Slack has launched its new "Connect" platform which is designed to be the next progression in business communication. Slack Connect allows users to interact and communicate with partners outside your organization. This allows different businesses to communicate through the platform which was previously impossible.
This comes just after Slack announced a new UI would be coming to the app soon. The company has also looked to tap into increased video calling by integrating with Microsoft Teams. The company is making some serious moves in an attempt to dominate the business communication industry.
Slack promising to kill email for business
When it launched Slack promised that it would kill email and The Verge thinks that this new platform may just do that. Currently, over 41,000 companies are using the Connect platform but it will need many more to come onboard before it truly reaches this goal.
The new platform could allow up to 20 companies to collaborate on "Shared Channels". Over the past few months, users have been testing the new platform. Now it is rolling out to all paid plans across the world. Users will be able to send an invite link to begin connecting. The new platform will only be available to paid plans at launch, not free users for now.
The ambition of the product is to go beyond simply messaging and communicating. Slack envisages the platform being used for signing contracts, checking invoices as well as other things. Privacy is clearly going to be an issue but the company has reassured IT admins they can control exactly what is being shared. Slack Connect may also be able to scan calendars across organizations in order to help colleagues plan meetings.
Slack connect to address "limitations Of email"
Tamar Yehoshua, Slack’s chief product officer has said that this product was always in the plans for the company. He has also said that the plan was to use the benefits of Slack "when communicating with everyone”. There are a lot of possible uses for this product that go way beyond a simple replacement of email.
For example, the restaurant Nando's has been using the platform to connect with its delivery partner Deliveroo. Fastly are using it to communicate with customer support. Slack has also created a channel for doctors use in order to communicate their experiences around the Covid-19 pandemic.
Slack wants to use this new platform to bring the idea of instant communication between businesses. Although this has been possible within organizations bringing to interactions between them is a serious step forward.
Yehoshua has explained that “This is a very critical part of the vision for Slack.” The company has been planning this for a long time and is an important part of its evolution as well as progression. He believes that "a lot of the communication that’s happening over email will move to Slack."
This is a bold claim but if it is all it is cracked up to be then email in businesses could be on the way out. There are obviously some examples where email will have to remain, however, a significant reduction could be on the way.
Slack's competition with Microsoft and Teams is very important in the context of this move. Teams has grown over the past few months but this new platform can dislodge the importance of email then Teams could also follow. Important to this will be convincing bigger customers to come on board such as Amazon and IBM.
This is a very exciting move for Slack and the whole business communications sector. The next 18 months will be well worth observing in this space as we could see some serious shifts in the makeup of the sector.