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Slack wants to become your ‘all-digital HQ’

Slack
(Image credit: Shutterstock / rafapress)

With all the signs pointing to the death of the traditional office, collaboration platform Slack wants to fill the void by becoming an “all-digital HQ”, according to its Chief Product Officer, Tamar Yehoshua.

Speaking ahead of the company’s virtual conference, Slack Frontiers, Yehoshua set out a vision for the post-pandemic world, which boils down to a shift away from legacy platforms and towards collaboration environments, which will provide the focal point for work - much like a physical HQ.

“When email was invented, it followed the mode of that era’s communication, by isolating information. You can only see the conversations you’ve been included in,” she explained.

“The world today is pretty different. With fast-paced collaboration across distributed teams, email is no longer the right tool. Old ways of working are not coming back, so now is the time to become more agile, flexible and ready for anything.”

This sentiment was echoed by Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield who, drawing from technology essayist Benedict Evans, called on businesses to adopt a more radical approach to change, as opposed to rehashing old solutions.

“It takes time, but sooner or later, we stop replicating old methods with new tools and find new methods to fit the tools,” he said.

“If you can make it cheap enough, easy enough and convenient enough, everything changes. These are the magic points at which people change their behavior in really fundamental ways.”

“It’s about giving people the power to do what only humans can. Ultimately, we only have a finite amount of human creativity, so we want to put it where it matters.”

Slack updates

Slack also took the opportunity to discuss the latest additions to its platform, designed to ensure companies can keep employees and partner organizations connected remotely, but in a secure manner.

The company has made it easier to collaborate with external partners with a new Slack Connect DMs functionality, which drastically streamlines the existing process.

À la Twitter, Slack will also mark trusted third parties from outside an organization with a verified checkmark, signalling that their presence in the workspace has been approved.

Expanded support for the integration of third party apps and a new mode that lets teams build and test applications behind a firewall before company-wide deployment round out the improvements, which will roll out in early 2021.

“During the pandemic, we heard from other companies that weren’t able to keep up their momentum, putting a freeze on product releases and backing away from objectives, because they didn’t have a place where everyone could go to stay aligned on the work in play,” explained Yehoshua.

“The transition to remote work hasn’t been easy for a lot of organizations, [but] Slack can become your all-digital HQ, organizing all of your conversations both internally and externally.”