Slack moves to extend in-app workflow automation


Slack may best be known simply as a tool for team messaging, but for many users the ability to connect apps and automate actions is central to its appeal.

With that in mind, the company today announced a redesign of its workflow engine designed to make automations more accessible to a wider range of users. The changes were unveiled at Slack’s Frontiers event.

The updates are aimed at extending existing capabilities that let developers customize apps and automate workflows within the app. This includes the Slack Platform APIs for developers and Workflow Builder, a no-code platform launched two years ago that lets non-technical users create their own automations.

It’s an important focus for Slack, which said more than 400,000 users have created workflows since the introduction of the Workflow Builder, which was created after the acquisition in 2018 of Missions, a startup specializing in this area. Last year, Slack added the ability to include actions in third-party apps in workflows with the rollout of “steps for apps.”

The newest updates – slated to arrive in 2022 — expand on its ambitions to help users customize the software to meet their individual needs.

“What we always wanted was to give people the equivalent of Lego blocks that they can recombine, because there are so many actions that are common,” Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield said in a pre-recorded briefing, streasing that automations can bridge the gap between systems of record and workers in business roles without requiring developers. “If you’re a salesperson or HR benefits administrator you have a much better idea of where the friction is and where the difficulties and the challenges are in the way that you use the software.”

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.



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