New Salesforce Developer Tools Look to Tighten Integration with Slack

New Salesforce Developer Tools Look to Tighten Integration with Slack

Salesforce revealed a new set of low-code developer tools and connectors this week at its TrailblazerDX 2022 conference, aimed at bringing Slack and Salesforce’s larger product portfolio closer together. Salesforce says the new software development toolkit, dubbed Salesforce Platform for Slack, would “empower” Salesforce developers to create unique Slack apps that will presumably improve customer experience at their companies. Salesforce has made gradual headway in placing Slack as a core element of its product ecosystem in the two years after it purchased the chat platform for $27.7 billion. Salesforce introduced Slack connectors with Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Tableau in August, including workflow notifications that update Slack channels when marketing journey changes are made.

Salesforce just introduced additional media sharing tools in Slack as well as GovSlack, a government tier geared for public sector clients with stringent compliance standards. In an email interview with TechCrunch, Rob Seaman, Slack’s SVP of platform product management, said, “Since Slack’s acquisition by Salesforce was completed, we’ve been firmly focused on how the unification of these two companies will result in better, more seamless outcomes for our customers — and deliver unique value for developer and business communities.” “Salesforce Platform for Slack is an exciting next step in thoroughly integrating [Salesforce] throughout Slack by making it easier than ever to deploy Salesforce functionality — actions, processes, data, and business insights — right in Slack, where people are already working,” says the company.

The new Salesforce Flow in Slack toolset, which is part of the Salesforce Platform for Slack, allows developers to create Slack automations that use Salesforce data and actions. Developers may automate fundamental operations such as opening Slack channels to interact with stakeholders and providing account status updates to colleagues using Slack Actions. Another feature of Slack’s Flow is Screen Flows, which allows users to create multi-step workflows in Salesforce and reuse them in Slack.

Salesforce Platform for Slack also includes the Apex SDK for Slack, which allows developers to access customer details and construct reusable views using Salesforce’s Apex language. The new SDK provides event routing between Slack and Salesforce without the usage of middleware, since it leverages Block Kit, Slack’s UI framework for Slack apps, to automatically construct the appropriate frontend code. “At the moment, developers create sophisticated integrations that include third-party middleware, complex data and metadata mappings, event routing, and a slew of other requirements.” “However, the Apex SDK for Slack enables Salesforce developers to get right to work, utilizing code and technologies that they’re already acquainted with,” Seaman explained.

“A developer, for example, may create a Slack shortcut that pulls up client use statistics and presents it on an account team channel.” You may create a basic app that collects data and displays it in Slack using a Salesforce Object Query Language (SOQL) query. The Apex SDK handles all of the underlying infrastructure, allowing you to concentrate on your business logic. Developers who are already using or working with Salesforce products may expand existing apps to interface with Slack using the Apex SDK, which uses a familiar coding language.”

Salesforce also introduced three Slack applications in beta (ahead of public availability in June) to coincide with the launching of Salesforce Platform for Slack: Sales Cloud for Slack, Service Cloud for Slack, and Marketing Cloud for Slack. Sales Cloud for Slack automates deal status updates and preserves Salesforce information, while Service Cloud for Slack allocates service cases to team members as they arrive. Meanwhile, Marketing Cloud for Slack notifies sales teams on Slack when new leads are produced.

“We’ll keep building connectors between Salesforce and Slack to provide clients access to Salesforce’s complete system of record, business analytics, powerful tools, and deep platform capabilities – right from where they’re currently collaborating in Slack,” Seaman added. “All of Salesforce’s cloud products and industry solutions will have integrations.” We expect several of these integrations to become broadly available this year, and we’ll have more to discuss as they become available.

Analysts were dubious when Salesforce revealed its ambitions to purchase Slack in 2020, believing that the business — which paid a significant premium for Slack shares — would be able to effectively overlay the chat platform on top of its existing capabilities. The synergy thesis “wasn’t convincing” at the time, according to UBS analysts, while Mizuho Securities analysts were “uncertain how successfully [Salesforce] will monetize this asset.” Slack is expected to produce $876.3 million in sales in fiscal year 2020, according to analysts polled by Refinitiv. (As of February 2021, Slack had 156,000 paid clients and over 10 million users.) That’s a drop in the bucket compared to Salesforce’s $17.1 billion in revenue in the same year.

Salesforce Platform for Slack might be the company’s most significant step toward platform unification — and cross-selling. However, with the continuous rivalry from competitors like Microsoft Teams, Google Chat, and even Zoom, it’s questionable how much greater integration with Salesforce products can persuade doubters to pay for a Slack membership. “We’re providing an opportunity to dramatically grow Slack apps and processes across both Salesforce and Slack by allowing more than 11 million Salesforce developers to build time-saving Slack apps directly on Salesforce Platform without learning a new programming language,” Seaman added.

“No other vendor has ever created something like this for Slack, and it’s an example of how Slack and Salesforce are working together to innovate their platforms so that every team, department, and partner has what they need to take the business ahead.” Salesforce plans to release Flow on Slack as a test in June and a public release in October. Apex SDK for Slack will be available as a pilot in June, with full availability following in February.