Employees draw globe, representing the way Slack Connect brings business from across the globe together

The next step in reinventing business communication with Slack Connect

Employees at more than 74,000 organizations and counting can now securely direct message anyone—inside or outside their company

By the team at SlackMarch 24th, 2021Illustration by Francesco Ciccolella

As more and more companies adopt a distributed working style—research shows that 83% of knowledge workers want to work remotely full- or part-time—it’s clear that meetings won’t return to the pre-pandemic status quo. That’s leading businesses to reinvent the way they communicate internally and externally.

Designed to replace email outside your company, Slack Connect allows you to work with external organizations with the same speed and security you’ve come to expect with Slack. From restaurant chains to the world’s largest management consulting firms, more than 74,000 paid customers—twice as many as this time last year—are relying on Slack Connect to maintain critical partnerships and facilitate a new way of working. This week alone, more than 12 million messages will be shared across 183 countries.

This represents a fundamental shift in the way businesses have traditionally communicated. While legacy solutions might offer guest or specific channel access, it’s limited to connecting individuals, rather than organizations in a centralized place. With Slack Connect, up to 20 organizations can securely work together in the same space, where each side can maintain control over their organization’s data.

To further help businesses improve the way they work with their partners and customers, we’re greatly expanding what’s possible with Slack Connect. You’ll be able to:

  • Quickly and securely connect with anyone outside of your organization with Slack Connect direct messages (available today)
  • Link together multiple organizations to create a private business network, allowing for unified directories, channel discovery and more (available later this year)

Work faster with customers and partners

Ad hoc collaboration is often challenging when working with people outside your company. For example, collaborating on a sales contract or reviewing the latest designs from your creative agency requires real-time communication that isn’t possible in email. To that end, we’re introducing new ways to bring partners together and speed up those tasks in Slack.

“Because of the pandemic, being able to iterate quickly with partners like Transit app in Slack Connect is twice as important. The level of collaboration we achieved would not have been possible in email. We needed to work as fast as we could to ensure our riders felt safe.”

Securely direct message anyone in real time

Simply send an invite to any partner and start messaging in Slack as soon as the other side accepts, speeding up the work that often starts over back-and-forth emails. A salesperson can form a direct line of contact to prospects, or a customer service agent can triage an issue faster, without waiting for the other side to check their email. Soon, we’ll expand Slack Connect DM invitations to all teams, including those on free plans.

Following a webinar, a sales rep sends a direct message through Slack Connect

Release date: Available today

“Being able to message anyone in Slack is going to jump-start new customer connections, enabling us to kick off sales opportunities and start critical conversations earlier.”

Save time on routine work with new apps for Slack Connect

Without visibility into another organization’s tools, it’s often time-consuming to get everyday tasks done, like scheduling a meeting. New apps help streamline manual processes with your external colleagues, giving you time back to focus on the more creative side of work.

A sales rep schedules a meeting with a prospect using the Calendly app for Slack

Introducing the brand-new Calendly app for Slack

  • Skip the scheduling back-and-forth and share a Calendly link in Slack for an effortless scheduling experience between your partners and customers
  • Get documents signed faster by bringing actionable DocuSign notifications in Slack, where you’re already working with partners and customers
  • Map accounts with Crossbeam, and then discover and act on shared opportunities in Slack, where partners can quickly mobilize—from sharing learnings to formulating a joint sales strategy

Release date: Available today

Securely connect to external organizations

Admins and security professionals can have peace of mind that all of Slack’s enterprise-grade security features and compliance standards extend to both channels and direct messages with external partners. We know that not all external relationships are alike—working with a trusted consulting partner will require more coordination than working with a one-time vendor. That’s why we’re investing in ways to fine-tune the policies between you and your external partners to add further granularity and scalability.

“With Slack Connect, you’re in an environment where you’re in control. You can review and audit interactions happening with the information, and all the files are also secured within your environment.”

Protect your team against unwanted phishing attacks

As organizations embrace a distributed working model, more of our data is at risk because of an increase in phishing scams and sophisticated cyberattacks targeting remote workers. Admins can already have confidence that certain files shared with external organizations in Slack Connect, both in channels and DMs, are automatically blocked. To further prevent phishing scams and spam, we’re building industry-standard malware protection and link scanning, where malicious activity is automatically prevented.

Release date: Spring 2021

Tailor Slack Connect policies to each of your external partners

Admins can already designate which users or which workspaces have access to Slack Connect. Soon, admins will also be able to restrict the behaviors of members from partner organizations, such as inviting others and installing apps.

Admins will soon be able to restrict the behaviors of members from partner organizations, such as inviting others and installing apps

Release date: Summer 2021

Administer at scale with a Slack Connect API

We want to make admins’ jobs simple and save them time—whether they’re managing a 100-person startup or a 10,000-person organization. Later this year, admins will automatically be able to create, approve, and monitor hundreds or even thousands of channels with a Slack Connect API.

Release date: Summer 2021

Build your own business network

When you join Slack, you get access to the world’s largest network of companies. In the near future, two or more organizations will be able to create a private business network using Slack Connect. These networks will allow for unified directories, direct messaging, channel discovery and shared applications. For example, a user at a private equity firm can quickly connect with all of its portfolio companies. Employees across universities, pharmaceutical companies and government agencies could work together on faster drug research and distribution.

Release date: Winter 2021

“There’s that sense of belonging and just really being in the loop of a lot of things, thanks to everyone sharing updates on Slack.”

Get started with Slack Connect

Slack Connect is quickly becoming the preferred way for organizations to drive their business forward and communicate with their customers, partners and vendors, from enterprise sales teams in Seattle to accountants in Australia. The first step toward reinventing the way you work with customers, partners and vendors is just a direct message away. Send one today to:

  • Request assistance from a vendor
  • Kick off a joint project with a partner
  • Quickly exchange campaign ideas with your creative agency

Send an invite by drafting a new message and typing your partner’s email address or read the step-by-step guide for more details on how to get started.

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