Slack is launching a slew of new automation features as part of an update to its Workflow Builder tool. The collaboration app meets demands for greater automation from users who are increasingly building apps using low-code and no-code tools.
The Workflow Builder update will be rolled out in the coming months, Slack said in a blog post. “It’s part of our goal to make automation accessible to all users, period,” said Steve Wood, senior vice president of product and platform at Slack. “These updates come at a critical time when businesses are watching their bottom line. When every minute counts, it’s important to bring the process of creating automation closer to the people who will actually use it.”
Launched in 2019, Slack Workflow Builder allows users to automate routine processes within an app channel to save time. This could be something like generating a help desk request or submitting an incident report.
The updates announced this week will allow these workflows to be easily shared between different users, meaning they will be portable across channels and groups of users, rather than being tied to a specific channel.
In the coming months, Slack promises to add conditional logic, meaning workflows will be able to contain “if, then” statements, sending users down different paths depending on the information entered. It also expands its library of templates for creating workflows so that users have more options for automating tasks.
Users of Workflow Builder include companies such as Dell. “These new capabilities will unlock even more advanced use cases for a broader, non-coding audience,” said Carl Owen, senior distinguished engineer at Dell.
The growing importance of low and no code
With 12 million daily users, Slack is one of the biggest players in the collaboration software market, but it faces a lot of competition, especially from Microsoft, which bundles its equivalent product, Teams, with Office 365 subscriptions and also offers workflow automation options.
By expanding Workflow Builder, the company will hope to meet the growing demand for low-code and no-code products that allow ordinary business users to build applications, functions and processes with little or no technical knowledge. These tools are also used by experienced developers to save time that would otherwise be spent on mundane or repetitive tasks.
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Low code in particular is booming, with 77% of 2025 IT professionals surveyed for 2021.Low Code Status Report’ – posted by low-code vendor Mendix – saying they’ve already implemented such solutions in their organizations. Automation is a popular use case for these tools.
Speaking of Technical monitor last year, Charlotte Dunlap, principal analyst for application platforms, enterprise technology and services at GlobalData, said it was important for companies like Slack to offer low-content, no-code solutions to meet the changing needs of their users, many of which are struggling to hire technologists and are looking for ways to put the power of programming into the hands of normal business users instead.
“There’s always been some element of ‘us vs. them’ when it comes to IT and operations,” Dunlap said. “Now that’s being redefined and there’s more collaboration, not least because it’s getting harder to get professional developers and companies are looking for ways to lighten the workload on the technical staff they have.”
Read more: Low code can save time, but it’s not without risks