What you need to know about Slack’s new AI collaboration features

The Slack platform on a laptop computer and the company logo on a smartphone
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Salesforce has unveiled a raft of new AI-driven features for Slack aimed at supercharging user productivity. 

In an announcement ahead of the Dreamforce conference in San Francisco next week, the tech giant confirmed that Slack AI will be integrated into the productivity and communications platform. 

Noah Desai Weiss, chief product officer at Slack, said the launch of the new capabilities aims to streamline productivity for users and fully maximize the use of generative AI to support collaboration. 

“At Slack, we’re taking a collaboration-first approach to delivering an intelligence productivity platform in the age of AI and automation,” he said. 

“We are focused on providing customers with a simpler, more delightful, and more efficient set of tools so every person can do the best work of their lives.”

Slack AI features - what you need to know

Three new AI-powered features will be rolled out to customers in the coming months, Slack confirmed, with an initial pilot beginning in winter 2023. 

This includes the launch of a new ‘channel recaps’ function to provide highlights of content and discussions within Slack channels. 

The conversational AI tool will enable users to “save time on tedious work”, according to the organization, by trawling through project channels to catch-up on missed discussions or key talking points. 

“Users can draft status reports from project channels, extract key themes from feedback channels, and more,” the firm said in a statement. 


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The keys to successful AI implementation and recognize when it's not working


Meanwhile, AI-supported thread summary capabilities will also be rolled-out to help users “get up to speed on any thread in just one click”. 

“They can quickly catch up on long discussions, whether their team is swarming on an incident, going back and forth on next steps, or brainstorming ideas.”

Slack specifically highlighted its new AI-powered search function as a key new feature in this recent launch.  

The firm has framed the feature as a vital tool to help customers “get the most out of their conversational data” across Slack channels to deliver valuable insights into ongoing projects and topics of discussion. 

The search function will allow users to ask questions about talking points across the platform and be presented with relevant messages and files. The tool will also share an AI-generated summary as well. 

“They can get the answers they need in seconds, whether they want to learn about a project or topic, find internal experts, understand team processes, and more.”

Workflow automation tools

Alongside the AI-powered features, Slack also unveiled a raft of automated tools aimed at improving efficiency and productivity through its Workflow Builder. 

The “new and improved” Workflow Builder function will now enable users to automate custom workflows, and offers connectors from partner organizations such as Atlassian, Asana, and Google. 

“Users can integrate multiple tools in a single workflow using a few clicks,” the firm said.

Slack's new automated Workflow Builder feature

(Image credit: Slack)

“Workflow Builder also extends to Salesforce Flow, offering an IT-approved way for users to customize their Slack workflows with admin-approved Salesforce automations.”

Users will also now have the ability to build and deploy custom apps hosted in Slack. The firm said the move is aimed at making it easier for developers to build custom apps that integrate with internal systems.

As part of this, Slack said it will “take care of hosting”, which it claimed will reduce infrastructure overheads and ensure data is stored securely on the platform. 

The new Workflow Builder is generally available now, Slack revealed. However, other automation tools will be made available in late-September. 

Slack Lists make is easier to track projects

Finally, a new Slack Lists project management tool will allow users to “track, manage, and triage work” in a more streamlined and efficient manner, the company claimed. 

This new feature will track projects such as new product development or marketing campaigns, enabling users to assign owners to specific projects, provide regular updates, and collaborate on tasks from one central location. 

“A dedicated thread for each project item makes it easy to hash out the details within teams,” Slack said. 

The new function will also integrate with Workflow Builder to enable users to review project approvals and requests. This integration will include the ability to assign users to specific tasks, discuss project details and workflows, and automatically mark projects as completed. 

Ross Kelly
News and Analysis Editor

Ross Kelly is ITPro's News & Analysis Editor, responsible for leading the brand's news output and in-depth reporting on the latest stories from across the business technology landscape. Ross was previously a Staff Writer, during which time he developed a keen interest in cyber security, business leadership, and emerging technologies.

He graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2016 with a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and joined ITPro in 2022 after four years working in technology conference research.

For news pitches, you can contact Ross at ross.kelly@futurenet.com, or on Twitter and LinkedIn.