drive efficiency with Workflow Builder
Productivity

Drive more efficiency and cost savings with these updates to Workflow Builder

New and upcoming automation features help your teams do more with less

By the team at Slack31st August 2022Illustration by Pete Ryan

Last year, we announced a bold vision: to empower users by making Slack an automation platform that serves everyone. At the centre of this vision is Workflow Builder – one of our customers’ most beloved tools, which lets anyone create custom workflows and automate routine processes in Slack.

Workflow Builder has attracted a new audience of end users to the Slack platform. In fact, each week, users launch 10.5 million workflows in Slack, growing more than 160% since last year. Since the launch of Workflow Builder, our customers have been able to achieve much more with less time and fewer resources. For example, Verizon established its Citizen Builder Programme, streamlining business-critical workflows such as coordinating field technicians for service calls. And Lockheed Martin created 1,400 workflows to simplify everyday tasks, from triaging IT requests to running scrums.

Karl Owen, Dell

‘We are already power users of Workflow Builder, and these new capabilities will unlock even more advanced use cases for a wider, non-coding audience.’

Karl OwenSenior Distinguished Engineer, Dell

Today we’re revealing updates to Workflow Builder that will make it easier to discover, share and build powerful workflows that help your organisation be more productive and efficient. Time is money, and cutting out extra steps means big cost savings for your organisation.

‘This is part of our goal to make automation accessible for all users, period,’ says Steve Wood, the senior vice president of Product, Platform at Slack. ‘These updates are happening at a critical time when businesses are watching their bottom line. When every minute counts, it’s important to bring the automation creation process closer to the people who are actually going to use it. That’s the measure of a successful digital HQ and where the magic happens.’

Making workflows more shareable and discoverable

If a workflow is created but nobody sees it, was it really created? Workflow Builder users love the feature, but a recurring piece of feedback we hear is that it’s not always easy for users to find the workflows that are most relevant to their work.

In the coming months, we’ll be making workflows more shareable and discoverable. Instead of anchoring a workflow to a channel, we’re enabling users to send workflows as links in channels and direct messages. How does this work? Simply copy and paste your workflow’s link and share it across Slack. Each workflow link will expand with a rich preview, allowing users to run the workflow with a single click.

Anyone can post these links in a channel or DM, pin them to a channel’s bookmark bar, or even file them away in your saved items. Think of it as an important update that makes workflows a portable and ubiquitous part of Slack.

Conditional branching demo

Using if-then statements to create smarter workflows

Getting work done rarely follows a one-size-fits-all process. Once information is collected, someone usually needs to route it, along with an action, to an individual or team.

Early next year we’ll be releasing conditional logic in Workflow Builder. This uses if-then statements to send users down different paths based on how they respond to the workflow. To demonstrate this at a basic level, here’s how conditional logic might work on an approval workflow:

  • IF your manager selects ‘approve’, THEN you will receive a message that your request has been approved.
  • IF your manager selects ‘deny’, THEN you will receive a message stating why your request was rejected.

Previously, the manager would have had to create an additional workflow for people to use based on their answers. Branching has been one of our biggest customer requests, and we can’t wait to see how you build with it.

Enabling more code-free creativity with your workflows

Early next year, we’ll be expanding our library of Workflow Builder steps so users can automate more tasks without writing a line of code. Here are some ways you’ll be able to use Workflow Builder to unlock more time for your teams:

  • Automatically create channels: Jump-start projects by creating a new channel, inviting key stakeholders and pinning relevant documents
  • Integrate more of your favourite tools: Access an expanded library of Workflow Builder steps powered by your favourite apps
  • Alert users once they start a workflow: Send a temporary message to the person using the workflow, letting them know a request was received

Designing the building blocks for automation

The power of automation isn’t just about simplifying work. It’s about accessing the right tool at the right time so you can work more efficiently and reduce costs at the same time. We’re confident that these updates will make your apps feel more like building blocks, remixable and reusable in whatever way serves your organisation best.

‘We are already power users of Workflow Builder, and these new capabilities will unlock even more advanced use cases for a wider, non-coding audience,’ says Karl Owen, a Senior Distinguished Engineer at Dell. ‘We are excited to see Slack really prioritise their platform and help more of us unlock the full collaboration potential of Slack.’

Want to learn more about our vision for the new platform? Register for Dreamforce 2022, taking place 20-22 September.

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