A few short months ago, Salesforce finalized the acquisition of team collaboration software developer Slack. The pair have become even more fond of one another following the news that - at the time - shook up the UCC industry after much speculation.
Ahead of Dreamforce 2021, an annual CX (customer experience) conference hosted by Salesforce, Slack went on what felt like a feature release spree. The theme of Slack's latest further supports the future of work in all forms, remote, hybrid, or in-person.
In a blog post announcing the brand-new features, Slack noted that we are witnessing a "massive generational change." The global paradigm shift now leans more favorably toward digital-first work thanks to the pandemic. And that has reshaped the notion of where and how we work. Slack on the future of work:
"No matter what an organization’s return-to-work strategy looks like—permanently remote, back to the office, or more likely somewhere in between—we’re entering an era in which digital infrastructure is replacing the physical headquarters as the backbone of work.
A digital-first approach fosters greater flexibility, inclusivity, and productivity, encouraging people to work when and where it is best for them," Slack wrote in the same blog post.
This is the first time the Salesforce-Slack deal has had time to really shine. Salesforce is undoubtedly the most-used CRM (customer relationship management) technology on the planet, and now we get the chance to see what the duo can do when they combine the strengths of world-class CRM and team collaboration technology.
What about Salesforce Customers?
Of course, the acquisition is one set to benefit both Slack and Salesforce. The latest Slack innovations - out from Dreamforce 2021 - mean that Salesforce users will gain a few new capabilities to help the two realize its vision of Customer 360.
This is the idea that customer data should be viewed from a 360 perspective.
Every interaction like website visits, purchasing a product, and even customer support tickets are factored into the equation of CX. Most unique is the unified nature of these customer data. Every relevant party gains access to corresponding customer profiles that house consumer data.
Zoom, Five9, and others with a customer-centric focus have already introduced similar features. Even though Slack is slightly late to the party, now, leveraging Slack - service teams can:
"Automatically identify and bring the right experts into a case."
The effort will likely be a game-changer for the duo, either way, as it will ensure the right expert gets connected to the appropriate customer at the precise time; on the first try.
For marketers, Salesforce and Slack will soon lend them access to lots of insights powered by AI (artificial intelligence). Sourced from Marketing Cloud and Datorama - users will receive workflow notifications via Slack channels when marketing materials are revamped.
Trailhead for Slack
System administrators will soon have access to more analytics thanks to Tableau insights. It will send users automated notifications regarding sales and data fluctuations. Daily updates featuring trends/relevant metrics and dashboard updates will appear from within Slack team channels.
Clips - Now in GA
Setting out to solve a real and pressing workplace problem - Slack announced the general availability of clips.
"We are hoping to give users more flexibility in how and when to collaborate with team members in today’s work-from-anywhere world," Slack wrote in a statement.
Now Slack users have a new way to create and share audio, video, and screen recordings within any channel or a DM within Slack. Clips will enjoy a gradual roll-out and will be made available for all paid teams in fall 2021.
Improvements to Slack Connect, Coming this Fall
Slack estimates; businesses lose more than $12 billion by way of email scams each year. The team collaboration company also noted that 85% of scams happen because of social-engineering schemes (i.e.) phishing and compromised company emails.
Slack Connect lets users remove the many silos involved in email inboxes, moving that interaction into Slack channels so global teams can securely collaborate with outside organizations. According to Slack, 'Connect' has seen "rapid adoption" since being introduced in June 2021. In a blog post, the company wrote:
"It has grown more than 200% year-over-year, and more than 91,000 organizations know the transformative power of working with partners in Slack."
So what is fresh to Connect? Enterprise Grid customers to work with anyone in Slack, even if the other party is not a paid user. The implications of this are immense, too.
Starting this fall, sales teams that leverage Slack might close more deals thanks to an obvious barrier of getting a potential customer, partner; what have you to embrace/pay for Slack technology if they are a Microsoft Teams organization, for instance.
GovSlack, Coming this Fall
Governments across the globe scrambled to implement the technologies that would assist them in conducting business as usual toward the start of the pandemic, expressly as they realized that working from "the office" was no longer viable.
"The sensitive nature of public-sector work requires highly secure, government-certified solutions that often limit choices, however," Slack wrote.
Enterprise Grid is Slack’s solution for large or complex organizations that have to adhere to stringent requirements. They might work with governments and NGOs (non-government organizations) that house sensitive data, for example.
Slack is taking this capability a step further - having just announced GovSlack, a version of Slack set to run in a government-certified cloud environment. Regarding user participation: Slack said GovSlack should recreate the same experience users have grown accustomed to while allowing them to:
"Comply with the highest security and operational requirements of the federal government, like FedRAMP High and DoD IL4 certifications."
In August 2020, when the notion of governments going virtual came to a head, the NSA (National Security Agency) released a set of guidelines on how to choose a secure collaboration platform. The list includes parameters like:
- Does the service implement end-to-end encryption (E2EE)?
- Are strong, well-known, testable encryption standards used?
- Is multi-factor authentication (MFA) used to validate user identities?
Slack extends enterprise-grade security features/compliance standards to Connect users, retention, Enterprise Key Management (EKM), support for Data Loss Prevention (DLP), e-discovery, etc.
Another neat feature; Slack’s organizational verification protects users against spam and phishing attempts by securely connecting only trusted parties - addressing all the above criteria outlined by the NSA. Slack and Salesforce are showing signs of becoming a force to be reckoned with. The acquisition is sure to continue being a game-changer for the pair.
It will also facilitate government contractors/workers (using Slack Connect) in collaborating more seamlessly on bids, responding in real-time, and sharing documents securely. In the contact center and CX fields - they will soon bring the right subject-matter experts to the correct customer, at the right time to more quickly resolve queries.