Didn’t make it to Slack Frontiers in Sydney? No worries, we’ve got your back!

Slack Frontiers is Slack’s biggest event of the year, and its largest since being acquired by Salesforce in July 2021 for a handsome US$27.7 billion. Slack Frontiers swung into Sydney recently for an APAC showstopper bringing together leaders, doers and change makers across a range of industries to discover the future of work.

But let’s start with the basics. What is Slack? And what is the appeal?

In its simplest form, Slack is a messaging app for business that connects people to the information they need. But thinking of Slack as a messaging app is like thinking of a smart phone as a device to make calls – it’s only part of the story! Slack brings people together to work in a digital world. It’s a place where people can connect online and solve problems together. This is a big deal, because no longer can we rely on collaboration in business centring around people being together in a room.

Why does this matter?

To be fair, collaborating remotely is not new and it has mattered for a long time. But there’s no question that the dramatic rise of people working remotely over the past few years has created a groundswell to accelerate the change. The COVID pandemic has forced businesses and teams to establish, or expand, different ways of working that foster productivity and connection from anywhere. And so far, there’s a lot of evidence that things won’t go back to the way they were. After all, a good percentage of people reading this article today will be working from home or some place other than their company’s physical headquarters. So in a world of hybrid working, where people work in-office, remote and/or on-the-go, how we work together online becomes the main game.

The pandemic has taught us we can, and even must, embrace different ways of working. These days, instead of thinking of our physical office as the place where the work happens, we should be thinking digital first. As they say at Slack, the work happens in your Digital HQ. And that’s true for wherever you happen to be logging in from.

What is Slack’s vision as a Digital HQ?

In the Slack Frontiers keynote address, Slack’s CTO & Cofounder Cal Henderson described their motivation to evolve the way we work so that it is optimal for everyone, whether they’re working remotely, in the office or hybrid. By thinking digital-first, they are creating workplaces which are more flexible, inclusive and connected for all employees. At Slack, they’re helping people redesign the way we work through three different prisms:

  • How can we make what was hard in the office better? For example, how can we remove silos around communication and information? How can we offer more flexibility? Or make it easier to align schedules?
  • How can we bring what we love about the office inside Slack? For example, tapping a work colleague on the shoulder or having a serendipitous conversation in the kitchen.
  • How can we create unique, better ways of working in Slack as a Digital HQ, regardless of what has or hasn’t transpired in a bricks-and-mortar workplace in the past?

Slack has a range of features that address each of these.

What are some of the best features of Slack?

  • Slack Channels is an obvious one and probably the easiest place for businesses getting started with setting up their Digital HQ. Channels allow your people to create a space to communicate around a specific topic. It could be on a work initiative (eg a specific opportunity in sales), for teams (eg a channel for all of HR) or social (eg for dog-owners. Curiously, this example came up more than once during the day!)
  • Slack Connect allows you to work with people outside your company in channels and via direct messages. By moving conversations out of emails, you can work securely and collaboratively with partners, vendors or customers.
  • Slack Huddles gives Slack users a way to quickly talk things through via audio or video interaction. In a Digital HQ, the Huddle replaces spontaneous office-based activities like pulling a few people aside for a quick chat after a meeting or stopping by someone’s desk to ask a quick question. The average Slack Huddle lasts 10 minutes, which is a productive alternative to those 30-minute meetings blocking up your calendar!
  • Slack Clips allows users to record and share short audio and video clips of quick updates, ideas or a simple hello. Clips can be consumed anytime from anywhere, tapping into the flexibility of asynchronous work.

But what we’re most excited about, of course, is Slack’s integration with Salesforce.

If you have Salesforce as a system of record, then consider Slack as your system of engagement. Separately, they are powerful. Bring the two together and you can communicate and collaborate with your colleagues by bringing in the rich context of Salesforce directly into Slack. For example, Sales Cloud for Slack makes it easier for sales reps to edit and update opportunities, accounts, contacts and leads in Salesforce all while staying in the flow of work in Slack. It allows teams to connect on the key data points on an account or opportunity channel. As part of Salesforce, Slack is helping sales teams come together, make better decisions, strengthen customer relationships and win more deals. Flows in Slack makes it easier for Salesforce-focused tasks to be accomplished in Slack by adopting guided screen flows. And with Slack Actions, you can automate changes to happen directly in Slack based on a flow triggering. For example, you could automate-create a channel when an opportunity is created in Salesforce and invite relevant stakeholders to collaborate on next steps; auto-send messages; and auto-archive channels when an Opportunity stage is Closed.

Watch a short video about Sales Cloud for Slack

What about Service? Service Cloud for Slack helps businesses resolve customer issues faster by collaborating alongside case and incident data, and an ability to push a Slack message to a case or incident feed in Salesforce. You can also create a “swarm” of people in Slack to connect cross-function experts and problem-solve service issues together.

Watch a short video about Service Cloud for Slack

Introducing Slack Canvas

The biggest reaction of the day was for Slack Canvas, a feature announced at Dreamforce and set to be introduced in early 2023. Slack Canvas essentially creates a “blank canvas” where teams can create, organise and share knowledge in a structured way. It is a set place to curate information of any kind – including from outside Slack – to help people get organised and be more efficient. Anyone can tailor a canvas to suit their teams’ needs. For example, in marketing you might create a canvas to organise a campaign. In sales, you might create a canvas for a customer meeting. In HR, you might create a canvas for employee onboarding. The possibilities are endless!

So is the future of work Slack?

We think so! With over 200,000 brands already using Slack as their Digital HQ, it’s not a question of if, but when.