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Transformation

Flexibility reigns: six key takeaways from Frontiers 2022

The future of work is having a digital HQ that works for you

By the team at SlackJuly 7th, 2022

Our Frontiers 2022 conference packed a lot into one day with announcements of new releases, breakouts on how your organization can successfully adopt a digital HQ, and talks with powerhouse Slack users. This year participants from across the globe joined us in person on June 22 at the Javits Center in New York City, and for the first time ever, thousands joined us by streaming online on Salesforce+.

If you missed it, here are six key takeaways from Slack’s biggest event of the year.

Channels are the building blocks of organizational agility

Stewart Butterfield at Frontiers 2022

“When the world changes, your plans need to change,” said Slack Co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield.

During the opening keynote, “Best, better and beyond: redesigning the office for today and tomorrow,” Slack co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield said one of the biggest challenges for organizations today is achieving alignment in our fast-paced, digital-first world.

Successful businesses make sure that teams and individuals are aligned on objectives, know what they’re supposed to do, and act in a coordinated and efficient way. When you are aligned, you have organizational agility and can move forward together. “When we’re all moving in the same direction we can really get things done,” Butterfield said. And Slack is helping businesses achieve this by serving as their digital HQ, where businesses can break down communication silos and bring teams together around common goals, projects and processes.

The fundamental building blocks of a digital HQ are channels, he said, because they mirror an organization’s priorities, allowing everyone to see the entire range of activity happening across the company. In fact, the value of using channels is the reason this year’s closing keynote speaker, multi-hyphenate artist Janelle Monáe, has publicly said she uses Slack.

Janelle Monae tweet

Huddles transform coworking for remote workers

“We’re redesigning the way you work in three ways: Make what’s hard in the office better, bring what you love about the office into Slack, and create unique ways of working in the digital HQ that you could not do in the office,” said Slack Chief Product Officer Tamar Yehoshua.

We’re blowing up the notion of the weekly 30-minute video call with huddles. Slack Chief Product Officer Tamar Yehoshua shared during the opening keynote that Slack Huddles, Slack’s fastest-adopted feature to date, has 43,000 weekly active users. In response to customers wanting the ability to do more in-depth coworking, we’re releasing enhanced huddles this fall.

Slack Senior Director of Product Design Anna Niess provides a live demo of the new features of huddles.

Slack Senior Director of Product Design Anna Niess provides a live demo of the new features of huddles.

The new evolution of huddles will have features that go beyond coworking in a physical office. Users will have the option to start a huddle from a thread, use video in conversations, and do all the same things in a huddle that you can do in a thread: view people’s Slack profiles, take notes, upload files and react with emojis, all while staying in the huddle. Users can also share two screens side by side and draw with live cursors. Those who join the huddle later can get up to speed quickly by reviewing the huddle’s rich messaging. And when the conversation is done, the huddle becomes a time-stamped, searchable, digital artifact. “Coworking stays in Slack, where your attention was already focused,” Yehoshua said.

Anyone can unlock the full potential of a digital HQ

Slack Chief Product Officer Tamar Yehoshua (far right) chats with IBM’s (from left to right) Obed Louissaint, Jennifer Quinlan and Jenn Booth about how they are thoughtfully using Slack and Salesforce together as the company’s digital HQ.

Slack Chief Product Officer Tamar Yehoshua (far right) chats with IBM’s (from left to right) Obed Louissaint, Jennifer Quinlan and Jenn Booth about how they are thoughtfully using Slack and Salesforce together as the company’s digital HQ.

IBM (recognized with the 2022 Slack Spotlight Award for Digital HQ Excellence) is building a digital headquarters where teams are evolving the way the company automates work. During the opening keynote, Jenn Booth, IBM’s global Salesforce partner for consulting sales strategy and products, said that the company’s thriving culture comes from asking employees what they need and giving them the tools to get work done. “With a digital headquarters … you’re building this for your employees, but it’s for them to build for themselves,” Booth said.

We’re making the Slack Platform even more accessible to non-developers. During the “Customize your digital HQ with the new Slack Platform” session, Slack SVP of Product Management Steve Wood said users won’t have to rely on developers to design complex workflows. Employees across your digital HQ will be able to create workflows by dragging and dropping components—such as pre-designed if-this-then-that logic steps and custom-built and out-of-the-box app integrations—that come together like Lego blocks. In addition, colleagues can edit and remix pre-created workflows for their needs.

Having simple and convenient tools while still working in a secure and compliant digital HQ enable the people closest to the problem to create workflows without code that help automate time-consuming processes. “I think we’re going to shepherd in the next generation of low-code in the industry,” Wood said.

Slack plans to release these capabilities early next year. Until then, developers can get early access to these features by applying to our Developer Beta program.

Slack and Salesforce provide more value together

“If we bring the digital HQ into the center of the Salesforce Customer 360, that system of record becomes an underpinning of data, of processes, of workflows, of automations … that expand the possibilities of a digital HQ,” said Slack Director of Product Marketing for Cloud Integrations Kamilla Khaydarov.

Ever since Salesforce acquired Slack, we’ve been working together to improve productivity and deliver even more value to our customers. During our talk “Drive business growth with the power of Slack and Salesforce,” Slack Director of Product Marketing for Cloud Integrations Kamilla Khaydarov said that Slack is the “engagement layer” between human events and system events that brings agility to organizations.

She shared three things we’re focusing on:

  • Breaking down silos by bringing Customer 360 business and customer data into Slack
  • Aligning stakeholders around conversations and insights to make better decisions
  • Simplifying and automating processes across systems

Katie Dunlap, Slalom’s general manager of global Salesforce capabilities for industry and enterprise delivery, shared how the global consulting firm is using both Salesforce and Slack together to manage partner and customer engagement in real time.

“We’re leveraging this with Troops, which we use to signal and send out the right criteria to alert us if there are opportunities,” Dunlap said. “Our team sets it up so when there is a new opportunity in an emerging practice—or in a cross-cloud environment, where we have multiple Salesforce clouds, multiple teams in our organization—we want to be alerted as soon as it’s created so we can bring the right people and the right stakeholders to support that.”

Learn what Salesforce integrations for Slack are currently available and how to put them in action.

How you work matters more than where you work

Employees want to have flexibility. Building a digital HQ that’s flexible was the overall theme of this year’s Frontiers. It makes sense, as Butterfield mentioned in his keynote, because data from our Future Forum Pulse survey shows that knowledge workers are prioritizing workplace flexibility. The research shows that 79% of full-time employees want flexibility in where they work, and 94% want flexibility in when they work.

GitLab’s chief marketing and strategy officer Ashley Kramer shares her company’s formula for working entirely remotely.

GitLab’s chief marketing and strategy officer Ashley Kramer shares her company’s formula for working entirely remotely.

Ashley Kramer, chief marketing and strategy officer at GitLab, is a leader who models and champions workplace flexibility for her employees. Whether she’s hitting the slopes with her best friend or working from another city, she has made flexible work at her all-remote company fit her lifestyle. During “Crack the code on remote work,” Kramer shared GitLab’s formula for creating a successful digital-first culture in which employees can do the best work of their lives, whether they’re at home, at the beach or on the go.

“The digital headquarters means remote and real, and all it takes to create that community, collaborative and creative environment is having the right toolkit, living your values and thriving together as a company,” Kramer said. In short: your digital HQ is a way to work, not a place to work.

Globant Head of Collaboration and Techstack at Globant Federico Ferrari (left) talked to Slack Senior Director of GTM Operations Becca Krass about why the customers’ ability to work “shoulder to shoulder” in the channel is invaluable,  especially when you compare this with how he works with vendors over email. “Everything starts moving in slow motion,” he said. “When I go back to Slack, everything’s much faster. I feel like it speeds up.”

Federico Ferrari, the head of collaboration and techstack at Globant, a software development company, agrees that it’s important to listen to your users and their needs. At Globant, Slack is thriving because it’s able to accommodate all the tools the company’s nearly 30,000 employees use with their clients. In addition to using 500 installed applications and 100 custom integrations right from Slack, Ferrari and his colleagues collaborate with customers in over 800 channels. “I’m absolutely convinced that a huge part of the success that Slack has in Globant is being able to have our customers in there,” he said during “Grow with customers in your digital HQ.

Digital-first collaboration can be secure, compliant and pleasant

Slack SVP of Product for Enterprise Rob Seaman (center) talks to AllianceBernstein’s Global Head of Technology and Operations Karl Sprules (right) and MassMutual’s Head of Collaboration Strategy Chris Shugrue (left) about how Slack is modernizing work processes for their organizations.

Slack SVP of Product for Enterprise Rob Seaman is keenly aware that in a hybrid world, security and scalability are more important than ever. This is doubly true for organizations in highly regulated and complex industries. During the “Slack is your digital HQ for financial services” session, which featured how our customers AllianceBernstein and MassMutual use Slack and Salesforce, Seaman shared that companies shouldn’t have to limit their software options to tools their employees don’t enjoy using.

“I’ve had some funny conversations with financial services customers where they’ve said to me verbatim, ‘Slack seems like too much fun for us,’” he said. “So I want to use this as an opportunity to say that you can have fun, but do this in a very secure and compliant environment. We’re aggressively focused on this. It’s one of the biggest investment areas for my team.”

In addition to the work we’re doing with financial services, this month Slack is rolling out GovSlack, a dedicated instance of Slack designed to meet the security needs of government organizations and their partners.

Want more highlights from Frontiers 2022? Watch recorded Frontiers sessions on Salesforce+, and continue the interactive discussion in the Slack Community Workspace. Also, pick up a copy of How the Future Works to get a roadmap outlining how to empower your teams in a digital-first world.

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