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Slack and Salesforce go public with first major integrations since acquisition

Slack and Salesforce have announced a set of developer products and integrations that Slack cofounder Cal Henderson says marks the first big public step to realising the value of the 2020 acquisition

Slack and Salesforce have announced a set of developer products and integrations that are said to make it easier to develop functionality and processes between them.

Salesforce finalised the acquisition of cloud-based collaboration software provider Slack in July 2021 for $27.7bn, though the acquisition was in play in late 2020. and this is the first major announcement of technology integrations between the two entities. The company announced some pilot integrations in August 2021 of Slack with Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud and Sales Cloud.

Salesforce Platform for Slack was recently unveiled at its developer conference in San Francisco, TrailblazerDX. This is a software development toolkit that enables developers to bring their own Salesforce apps and workflows directly in Slack.

Also announced was Salesforce Flow in Slack, which is said to enable developers to build Slack-first automations with full support for Salesforce data and actions using low-code capabilities; and Apex SDK for Slack, which is said to allow developers to build for Slack in Apex code and automatically generate Block Kit, which is a UI framework for Slack apps.

Ahead of the announcement, Cal Henderson, co-founder and chief technology officer at Slack, told Computer Weekly: “This is really the first big public step on the road to realising the value of the acquisition of how Slack and Salesforce can be more valuable together.”

The Salesforce Platform for Slack is said to enable the more than 11 million Salesforce developers to build “time-saving” Slack apps natively on Salesforce Platform, using the tools and coding languages they are familiar with.

“Salesforce is very strong in particular verticals. Sales Cloud is for salespeople, Service Cloud is for service teams, Marketing Cloud is for marketing teams. And they’re very strong on the vertical lines of business, and ultimately systems of record,” said Henderson.

“Slack is the horizontal layer that’s across the whole organisation – the glue...that ties together how organisations actually work. Ultimately, what we’re announcing this week around the Salesforce-Slack integration is how we make [the Salesforce Clouds] more valuable by using Slack.”

He said that Slack is never trying to replace any of the “proliferation of software that customers are buying, but [instead] making them more valuable”.

“This is not a pivot to only caring about Salesforce customers. We still have this really strong freemium and self-service business where people pick up Slack and start using it for free,” he said.

The Salesforce integrations will “open up Slack to a whole bunch of new low code and no code developers”, he added. “Something that we’ve seen over the past five years is that Slack is great tool for organisations of all kinds of sizes and all kinds of industries, but it becomes more valuable the more customised it is to the way each different organisation works.”

Salesforce cofounder Parker Harris spoke in a press briefing on the eve of the developer conference about the ways in which the company is bringing together technologies from itself, Slack and two other major acquired companies (integration platform provider Mulesoft and data visualisation specialist Tableau).

“Imagine a call centre employee of a healthcare company who could be sitting at home, taking a call from a customer filing a claim. That service agent then kicks off a workflow within Service Cloud that reaches out through Mulesoft to older back-end systems,” he said.

“And then, when they get to the approval stage, that workflow pulls in those approvals really fast through Slack channels. Later, when you want to understand the business better [connected with that claim], you’ve got Tableau to analyse the data and see it in a new way.”

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