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Slack launches Slack Connect: Could it end email communication as we know it?

Slack launches Slack Connect: Could it end email communication as we know it? Blog Feature

Connor DeLaney

Community & Events Manager, 2+ Years of Content Marketing Strategy & Project Management

July 8th, 2020 min read

How do your team members currently communicate with each other?

Talking face-to-face? Connecting through email? Using messaging apps like Slack or WhatsApp? 

Whatever strategies and tools you use, compare that communication experience with the one you have externally with your clients or partners. 

What’s different between your internal and external communication? 

For my team, we use Slack for all of our internal communication, from company announcements to random facts of the day. But when it comes to client or external communications, I find myself in Basecamp, email inboxes, and Dropbox, or sending text messages and making phone calls. It’s all over the place. 

So, why don’t we use Slack to communicate externally, too? Wouldn’t that be easier?

Sure, but the answer isn’t so simple because Slack was only built for working inside your business.

Until now, that is. 

Slack has just introduced Slack Connect, the next evolution in inter-business communication. 

Available to all Slack users with a paid plan, Slack Connect promises to bring everything you love about using Slack internally to your external communications.

How can Slack Connect help your business?

Slack Connect is focused on achieving three main results for businesses: 

  1. Securely connecting to external organizations
  2. Getting work done faster with partners and vendors
  3. Strengthening business relationships

Security

With up to 20 different organizations being able to collaborate at once with Slack Connect, it may seem like the platform is a security disaster waiting to happen. However, it will actually have a robust security system in place.

All of the security features and compliance standards that are included in the Slack Enterprise package will be carried into Slack Connect including data loss prevention, e-discovery, Amazon's Enterprise Key Management (used for file and message encryption), and spam and phishing protection. 

Slack Connect will also feature admin controls and different levels of access, limiting the types of actions different users can take such as adding files or users to the channels. 

Getting work done faster

Slack Connect allows for real-time communication, as opposed to email. 

Imagine having a question about a recent report that was sent from the sales team. You want to reach out to the sales rep but need to include both your manager and their manager on the email for visibility purposes. You send over your question and wait. You get a reply the next day from the sales team manager with an answer, but she didn't include the sales rep in the reply. Then the sales rep sends you a different answer two hours later, but also doesn't CC anyone.

A simple question has now become a frustrating game of email tag.

Instead, Slack Connect will allow you to tag the person you need to ask in a channel, link the report and have it appear directly in the chat, and (ideally) have it resolved in a moment. This eliminates the cluttered emails and allows all communication to be front and center if the managers have to jump in. 

Not only that, but companies will also have access to app integrations with some of the business world’s most popular tools.

Users will be able to host Zoom calls, share and collaborate on files in Google Drive, book calendar invites through Outlook or Google Calendar (even if you use one and your client uses the other!), and even create polls and surveys through Polly or Simple Poll.

Strengthen relationships

Better communication through Slack Connect will lead to more trust being built between organizations. 

With secure technology and increased efficiency, the relationships built with your partners, vendors, and clients will grow stronger. 

The potential drawbacks of Slack Connect

Slack has drastically changed the pace at which we communicate with each other internally, and Slack Connect promises to do the same for communication between organizations. 

It makes communication almost immediate and prompts you to open and respond to messages quickly. 

Communication has trended this way for years, always fueled by the question: How do we make it even faster? 

But when do you hit the point of being too connected? 

A concern that has popped up across organizations big and small is the fear of creating an "ASAP culture" of communication. 

While faster communication can lead to more productivity in less time, it can also lead to miscommunication, undeveloped ideas, interrupted deep work time, and an inability to ever truly shut it off. 

Here’s an example of what can happen: 

It’s been a long day at work, you were at your computer at 8 a.m. and are just signing off around 6 p.m. 

Just as you are sitting down on the couch to unwind, you get a ping on your phone from Slack. It’s a vendor asking where a document is. 

You look at the message but decide you can answer in the morning, it’s not that urgent. 

Then a second message comes in. It’s your boss asking why he is getting a message from your account about a missing document. 

“Ugh, lemme go fix this.” 

Jumping back in, you work to send the document as quickly as possible. Once on your laptop, you start answering other work messages, too. Suddenly, an hour has passed and you still find yourself in front of your laptop. 

This expectation of immediacy can lead to anxiety, depression, and burnout. While your colleagues and business partners will be more accessible than ever, that doesn’t mean they should always be available

Any organization opting for Slack Connect will need to create a culture that mitigates the risks associated with ASAP communication. 

Slack is changing the way we communicate

Slack has revolutionized the way we communicate in business. Shifting from inboxes to channels has been one of the largest changes in business communication since the advent of email itself.

Many companies have already jumped on board with Slack — and Slack Connect is the likely next step.

While there are some hesitations attached to using tools like Slack Connect, I anticipate many businesses will be joining the movement. 

Only time will tell if it’s an effective investment or a detriment to longevity and performance.

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