Slack doubles down on 'digital HQ' plans with launch of no-code tools

The communications platform wants to empower all users to make work simpler and more productive

Slack has doubled down on its 'digital HQ' plans with the launch of new features to help any user customise their workflow, no matter their technical prowess. 

At its Frontiers conference this week, Slack said it had "completely rebuilt and re-engineered" its communications platform from the ground up in a bid to empower users to make work life simpler and more productive. 

This includes automated and no code functions that enable organisations to tailor their Slack app to suit. The idea of a 'virtual HQ' is to place a common space (a digital one) at the heart of a dispersed workforce, but like a physical office, Slack is implementing ways to change its platform to suit an organisation. 

"Just like no two businesses run the same, no two digital HQs are alike," the company said. "Teams need the ability to tailor solutions based on their unique business needs and we're on a mission to make that happen.

"In fact, we've already seen thousands of organisations like Noom use Workflow Builder to automate routine onboarding tasks and offer essential resources to new hires, saving time while achieving 100% new-hire engagement." 

The Workflow Builder is a core element of the new Slack platform, which allows users to automate work for themselves and other members of their team - all without the need to write code. The key here is that anyone within the organisation can create a workflow in Slack, simply by dragging and dropping existing apps and customising the way they work to suit. According to Slack, since Workflow Builder launched, more than 400,000 users have built workflows, with 80% of customers building workflows in their digital HQs being non-developers.

The communication platform also revealed 'Sign in with Slack links', which is set to be released next year. This allows users to seamlessly connect their tools using Slack account information. There's also 'Subscribe in Slack', a tool to add notifications from other third-party apps that are integrated into a user's Slack workspace. 

Slack-first app deployment will let developers host and store the data that powers their apps in Slack and be able to attach "invisible metadata' to their messages. The benefit here is that other apps will be able to communicate with each other via Slack; for example, the different calendar apps of two people at two different companies can directly talk to each other and schedule a meeting through Slack when they're linked through Slack Connect. 

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"Everyday Slack users can now build and automate workflows for their teams without leaning on IT or writing any code. For developers, not only are they now free to focus on more interesting work, we've cut their deployment time down from days to minutes," said Steve Wood, Slack's VP of product, developer platform 

There are also new additions for Slack Connect, the platform's external communication feature. Coming early next year, users will be able to collaborate with up to 250 organisations in one channel. And, later in the year, customers will have the ability to set up secure work environments for large, complex projects with thousands of partners right in Slack. 

"Whether you're planning a large-scale event like Dreamforce with hundreds of vendors or managing a multi-year construction project spanning thousands of vendors, everyone has access to the channels, apps and people needed to get their jobs done," Slack said. "This gives teams a monumental leap forward in collaboration, flexibility and control." 

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