Slack has added new methods to work together with Microsoft’s Workplace 365 app instantly from its personal collaboration platform. This consists of an Outlook calendar app, Workplace file previews and the power to export emails into Slack channels and direct messages.
The integrations introduced Tuesday are a part of wider strikes to attach Slack with productiveness apps from a variety of distributors, stated Andy Pflaum, Slack’s director of product administration for interoperability.
The number of third-party app integrations has lengthy been a power of Slack’s (it has added greater than 1,500 to date), serving to customers work with out forcing a change between functions. The listing of integrations consists of productiveness and enterprise apps from distributors resembling Google, ServiceNow and Salesforce.
“We acknowledge that our prospects are going to have a wide range of instruments that they use within the office,” stated Pflaum. “No one immediately has only a single stack from Microsoft, Google, Cisco or Salesforce. Nearly each enterprise has a mixture of options from completely different suppliers.
“We predict [the Office365 integration] helps us take an additional step ahead in being a real collaboration hub,” he stated.
Wayne Kurtzman, analysis director at IDC, referred to as the mixing with Workplace 365 an instance of Slack’s dedication to an open-app ecosystem.
“This openness that facilitates work, now with this deep Microsoft integration, permits customers to speak on the suitable platform for the message – and collaborate inside the full IT stack,” he stated. “It additionally underscores [that] consumer communications and collaboration preferences are nonetheless evolving quickly, and are being pushed by a extra tech-savvy workforce.”
Improved notifications for Outlook Calendar
The brand new Outlook Calendar app sends a notification in Slack when customers are invited to a gathering, and highlights any scheduling conflicts. Video assembly notifications may also embrace a hyperlink to conferencing apps, resembling Webex, Zoom or Skype for Enterprise. The latter is especially noteworthy as a result of Microsoft has folded Skype for Enterprise into its Groups app, primarily making a bridge between the 2 collaboration apps.
The power to sync with Outlook calendars may also allow computerized updates of a consumer’s Slack standing – one of the vital requested options from prospects, stated Pflaum. This implies a Slack consumer’s standing could be set to “in a gathering” in accordance with their Outlook calendar schedule, for instance, or “out of workplace” if they’ve trip days booked off.
E-mail add-in for Outlook
Slack can be trying to bridge the hole between its collaboration app and Outlook emails. The Slack for Outlook add-in lets customers ahead an e mail instantly from their inbox to a Slack channel or ship it as a direct message. That is accomplished by clicking a Slack icon that seems in Outlook emails and deciding on the channel or particular person recipient. Group members in Slack can then view the e-mail content material from their chat stream, and open any attachments or notes.
The characteristic follows Slack’s acquisition of e mail administration agency Astro (of which Pflaum was CEO and co-founder), late final yr; Astro staffers had been concerned in ongoing plans to combine extra tightly with third-party productiveness apps. “The e-mail sharing is a direct nod to what we had been doing in Astro and one of many issues that we got here to do once we acquired right here,” stated Pflaum.
OneDrive file search and import
Slack additionally introduced deeper integration with Microsoft’s OneDrive, making it simpler to add recordsdata from the cloud storage service. Slack customers can click on the “+” icon subsequent to the message bar, choose OneDrive and select the file to share in a channel or direct message.
Slack already offers integrations with a wide range of cloud storage distributors, together with Field, DropBox and Google Drive.
For locally-stored recordsdata – the kind of paperwork mostly uploaded to Slack, stated Pflaum – previews of Workplace docs can be out there in Slack as soon as a doc is uploaded. This lets customers scroll by a Phrase, Excel or Powerpoint file with out having to obtain the entire doc and open up the related app.
“That is significantly helpful not simply on desktop however on cellular if any individual is on the go and needs to have the ability to rapidly view a file,” stated Pflaum.
Integrations are key to competing with Groups
Mike Gotta, analysis vp at Gartner, stated that integrations are essential as Slack competes with Microsoft’s personal collaboration app, Groups.
Groups, which launched in 2017, is already being utilized by greater than 500,000 organizations, although Microsoft doesn’t escape particular person month-to-month or each day lively consumer stats. As compared, Slack, which debuted in 2013, has 10 million each day lively customers.
“Any vendor that wishes to compete with Microsoft over time has to have the ability to combine with the remainder of the Microsoft ecosystem the place it isn’t actually competing,” stated Gotta. “Integration with e mail and calendar and recordsdata is fundamental blocking and tackling. Slightly bit above and past is the mixing with the calendar and becoming a member of conferences, and there’s some good fluidity of the consumer expertise to be able to escalate from inside Slack as much as the expertise hosted in Microsoft.”
Artwork Schoeller, vp and principal analyst at Forrester, stated the Workplace 365 integrations “make a ton of sense in Slack’s battle with Microsoft.”
“It’s all about holding a consumer occupied in Slack with out having to spend time in Microsoft apps. Slack desires to be the important thing UI on your work and to decrease the time you’ll spend in Outlook, OneDrive, Phrase, Powerpoint, and Excel,” he stated. “Have a look at lots of the Slack integrations (e.g Salesforce, ServiceNow) and so they allow a consumer to utilize the underlying software with out having to leap over to the opposite UI.”
The integrations introduced immediately “permit Slack to ‘bounce on prime,’ to turn out to be the UI you employ to do your work, relegating these Workplace365 capabilities to a back-end service,” Schoeller stated.