Slack’s new Actions tool turns workers into shrewd taskmasters

23 May 2018

Slack offices in San Francisco. Image: David Tran/Shutterstock

Latest move reveals greater sophistication of app integrations within Slack.

Slack, the platform that is turning the enterprise software world inside out, has revealed a new Actions capability to supercharge tasks from other apps within messages.

Revealed at the company’s developer shindig, Spec, in San Francisco, Actions takes the power of apps in Slack’s directory and integrates them into a Slack message.

‘94pc of paid Slack teams are actively using apps and integrations to help them get work done’

This then turns any Slack message into a follow-up or next step on various productivity platforms.

Slack has partnered with companies behind popular integrations on the platform, including Jira, Bitbucket, Asana, Zendesk and HubSpot. More companies will be subsequently added.

For example, within a Slack message, users can create a task and capture details of who is responsible for it, when it’s due and what project it’s for.

With the Jira Cloud app, users can address any Jira issue via a Slack message.

Integrating with HubSpot, sales teams can collaborate, land big deals and more by creating tasks from Slack messages and associating them with a contact, company or a deal in HubSpot.

Bear Douglas, developer advocacy lead at Slack, told that Actions is effectively a way of closing the loop on Slack integrations.

“It is about cross-pollination. We think of ourselves as being a neutral collaboration hub. We all care about building good software for people and making it possible for them to choose tools that are right for them.”

Actions will go live immediately but will have a phased roll-out.

“We are up to 1,500 apps in our Apps Directory and we have more than 200,000 weekly active developers on the various platforms.

“94pc of paid Slack teams are actively using apps and integrations to help them get work done.”

Integrations are the new stuff of the enterprise

Example of Slack Actions with HubSpot

Example of HubSpot integration within Actions on Slack. GIF: Slack

Douglas added that 15,000 new internal integrations are built each week.

Integration is a major theme in the new enterprise world and, as well as enabling latest-generation app companies, Slack has partnered with stalwart players including Google, Workday, SAP, Salesforce, Oracle and ServiceNow.

The fastest-growing apps on Slack in 2018 include Intercom, Eventbot, Droplr for Slack, GreetBot and Standup Alice.

Not only that, but Slack has made six new investments through its Slack fund, including Aptly, Clara, Learnmetrics, PullRequest, Zylo and Epistema.

11 Slack-funded companies have gone on to raise additional capital since investment.

According to Slack’s latest figures, there are now more than 8m daily active users across more than 500,000 organisations that use the platform. The company has more than 3m paid users and 65pc of companies in the Fortune 100 are paid Slack users.

More than 70,000 paid teams with thousands of active users connect in Slack channels across departments, borders and oceans.

“We are keen to enable people who are building the new internal, integrated tools as we believe these integrations will eventually be the lifeblood of productivity and tooling witin Slack.

“We are very excited to see this happen as more companies and users adopt these integrations. Actions will be a key part of this,” Douglas said.

According to Alex Hood, head of product at Asana, a large proportion of the company’s customers also rely on Slack for day-to-day workplace communication.

“More than half of Asana customers use Slack, so these two solutions need to work together effortlessly. With Slack’s latest platform innovations, our new integration lets teams take action on Asana updates that come into Slack, and even turn Slack messages into Asana tasks or comments without leaving Slack. This is what our customers have been asking for.”

Slack offices in San Francisco. Image: David Tran/Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years