This week at its TrailblazerDX 2022 conference, Salesforce announced a new set of low-code developer tools and integrations intended to bring the broader software portfolio of Slack and Salesforce closer together. Called Salesforce Platform for Slack, Salesforce says the new software development toolkit will “empower” Selling power developers to create custom Slack apps that ostensibly improve the customer experience in their organizations.
In the three years since Salesforce acquired Slack for $27.7 billion, the company has made progress — albeit slow — in positioning the chat platform as a central part of its product ecosystem. Last August, Salesforce announced Slack integrations with Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Tableau, including workflow notifications that update Slack channels when changes are made to a marketing journey. More recently, Salesforce launched new media sharing options in Slack and a government-level, GovSlack, designed for public sector customers with strong compliance requirements.
“Since the acquisition of Slack by Salesforce was completed, we have been firmly focused on how the unison of these two companies will result in better and more seamless results for our customers – and deliver unique value to developers. and business communities,” Rob Seaman, Slack’s SVP of platform product management, told TechCrunch in an email interview. “The Salesforce Platform for Slack is an exciting next step towards deep integration [Salesforce] in Slack by making it easier than ever to bring functionality—actions, workflows, data, and business insights—from Salesforce right into Slack, where people already work.
To that end, the new Salesforce Flow in Slack toolkit, part of the Salesforce Platform for Slack, enables developers to create Slack automations with support for Salesforce data and actions. With Slack Actions, developers can automate basic tasks like creating Slack channels to collaborate with stakeholders and send account status updates to colleagues. Screen Flows, another component of Flow in Slack, allows users to create multi-step workflows in Selling power that can be reused in Slack.
Salesforce Platform for Slack also introduces the Apex SDK for Slack, which enables developers to use Salesforce Summit language for retrieving customer records and creating reusable views. The new SDK — which uses Block Kit, Slack’s UI framework for Slack apps, to automatically generate the necessary front-end code — also supports event routing between Slack and Salesforce and vice versa, without middleware.
“Currently, developers are creating complex integrations that involve third-party middleware solutions, complex data and metadata mappings, event routing, and many other prerequisites. But Apex SDK for Slack lets Salesforce developers jump right into building using the code and tools they already know,” Seaman said. “For example, a developer might want to create a shortcut in Slack that fetches customer usage data and displays it in an account team channel. You can create a simple app that uses a Salesforce Object Query Language (SOQL) query to collect the data you care about and display it in Slack. The Apex SDK takes care of all the underlying plumbing so you can just focus on your business logic. Alternatively, developers who already use or work with Salesforce apps can use the Apex SDK, with its familiar coding language, to extend those apps to integrate with Slack.
To accompany the release of Salesforce Platform for Slack, Salesforce released three Slack apps in beta (ahead of general availability in June) that were built using the new developer tools: Sales Cloud for Slack, Service Cloud for Slack and Marketing Cloud for Slack. Sales Cloud for Slack automates deal status updates for sales teams and maintains records in Salesforce, while Service Cloud for Slack assigns service requests to team members as they arise. ‘they arrive. Marketing Cloud for Slack, meanwhile, automatically alerts sales teams in Slack when leads are generated.
“We will continue to build integrations between Salesforce and Slack to give customers the ability to take advantage of Salesforce’s comprehensive registration system, business insights, powerful tools, and deep platform capabilities – right from there. where people are already working together in Slack,” Seaman mentioned. “We will have integrations for each of Salesforce’s cloud products and industry solutions. We expect many to become generally available this year, and we’ll have more to share as these integrations are released. ”
When Salesforce announced plans to buy Slack in 2020, analysts were skeptical that the company – which paid a substantial premium for Slack shares – could successfully layer the chat platform on top of its existing offerings. UBS analysts wrote at the time that the synergy story “was not compelling”, while analysts at Mizuho Securities said they were “uncertain of the quality [Salesforce] would monetize this asset.
In 2020, analysts surveyed by Refinitiv predicted that Slack would generate $876.3 million in revenue in fiscal year 2020. (Slack had 156,000 paying customers and over 10 million users in February 2021). That’s a fraction of the $17.1 billion in revenue Salesforce earned in the same year.
The Salesforce Platform for Slack could be Salesforce’s most significant step yet in the direction of platform unification — and cross-selling. But with continued competition from rivals like Microsoft Teams, Google Chat and even Zoom, it’s unclear how much tighter integration with Salesforce products will convince skeptics to shell out for a Slack subscription.
“By enabling over 11 million Salesforce developers to build time-saving Slack apps natively on the Salesforce platform without learning a new programming language, we are creating an opportunity to massively scale apps and Slack workflow on Salesforce and Slack,” Seaman said. “No other vendor on the market has ever built something like this for Slack, and this is an example of how Slack and Selling power together innovate their platforms to give every team, department and partner what they need to drive the business forward.
Salesforce expects Flow in Slack to launch in beta in June and become generally available in October. A pilot for Apex SDK for Slack will be tentatively rolling out in June and moving to general availability next February.