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Slack Enhances App Accessibility, Streamlines Workflows

In a series of announcements this week and last, Slack has bulked up its app accessibility, overall platform configurability, workflow templates, and Salesforce integration for enterprise users and developers.
Apps and Actions a Plenty
During its Spec event for developers, Slack introduced a range of new features designed to improve the usability of apps, actions, and modal windows. The enhancements include:
  • App home – This new interactive space allows Slack users to discover and interact with apps from a home tab through buttons or Actions. Developers can customize this view to display detailed app information via Slack’s Block Kit, Slack said.
  • Actions from anywhere – This feature will allow users to initiate an action or shortcut from anywhere in Slack. The update will include a new “Actions” button, a menu at the top of channels, searchable actions in Quick Switcher, and a redesigned App Launcher at the top of the Slack sidebar. The goal of this is to allow users, who might not be familiar with the slash syntax, "to kick off ... actions no matter where they are in Slack,” said Bear Douglas, director of developer relations, Slack, during a media briefing.
  • Modal windows update – Lastly, Slack announced that developers can display as many additional screens (modal windows) as needed by utilizing Block Kit. Slack is also working with developers to establish guidelines on "how much information you should put into one window versus across several," said Douglas.
Modals in action

Embedded Modals in action

The App Home and Slack-wide actions also available for open beta testing, with general availability to follow in the next few months. The modals window update is available immediately, according to Slack.
In addition to these enhancements, a “granular permissions” model for enterprise-grade apps also is now available for open beta testing, and they’re working on making the permissions "more sophisticated to manage in bulk," said Douglas.
The apps, actions, and modal windows updates follows last week’s news regarding new Workflow Builder functionality as well as tighter integration with Salesforce.
Streamlining Tasks With Workflow Builder
Designed to streamline workflows, the Workflow Builder is a new visual tool that allows admins to automate routine functions with custom workflows. In a company blog post, the Slack team outlined three ways Workflow Builder can be utilized:
  1. Automatic onboarding messages –This pre-built workflow template will automatically send new project or team members the resources they need to catch up on a project or job. Also, the automated workflow can prompt new members to fill out a form to provide background information about themselves, for example. The form then posts in the #welcome channel, Slack said.
  2. Requesting information with custom forms – With Workflow Builder, admins can automate how requests are made and ensure they reach the right person in Slack. A possible scenario is having a #travel-request channel where users can fill out basic information about a trip and that information be sent to the person in charge of booking trips, Slack said.
  3. Real-time incident reports – Workflow Builder also allows organizations to use custom forms for incident reporting, Slack said. When an incident report is filed, the information will post to several channels so staff can discuss and address the problem.
Slack, Salesforce Get Closer
In a separate blog post, Slack revealed deeper Salesforce integration.
Salesforce for Slack app updates the existing Sales Cloud integration and introduces Service Cloud integration, Slack said. With the app, sales and service representatives can receive customized notifications from Slack, and users can share Salesforce information by sending it directly to Slack. Additionally, Slack conversations can be added to Salesforce records for references, Slack said.
The new app is currently available through the Slack App Directory, according to Slack.