Salesforce held its global conference, Dreamforce 2021, as a hybrid model in September. The main event took place in San Francisco as before, but with limited in-person attendance. Attendees joined in from across the world through the Salesforce+ streaming service.
Dreamforce 2021 and Slack
The major announcements at Dreamforce 2021 pertained to the Slack platform. The focus on Slack indicates the generational change in the world of computing.
Salesforce acquired the collaboration application, Slack for about $28 billion in July 2021. The company has been working on creating a digital HQ for customers since then.
Conventional tools focus on migrating existing work patterns into a virtual space. Slack enables enterprises to start afresh and reshape how work gets done. Slack connects all enterprise stakeholders to a single digital source of truth. Such a digital HQ makes work simple, pleasant, and productive.
Salesforce Slack already provided the backbone for the digital-first work environment. Dreamforce 2021 unleashes a fresh set of Slack innovations. With digital no longer a “nice to have” productivity booster, but rather the primary enabler of work, improvements in Slack are timely. The digital-first work environment necessitates a massive upheaval of enterprise structures and tools. Digital infrastructure will replace the physical headquarters as the backbone of work. Slack is positioning itself to be the key tool in the scheme of things.
The latest Salesforce Slack innovations enable enterprises to leverage the power of distributed workforce. Here’s how:
The biggest challenge with remote work is collaboration. Remote employees do the work at their time of choice. But collaboration becomes an issue. Remote work comes with regular meetings with supervisors, customers, and team members. Scheduling a synchronous meeting across multiple time zones is a hangover from the old ways of working. Enter Slack Clips, the latest arsenal in the Slack platform. Clips help teams embrace flexible, asynchronous work.
Slack Clips enable the remote worker to create and share audio, video, or screen recordings, at their own pace. The remote employee records a clip and shares it to a channel or through a direct message. Team members or other recipients may watch the clip at their convenience and respond whenever convenient. They do not have to set aside whatever they are doing and listen to the caller. They can respond with clips of their own, at the time of their convenience. The recipient does not have to reply in the same medium. Clips offer the flexibility to respond in audio, text, or video, as convenient.
Clips converts meetings from synchronous to asynchronous mode. It spares remote workers from having to juggle calendars and find a time that works for everyone to meet. The remote worker no longer has to force himself to attend disruptive online meetings.
Remote work becomes productive, flexible, and enjoyable only with the right enabling tools. Clips is the perfect tool to get the best out of remote work. It offers new ways for remote teams to be productive, and takes the stress out of remote work collaboration.
Discussing project goals, providing feedback, and other serious work gets done better with Clips. With Clips, the executive can reflect, and even redo the clip for perfection before sending it out. They also have the option to speed up or slow down the content.
Clips make collaboration inclusive and accessible to everyone.
Sprucing the clip with live captions makes it possible for the recipient to jump to the critical parts of the conversation straight away. The playback option allows repeating the conversation for clarity.
Clips streamline conversation and makes traceability easy. Team members may locate and play a clip straightaway. They do not have to locate the conversation from a directory of thousands of emails or WhatsApp conversations. Organizing topics in threads make follow-up actions easy as well.
When sales reps send customers a clip, they can also see what exactly the customer looks at. They may, for instance, jump straight to the troubleshooting tip, indicating something is wrong with the product. Such insights help the sales team provide relevant support and resolve issues faster.
Lack of video capabilities was a major shortcoming of Slack. Slack Clips removes this drawback and enable asynchronous video conferencing. Slack aims to recreate the physical world digitally. In summer 2021, Slack introduced Huddles. Members of a Slack channel could make audio drop-ins. This was a digital recreation of the experience where a person drops by someone’s desk to chat. Clips is the next step in the evolution of the digital-first environment.
The actual worth of a digital HQ comes with the ability to collaborate with all customers, partners, and vendors, seamlessly and securely. Slack always offered seamless collaboration with enterprise users. The new Salesforce Slack Connect allows users to stay connected with clients and other external stakeholders.
In Dreamforce 2021, Salesforce announced the enhanced functionality of Slack Connect. The new features enable robust and seamless collaboration with multiple partners and vendors.
Slack Connect now allows Salesforce enterprise grid customers to collaborate seamlessly with anyone. Recipients no longer need Slack to receive or respond to Slack messages. Slack users, both internal and external to the company, may create and share content within any Slack channel or as a direct message. Enterprise users may host any user in their digital HQ. Such guests need not have to take a paid Slack subscription.
Slack Connect now enables enterprises to add up to 20 organizations to collaborate in a single Slack channel. This allows enterprise customers to co-opt most, if not all, of their external ecosystem into Slack. They may co-opt their supply chain partners, vendors, subsidiaries, and even industry peers into their channel.
The enhancement to Slack Connect speed things up and strengthens the ecosystem. It brings communication out of siloed email inboxes into channels. On the face of it, Slack Connect is old email in a new bottle. But Slack Connect is superior to email.
With Slack Connect, communication becomes more secure, simpler, easier, and pleasurable. It allows the sender to express nuance and expression that is not possible to transmit via text. While several channels exist to send video and voice, Slack Connect makes the task amazingly easy. Slack also integrates the conversation to the communication feed.
Slack Connect allows admins to enforce control over data and monitor external access. Teams receive messages and files only from verified members, improving security manifold. Shifting email into channels also improves transparency.
Salesforce Slack co-opts stringent security standards and stays abreast of all compliance requirements. An often underrated risk of emails is scams of various hues, with phishing emails at the forefront. Enterprising cybercriminals mimic enterprise users with utmost perfection. They easily siphon off sensitive information from careless or gullible coworkers. Businesses across the world lose an estimated USD12 billion every year to email scams. 85% of such scams are because of phishing and business email compromise.
Channel communication happens faster than email. It becomes easier to carry out real time chat with the right people, and keep it more organized than, say, a WhatsApp or Telegram conversation. Enterprises can join with their customers, vendors, and partners in a channel and make faster decisions.
Salesforce Slack archives recordings, with searchable transcriptions. This forms part of the knowledge base of the enterprise. A new sales rep can refer to the knowledge base and hit the ground running, without spending valuable time searching for information.
Another new enhancement to the Salesforce Slack platform is “sponsored connections.”
Sales teams may create dedicated channels with their customers from day one. This helps in creating more focused, meaningful, and customized engagements. The customer support team may provide dedicated support and move faster to resolve customer tickets and close deals. Businesses may iterate with partners easily.
Yet another important announcement during Dreamforce 2021 is the launch of GovSlack or Salesforce Slack for the public sector.
GovSlack brings secure and compliant collaboration to the public sector. It provides the same set of functionality and productivity boost as normal Slack. The difference is GovSlack runs in a government-certified cloud environment.
The Slack Enterprise Grid already caters to the public sector as well. GovSlack is a broader Slack platform that ensures compliance to meet a broader section of the public-sector market. Slack Enterprise Grid meets the US government’s stringent security and compliance requirements. GovSlack complies with FedRAMP High and DoD IL4 certifications. These are the highest security and operational requirements of the US federal government.
As a prelude to GovSlack, Salesforce launched a new feature in March 2021. The Government Cloud Plus offering stores and processes federal taxpayer information.
The new GovSlack comes when Salesforce is increasing its presence in the public sector. The company’s quarterly earning review call in August 2021 reveals that the company’s largest-ever deal in the US in terms of annual recurring revenue was with a client in the public sector.
GovSlack’s secure and government-certified solution syncs with the sensitive nature of public-sector. GovSlack will hit the market in 2022.
Slack Integrations across Salesforce Products
Another key announcement at Dreamforce 2021 was Slack integrations. Slack now integrates seamlessly with most Salesforce products and industry clouds. Salesforce will roll out these integrations throughout 2021 and 2022. Among the new announcements, the first off the block integrations are with Tableau data analytics tool and MuleSoft integration tool.
These integrations will fill some big voids. Here are some of the possible use-cases post-integration.
- Slack users can easily embed Quip documents into Slack
- Users of the corporate and investment banking cloud may collaborate and share account details in a Slack channel seamlessly
- Commerce Cloud users may alert colleagues to order related issues or business trends
- Experience Cloud users may alert both internal and external users on new content published
- Automated daily briefings through Slack
- Collaboration channels. Service teams using Slack can create dedicated channels and collaborate on complex cases easily
- Direct sharing of information. Connectors ensure seamless flow of data between Slack, Marketing Cloud, and Datorama. Also, connecting Slack notifications with Tableau data makes it easy for sales reps to act on issues that call out for action.
Salesforce had announced a slew of new Slack integrations even before Dreamforce 2021. In August 2021, Salesforce launched “Slack-First Customer 360”. Sales reps can now update Salesforce records and meeting information from Slack using this new Slack platform enabled
digital deal rooms. They no longer have to log into the Salesforce platform, make the updates, and return to Slack.
How Dreamforce 2021 announcements impact Slack commercial value
Slack enhances Salesforce capabilities. It enables businesses to create a single source of truth and facilitates integrated, shared views across the board. Collaboration through Slack channels streamlines workflows built around CRM data. It speeds up communication and enables businesses to take action on feedback instantly.
The tremendous power of Salesforce Slack Connect has resulted in widespread user adoption. Over 91,000 enterprises have adopted Slack so far, and the tool has seen a year-on-year growth of more than 200%. With the new roll-outs, Slack becomes a powerful collaboration tool. Slack now facilitates internal communication, external communication, and information sharing. The tool enables Salesforce to take on other collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, heads on.
The new Slack platform announcements are timely. Many Salesforce partners are busy exploring how Slack adds value for their customers. The Slack-First Customer 360 platform offers untapped opportunities across all Salesforce clouds. Salesforce partners may build capacity and capability in newer clouds using the resources offered by Slack.
Like all Salesforce products, Slack undergoes continuous improvements. Dreamforce 2021 showcases Salesforce’s commitment to make things better for its community of users.