Slack has evolved from a pure communications platform to one that allows businesses to connect directly to business applications without having to resort to the dreaded task switching. Today at the Salesforce World Tour event in NYC, the company announced the next step in the evolution of its platform, putting AI at the forefront of the user experience, making it easier to get information and build workflows .
It is important to note that these are announcements and many of these features are not yet available.
Rob Seaman says that instead of hitting an AI cover, they’re working to integrate it into the platform in a variety of ways. That started last month with a small step, a partnership with OpenAI to bring a ChatGPT app to Slack, the first piece of a much broader vision for AI on the platform. That part is currently in beta.
Today’s announcement includes several new integrations, including SlackGPT, the company’s proprietary flavor of generative AI built on top of the Slack platform that users and developers can leverage to build AI-driven experiences. The content in Slack provides a starting point for building models related to the platform.
“We think Slack has a unique advantage when it comes to generative AI. Much of the institutional knowledge about every topic, team, work item and project is already in Slack through the messages, files and clips shared every day,” he said.
When you combine that with Slack’s partner ecosystem and platform, customers have many options for integrating AI into their workflows. He says Slack is thinking about this three ways right now.
“For starters, Slack is going to bring AI natively into the user experience with SlackGPT to help customers work faster, communicate better, learn faster, etc. And an example of that is AI-powered conversation summaries and composition writing aids that are going to be available immediately in Slack,” he said.
For example, the former could help employees get caught up in a long thread without having to read every message to get the gist of what is being discussed. The latter can help generate Slack messages or content for linked Slack applications. That’s a slightly less obvious use case. It’s probably easier to write a Slack post yourself, unless it’s an automated post that’s part of a workflow, but if you’re creating content for Slack Canvas, you can let the generative AI help you.
Developers can also get involved by building AI steps into workflows, giving them the ability to tap into third-party apps and large language models to build generative AI experiences of their own. Last week, the company made its updated developer experience generally available, and this should make it easier to incorporate custom generative AI into the platform, says Seaman.
“So this gives us the foundation to give users choice and flexibility to bring AI to work in their business whenever they want and whenever they want. We currently have 2,600 apps in the ecosystem, including many of the leading LLMs, and we see many customers already choosing to integrate generative AI into Slack themselves,” he said.
Finally, EinsteinGPT, the Salesforce flavor of generative AI announced in March, will also be included in Slack, allowing employees to directly ask questions about Salesforce content, such as the users most likely to leave or the accounts that most likely to buy, and so on. This is really about integrating Salesforce content more directly into Slack, the company that Salesforce paid $27 billion for a few years ago.
“Slack really becomes the conversational interface for Salesforce. So that’s bringing those EinsteinGPT-driven insights from the real-time customer data that exists in Salesforce into Slack to enrich every team’s understanding of the customer,” he said.
As with most generative AI tools we see being added to enterprise software, Slack announces these capabilities well before they are released, but this should give customers an idea of what’s to come and how AI could transform Slack in the future . The SlackGPT and EinsteinGPT integration is still in development, but developers can build custom integrations with various LLMs today. Workflow Builder with SlackGPT AI connectors (allowing customers to directly connect ChatGPT or Claude to a workflow or build custom connectors that can connect their own LLMs) will be available this summer.