Slack enhances its productivity platform with AI, automation and lists

Slack recently announced new AI, automation and knowledge-sharing enhancements to its intelligent productivity platform that are designed to help organizations improve productivity and teamwork collaboration. The enhancements include AI-enabled features, automation capabilities and work management tools that enable users to track team projects directly in the collaboration application — such as a “lists” feature that helps users create, assign and manage individual tasks as part of a larger project. Pricing information will be announced when the features become generally available.

The Take

While the improvements in Slack overlap with some capabilities in best-of-breed tools, we don’t believe this positions the vendor to vie with work and project management tools from the likes of Asana Inc. and Trello. Integrations with third-party applications are a key strength for Slack — we expect this will continue to be part of its product strategy. Moreover, work and project management tools target specialized users whose role is tied to those activities, while Slack pursues a broader user base of team members that typically rely on spreadsheets, email, messaging and phone calls to track activities. These users do not need full-fledged work and project management services, but can benefit from basic features.

Embedding lists and project-tracking features in communication tools will likely be more effective for users, helping reduce friction in their day-to-day workflows. Other providers adopting this approach include Google Workspace, which last year announced a set of APIs for both Chat and Meet to allow third-party developers to add functions like starting meetings or initiating meetings from their apps, as well as a software developer’s kit that allows developers to integrate their apps into Meet. Microsoft Corp. introduced Excel Live in Microsoft Teams, enabling users on a video call to collaborate on a worksheet in real time during a meeting. This highlights a larger trend, with business communications increasingly integrated with business applications and workflows — an approach that we expect will have a significant impact on workforce productivity.


The new enhancements in the Slack intelligent productivity platform include:

  • Slack AI, which is built into the platform’s user interface with the goal of making it easy for customers to access the features in the flow of work. These features include channel recaps that deliver highlights on any channel, allowing users to save time on tasks such as drafting status reports from project channels or extracting key themes from feedback channels. Thread summaries help users quickly catch up on long discussions on any thread. Search answers allow customers to ask a question to learn about a project or topic, find internal experts, or understand team processes and receive results with relevant messages, files and channels, in addition to an AI-generated summary.
  • Automation capabilities that enable users to save time by automating work with Workflow Builder without code. It features connectors from companies like Google Workspace, Atlassian Corp. and Asana, allowing users to integrate multiple tools in a single workflow — it also extends to Salesforce Flow to provide an IT-approved way for users to customize their Slack workflows with administrator-approved Salesforce automations.
  • Slack lists, which is a recently unveiled capability that helps users track work, triage requests and manage cross-functional projects in the flow of communication. Users can assign owners, update status and discuss task details in one place with a dedicated thread for each project item; track dependencies and monitor progress in Slack; and review approvals and requests with the help of Workflow Builder. This can be done via a spreadsheet or Kanban-style board, displaying information about tasks, status, due date and team members.

The recent enhancements in Slack could address key challenges that employees face in their day-to-day work.

According to 451 Research’s Workforce Productivity & Collaboration, Work Execution Goals & Challenges 2023 survey, the top challenges that employees face when planning important projects and initiatives include finding the right resources, team siloes and having the right technologies for managing projects effectively.

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