Slack’s latest big update gives you new ways to work smart, not hard
Slack has lifted the lid on a major new addition to its collaboration platform which it says could go some way to addressing a number of common bottlenecks for customers.
Slack Canvas gives collaborators a new way to collect, organize and share data, using persistent and highly customizable information panels. These so-called “canvases” are attached by default to every channel and can be created manually for one-off projects or events.
Not only can users embed contextual information, data and multimedia content into canvases, but they can also complete everyday tasks in situ, courtesy of the third-party integrations already available in Slack.
In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Slack began to speak publicly about a new strategy, which involved zeroing-in on the problems specific to this new era of remote and hybrid working. Broadly, the ambition is for the platform to become a centralized hub for work, a so-called “digital HQ” for each customer.
Since then, Slack has gone live with a number of new features that nudge the platform in this direction. For example, the company announced a new impromptu meeting feature called Huddles, designed to minimize friction associated with spinning up quick calls. The firm also launched Slack Clips, a way for colleagues to record and send short video snippets to one another, in support of asynchronous ways of working.
Slack Canvas, meanwhile, can be seen as an extension of this same vision, bringing more of the functionality workers rely upon onto a single platform, in a more joined up way, such that users don't have to flick between numerous different applications to complete their work.
The feature will also dovetail nicely with other recent additions, including workflow automations developed inside Slack Platform. The idea is that, by making auomations easier to discover, workers will spend less time dealing with administration and more time on creative tasks.
Speaking to TechRadar Pro ahead of Dreamforce 2022, Slack's Chief Product Officer Tamar Yehoshua went into further detail on the rationale behind the new tool and its role in the grand digital HQ strategy.
“Canvas will help people to be more productive in their digital HQ, by giving them a surface that makes it easier to access the information they need to get their job done,” she told us. “It will be easier to automate and it will be easier and faster to find information associated with the task at hand.”
“We hope people will be able to onboard employees more quickly, to close deals faster, to resolve incidents faster, by having that information more readily available in a consistent location in this persistent layer.”
Although Slack has always concerned itself with helping customers to optimize efficiency, this is “a new day for work”, she added, and new approaches to collaboration are therefore all the more important.
Slack Canvas is already in the hands of a small group of customers for testing and is expected to be made generally available in the months to come.
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