- Slack is broadening communication abilities with email so users can "build bridges" with those who are not on the platform but in the same organization, according to a company announcement. Non-Slack users will receive alerts from messages or mentions in their email.
- The collaboration software company is also opening its platform to users outside their immediate organizations, enabling collaboration among customers, vendors, agencies or other Enterprise Grid members.
- Slack introduced its Workflow Builder to automate workflow processes like a self-service form for HR benefits requests or welcome message with tips for new hires to channels. The feature is expected to launch later this year.
Slack is becoming a home base for applications and services. It has more than 1,500 applications available in its Slack App Directory and supports custom workflows.
The bridge for email and Slack communication is an indirect push to get non-users on the platform. Slack has two intentions, Andy Pflaum, director of product management, interoperability at Slack, told CIO Dive.
- Connecting the user groups that are "forcing some people to be left out the conversation or forcing Slack users out into email."
- Allowing non-Slack users to eventually migrate to the platform if silos are broken down.
The collaboration software company has maintained its vendor neutrality from the start, enabling it to partner with other enterprise office tools. Slack is allowing other best of breed software providers to do the heavy lifting.
The latest round of announcements comes weeks after it launched a slew of Microsoft Office 365 integrations. The addition of Office 365 capabilities to Slack's platform was the answer to enterprise customers' requests.
"We'll never try to recreate those original applications at the service level or rebuild all the functionality of those applications inside Slack," said Pflaum. Slack never intended to recreate features like Google Calendar or Outlook email, instead it focuses on the most important information the applications provide the actions that go with them.
"This is all credit to those other services," said Pflaum, referring to the APIs they make available to Slack so the companies' joint customers are holistically served. Slack's Workflow Builder is reminiscent of Atlassian's Jira and Confluence products.
"This is providing some basic, simple capabilities native inside of Slack for people on teams," said Pflaum, based on an acquisition of Missions, that developed "no code tools" popular in Slack's user base.
Only developers can contribute to Slack's app directory, but the Workflow Builder opens up the platform to anyone in the organization to write workflows and applications.