In an effort to keep up with the growing number of workplace chat apps out there, Slack announced today that it’s launching new automation features designed to make workflows more shareable and discoverable. An expansion of the workflow builder tool Slack launched in 2019, new capabilities allow users to send workflows to other Slack users and leverage “if-then” statements to create more sophisticated flows.
Slack’s increased investment in automation comes as no-code development tools, which allow users to build apps and pipelines without having to learn programming, grow in popularity. According to a 451 Research and FileMaker survey, nearly 60% of all custom apps — including automations — are now built outside of the IT department. Of those, 30% were built by employees with limited or no technical development skills, the survey found.
“The software-as-a-service model has completely changed the way people work, and now that companies are running on so many tools and services, the average employee is left to make sense of it all, which means their day-to-day isn’t going to ‘slow down or get any quieter,'” Slack SVP of Product Management Steve Wood told me. said in an email interview. “We believe that low-code and no-code automation is the key to change … that’s why we completely redesigned and rebuilt our platform last year so that everyone has the tools they need — when they need them — to make work easier. And more productive – regardless of their technical experience or coding skills. In fact, 80% of people who use Workflow Builder are non-techies, so it’s really exciting to see that we’re creating a movement of builders among all Slack users.
In the coming months, Slack users will be able to send workflows as links and direct messages across channels by copying and pasting the relevant links and sharing them in Slack. Each workflow link expands with a rich preview, allowing users to run the workflow with one click.
In more important news, early next year, Workflow Builder will support conditional logic, or statements that send users down different paths based on how they respond to the workflow. For example, in a workflow designed for expense reporting, a Slack user can build conditional logic to allow a manager to click “Approve” or “Reject” buttons that trigger messages to report submitters. In the past, this type of action required creating multiple workflows.
Early next year, Slack will expand its library of workflow builder steps to automatically create channels and alert users after they start a workflow, and offer integrations for additional third-party apps and tools. Wood said more will be revealed at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference in late September.
“Our mission is to make Slack really start working for you and supercharge your productivity, and our platform will be transformative in doing so. Workflow Builder is at the center of it all, and these features are the next natural part of how we’re aggressively removing friction to automate, so users can have more impact in Slack.” “More broadly, employees today are under more pressure than ever to get work done, and businesses are also under pressure to control costs, so we have a tremendous opportunity to apply automation to improve efficiency and productivity while making work more enjoyable. Productivity for all.” “
I took the opportunity to chat with Wood about Slack’s typical trajectory over a year of acquisitions. Revenue is strong – Slack earned $381 million in Q2 2022 as the number of customers spending more than $100,000 grew more than 40% year over year. And Salesforce is committed to aligning the platform more closely with its broader portfolio, he said.
“We’re working to bring Slack closer to every Salesforce cloud product. Workflow Builder is one of the key functionalities that Slack provides to power integrations across Salesforce Customer 360. For example, anyone using Salesforce can use Workflow Builder to create and customize workflows to flag and distribute leads or generate proposals or contracts,” says Wood. “These features bring the power of Slack automation closer to the Salesforce ecosystem to create more value for customers to thrive in today’s work environment.”
Certainly, it’s not hard to imagine how Workflow Builder could expand into Salesforce’s cloud offerings in the future. With the recent launch of Salesforce Platform for Slack, a low-code software development toolkit for Salesforce developers to build custom Slack apps, Salesforce actually seems to be taking steps toward properly marrying Slack with its broad, expansive product family.