Slack Connect was formally released in June of 2020. The tool started out as shared channels, which were released in 2017, and provided a secure communication channel between two companies whose administrators set up the connection. The Connect product now lets companies on paid Slack plans communicate with people at up to 20 organizations in a single, secure channel. The feature set is the result of over four years of work to help companies move communications out of email and into Slack.
This week’s announcement includes several new features designed to give businesses a better way to communicate outside of email.
- Slack Connect channels are channels within your Slack workspace where you can invite members of another workspace to collaborate directly.
- Slack Connect DMs let you send a direct message to a member of another workspace that you share a Connect channel with. Connect DMs will be available in early 2021.
- Slack Connect apps perform time-saving functions within your Connect channels that you might otherwise use email for. The DocuSign esignature app for Slack Connect is already available in Connect channels.
- Slack will help companies search for and connect with the right teams with verified organizations. The tool will highlight verified companies in search with a checkmark next to their name. Verified organizations will be available in early 2021.
- Organizations will be able to set up managed connections to identify trusted organizations available for team members to engage with in Slack Connect channels without administrative oversight. Managed connections will be available in early 2021.
A platform for faster communication
Slack hopes to be the platform for all business communication, so it’s building tools that bring people together in a collaborative setting. Customers are already able to make calls, join channels, organize conversations with threads, and use apps to connect to all sorts of other software.
Slack’s goal is to move companies out of email and bring work into the same interface where important conversations happen. And each feature set they release gets us closer to that goal. Guest accounts brought contract workers and temporary contributors into the workspace. Shared channels opened a portal between companies. Connect will expand on those features. The software is useful for companies and organizations of all sizes who want to speed communication.
But can we have nice things?
Slack Connect promises to build an ecosystem where work can happen quickly and securely outside of email, but it’s unclear as to whether that’s entirely possible. It seems that every business connection app has become a sales tool to exploit. The launch’s optimistic tone plays down the possibility for customer misuse of the capabilities through spamming, unsolicited DMs, and verification spoofing.
If this tool works as intended, it could be a powerful way to speed up business with clients and trusted partners. If it doesn’t work, Slack Connect could quickly become the jungle of lead generation tools, recruiting spam, and creepy-but-poorly-targeted DMs that LinkedIn messages are for many. Considering that the bread and butter of the B2B salesperson is cold outreach, Slack Connect will have to work hard to differentiate its tool from other business connection formats that are more hassle than they’re worth.