Transformation

Making tomorrow’s workday better with Slack

Preview the possibilities of our next-generation Slack platform

By the team at Slack16th November 2021Illustration by Giacomo Bagnara

This week at our annual Slack Frontiers conference, we’re revealing powerful new capabilities of our ever-evolving Slack platform for all users, not just developers. After all, more than 80% of people who build workflows in Slack are non-technical – a signal that people, regardless of their skill level, want to create solutions for themselves and their teams.

That’s exactly what we’re doing with the next iteration of our platform. By democratising tools, offering pre-existing workflows and the ability to customise solutions, we’re eliminating ‘the work of work’ as much as possible. Let’s look ahead to what a workday might be like using Slack in the near future.

Saving valuable time with swift reviews and approvals

Automation often means shaving minutes off repetitive tasks. We’ve seen Slack workflows that let people request time off or start an expense report. But those trigger an approval process where a manager receives a link to an external tool to process the request, which takes time and requires jumping to another app. Slack’s ability to integrate with other tools means that closing the loop on approvals can happen instantly and automatically.

animated GIF of Slack showing a time off app request and approval

Let’s say that someone uses a workflow – built internally using Slack APIs or no-code tools like Workflow Builder – to request time off in Slack. Soon, the person’s manager will receive a short message with key details of the request. Once the manager reads it and clicks ‘approve’, the real magic will begin. In the background, the request will be located within the company’s HR app and marked as approved. An event will also be created on the team’s shared calendar to let everyone know when their coworker will be out of the office. Three apps, all interacting in the background automatically in a matter of seconds after a single click, without leaving Slack.

Kick off your workday by getting up to speed faster

Everyone has a morning routine when they start their workday. Maybe you check your schedule, see how your team is doing and assess the overall health of the business. Chances are you spend a considerable amount of time each morning doing a daily tour of web browser tabs and tools.

Instead, imagine receiving a daily nine o’ clock message, including a data dashboard from all the software and services that you need to monitor, dutifully greeting you with the exact information that you need. If you’re a small business owner, imagine getting a morning report with yesterday’s daily orders and sales totals from Stripe. Or if you’re a social media manager, you could get a single message with the latest number of Mailchimp newsletter sign-ups and follower counts on Twitter. A logistics team could even combine warehouse inventory levels each morning with the number of new orders from the e-commerce system. This data could automatically be shared in a team channel, keeping everyone informed instantly and saving them the hassle of manually tracking the info down.

Give high-priority items extra attention

Every business has its own set of big clients that workflows can help support. With the next generation of the Slack platform, you’ll be able to trigger automations whenever, say, a VIP customer files a troubleshooting ticket or places a large order from your site. You could even report these events in an #all-hands-on-deck channel, where an internal team can fulfil requests from your most valued customers, instantly.

Resolve requests or questions quickly

A powerful feature coming soon to Workflow Builder is the ability to structure workflows around conditional logic. Future workflows will be able to ask questions of a user and respond if they click one button versus another, or when they answer a question based on keywords.

Imagine you have an IT help desk that handles a range of common issues, with a single intake form to gather information. Using if/then statements means when someone clicks the option to say, for example, that they lost their corporate phone, your #security team can know instantly and remotely lock it, or if someone requests a new mouse, the #tech-team can be notified and drop one on the person’s desk a few minutes later.

Take advantage of automations that work across Slack

animated GIF of Slack showing a workflow to approve a tweet

Today, apps in Slack tend to work in a 1:1 fashion. Click a button in Slack, and it’ll send an update to a project management app. But soon, automations in Slack apps will interact with one another. That means that when something happens in one app, it can send relevant details to multiple other apps, and back to Slack.

Let’s say that your operations team learns that your website is down. In the future, a workflow can:

  • Trigger instantly whenever an app like Salesforce Service Cloud issues a high-priority alert on your account
  • Simultaneously create a new incident channel in Slack
  • Auto-invite everyone currently set to ‘on call’ in your PagerDuty app into the new Slack channel

For critical situations where time is of the essence, automations that string together several time-consuming steps like this can cut your downtime significantly.

We’re just getting started

To adopt these new possibilities coming to Slack, you don’t need to be a developer. We’re implementing easier workflow installation and sharing so that even complex actions can be found in a gallery of pre-existing workflows, available soon in Slack.

We hope this preview has sparked ideas for all the ways that you plan to save time and create automations in Slack. Keep an eye on our Slack blog in the coming months to learn more about these enhancements heading your way, and when you can expect their release.

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