Slack announces Slack Connect, its attempt to replace email across businesses

Email is slow, but when it comes to communicating between organizations, it’s pretty much the best we have. Now Slack thinks it can make you a better one with Slack Connect.

On the surface, the idea seems simple enough: Slack Connect allows up to 20 organizations to communicate through Slack’s channels. Organizations can connect for streamlined communications that should be much faster than exchanging emails, not to mention the ability to communicate in as many emoji as they consider professionally acceptable.

But there are several complications with this idea, which Slack said has been working for the past four years to mitigate it. Different organizations have different security protocols and requirements for storing communication data; Imagine communications between a start-up, a bank, and a legal team, for example.

Slack says that it has had to rebuild its infrastructure to allow each organization to meet its particular standards while allowing fluent communication with others. It also required a redesign of the interface to make it obvious when you are communicating outside of your organization and who is aware of these conversations. The company is also working on linking calendars between organizations; Upcoming integrations of Outlook and Google Calendar will allow Slack to scan intercompany calendars and suggest available meeting times.

Slack says he has been testing the feature in a larger beta with more than a million users in recent months, with everything from government agencies and conversations about his own funding rounds. In addition to the obvious speed benefits of communicating through the app, the company notes that its platform increases security at a basic level: 90 percent of data breaches come from phishing attacks, according to Slack. To that end, Slack also said he is working on a verification system similar to Twitter so that he can always have a clear indication that he is linking with the right people.

Slack was launched with the goal of reducing our dependency on email. For companies on Slack who need to partner with other companies on Slack, Connect could be an important step toward that goal. The feature is available starting today for paid Slack users, though free users will also be able to run an ‘extended’ trial version.

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