Salesforce gives developers tools to integrate with Slack apps

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Salesforce today announced a new toolkit for its developers to build integrations and customize apps on Slack’s collaboration platform.

Salesforce acquired Slack last year for $27.7 billion and has begun to integrate the team messaging app into its portfolio of Software-as-a-Service tools — aiming to create what it calls the “digital HQ.” The Salesforce Platform for Slack, announced at the TrailblazerDX developer conference, is aimed at simplifying processes for Salesforce’s 11 million developers when connecting workflows between Customer360 apps and Slack.

“Salesforce’s primary justification for buying Slack is to leverage Slack as the collaboration layer across Salesforce clouds,” said Irwin Lazar, president and principal analyst at research and advisory firm Metrigy. “That requires tight integrations to ensure data flow in and out of Slack, and the ability to both collaborate on, and carry out tasks within Slack. So it’s critical that Salesforce rapidly enable developers to integrate into Slack.”

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Metrigy’s Workplace Collaboration: 2021-22 survey indicated that almost 60% of end user organizations viewed apps like Slack as a hub for work, r ather than purely a messaging app.

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With the Apex SDK for Slack, Salesforce developers can use the familiar Apex programming language to customize Slack apps built using the Block Kit UI framework (created four years ago to embed interactive components such as checkboxes and menus in Slack messages). The Apex SDK allows access to data in Salesforce, such as customer records, without the need for middleware.

“Let’s say a developer already has a great application built in Apex — they can now bring that super-easily to Slack,” said Slack Chief Product Officer Tamar Yehoshua in a pre-announcement briefing.

Salesforce is also connecting its Flow low-code platform to Slack. This should enable the automation of simple manual tasks, such as creating a new Slack channel or sending an account status update.

“Let’s say a deal status changes and you want to collaborate on that deal in a deal room in Slack. All you do is connect it through Salesforce Flow to automatically create a channel,” said Yehoshua.

“Slack’s deeper integrations to the Salesforce platform effectively streamlines communications and collaboration by eliminating the need to switch between applications,” said Wayne Kurtzman, research director at IDC. “This brings conversations around work into the work — keeping the context needed to make decisions.”

Flow in Slack is expected to be available as a beta in June and in final release in October. The Apex SDK for Slack is set for a pilot in June, with general availability in February 2023.

At TrailblazerDX Salesforce also announced the public beta of several integrations between Slack and Salesforce’s Sales, Service and Marketing Cloud products that were announced last year.

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