nutanix culture in Slack,” she says. “She completely understands our corporate culture, how to get things done and who’s who, just by being in Slack.”