It is amazing how technology changes the way we communicate. For many years we would send letters to others via the post, where they needed to be carefully written or typed for full clarity. Then we started to make use of faxes to send these digital messages before eventually transitioning to email and now more commonly, direct messages with each other. Despite the prominence and popularity of direct messages though, emails are still around and still proving to be quite popular for many as a form of communication, especially for companies.
Slack has for several years made it one of their objectives to eventually put an end to emails in our lives, through its messaging platform. Something which it hasn’t quite been successful in just yet, though in an interview with The Verge and Tamar Yehoshua, Slack’s chief product officer, the company has spoken about how their new Slack Connect features are going to form an important part of trying to pull off this objective and hopefully bring about an end to many forms of email communication.
Slack Connect furthers the idea of shared channels that let companies collaborate, allowing up to 20 organizations to work seamlessly together with apps, chat, and more. The company has been trialling Slack Connect with many companies, but will start rolling it out to all paid subscribers from today,:
The vision for Slack has always been to build Slack Connect so that the benefits you get for channel-based communication within your own organization you’ll get when communicating with everyone. Email has been around for decades… we wanted to build a model that addresses the limitations of email
This is a very critical part of the vision for Slack. I believe a lot of the communication that is happening over email will move to Slack. Email will always be around for certain use cases. We’re not going to be a substitute for everything that happens in email… but we do see that when corporations move to using Slack wall-to-wall there’s a significant reduction of email within their corporation
The company provided some examples of how Slack Connect is already being used by businesses to change the way they communicate with their employees. For instance, Nando’s UK is using Slack Connect for automated communications with its delivery partner Deliveroo. Other businesses like Fastly are using Slack Connect for customer support, and Zendesk is using it to connect with partners. Slack has even built a Slack Connect instance for doctors to share their experiences with each other in the fight against COVID-19 in recent months.
While direct messages and channels will remain an important part of Slack Connect – much the way it is today – Connect forms the foundations for a future where these shared channels become the place for businesses to sign contracts with partners, check on invoices, manage purchase orders, or monitor service tickets – all with encryption and security measures thrown in. Communication which is still largely managed through email and mailing applications like Outlook or Gmail.
It’s quite an ambitious plan from Slack who are facing stiff competition from the likes of Microsoft and google themselves with their own messaging platforms. Trying to open up Slack’s traditional communications though to support better external engagement though will go a long way in making it a viable alternative to those products and – importantly – removing the need for email. I doubt email is going anywhere any time soon, but it does perhaps provide us with a glimpse of an email-less future soon.
Last Updated: June 26, 2020