These past few weeks have been full of firsts for all of us. For me, that includes working from home (with kids!), leading a fully remote team, and delivering a conference keynote from my dining room table.
Last week, Slack held our first-ever virtual keynote for Enterprise Connect, a conference for communication and collaboration business leaders. I joined our CEO and co-founder Stewart Butterfield and Chief Product Officer Tamar Yehoshua to share how companies are using Slack’s channel-based messaging platform to transition to remote work during the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are key takeaways from what we presented, with a special focus on how Slack’s platform can ease your team’s transition to remote work.
1. Best of breed isn’t new; it’s here to stay
For years enterprise companies have been steadily adopting a best-of-breed approach to technology, selecting the best tool for the task at hand, rather than only buying suites of software from a few vendors. The average enterprise now uses more than 1,000 SaaS products, specialized tools for every function and vertical. Each product typically accounts for only a fraction of a company’s software budget—enterprises no longer depend primarily on any one vendor’s software suite for their work.
Even for office productivity tools, enterprise business leaders often rely on a mix of vendors across their company. Maybe you use Microsoft Office 365, but also Cisco Webex for video conferencing and Box for content management. Or maybe you’re a G Suite company, but count on Zoom and Dropbox too.
In an open software market, companies will always gravitate toward best of breed. The proliferation of apps is a good thing—it enables individuals to perform tasks more efficiently and helps teams automate specific workflows. But relying on email and browser tabs to integrate your apps creates user frustration and makes it harder for cross-functional teams to find information and stay in sync.
2. Bringing your tools together in Slack keeps teams productive
Slack doesn’t have a platform, Slack is a platform. Slack is the only channel-based messaging platform that connects all your tools in a single place, making it easier to access them, share information and drive team productivity.
Teams get more out of software when information is shared across tools—not tucked away in silos—and business leaders realize more value from their software investments. In fact, 95% of Slack app users surveyed say that using apps in Slack make those tools more valuable.
Partners like Box, Cisco and Zoom build apps for Slack because these integrations provide real value for their customers. With more than 2,000 apps in our App Directory, customers can bring all their tools into Slack, from productivity essentials like Office 365 and G Suite to specialized tools like Salesforce and Workday.
Whatever tools you use, wherever you are and on whatever device, we want them to work seamlessly with Slack.
3. New calling apps make it easier to connect
Customers are turning to Slack as they adjust to remote working. In March 2020 alone, Slack users nearly tripled the rate at which they integrate their tools in Slack.
We’ve also seen almost 350% growth in native Slack calls and in the use of apps like Zoom, Cisco Webex Meetings and BlueJeans. When conversations get complex, these apps make it easy to move from Slack into a video or voice call.
Given the growing demand for virtual calling, we launched a new Microsoft Teams Calls app whereby users can quickly start or join a Teams call right from Slack. Users can see who’s already on the call and when it started before joining, allowing a seamless transition.
- Launch a Teams video or voice call right from Slack
- See who’s already on the call and when the call kicked off
- Set Microsoft Teams Calls as the default calling provider in Slack
In a world of remote work, having all your calling tools at your team’s fingertips in Slack keeps people connected and productive. That’s why we’ve extended our suite of integrations from video conferencing to also include VoIP calls (those made over an internet connection rather than a phone line). Now you can call phone numbers right from Slack using Zoom Phone, RingCentral, Fuze and, soon, Cisco Jabber and Dialpad.
4. Slack simplifies workflows by bringing actions and information into channels
Slack also helps reduce friction to accelerate cross-functional collaboration, from speeding up deal cycles to triaging incidents.
For example, with the enhanced Salesforce app, teams at companies such as Adobe and Verizon Media have set up custom alerts so that everyone in a channel knows when a Salesforce record is updated. This way, the right person can swiftly pick up the next phase of the deal to keep the momentum going.
- Search records from Slack, including accounts, leads, opportunities and contacts
- Save messages to Salesforce by linking key customer interactions and internal conversations with Salesforce records
- Customize your channels to notify you or your team about new and updated records
We’ve also seen dramatic growth in usage of Workflow Builder, a Slack feature that automates routine tasks, as teams create simple, customized workflows for remote work. Over the past few months, Slack customers have used workflows more than 4 million times, including for assisting newly remote team members in setting up a VPN or assessing their work-from-home preparedness.
From dramatically expanding our support for video conferencing and phone calls, to moving deals along faster, to automating workflows for remote work, we’re committed to making it easy for customers to use the tools they know and love in Slack.
During this tremendously challenging time, we hope these updates will make your work simpler, your day more productive and your team better connected.