Stickier Slack apps with workflow steps

Now available in developer open beta

Slack API
Slack API
Jul 20, 2020 · 4 min read
Illustration and design by Casey Labatt Simon.

You can now develop components of a Slack app that will soon be available as steps in Workflow Builder, enabling anyone to create custom workflows in Slack that integrate with their external tools.

Since launching Workflow Builder late last year, hundreds of thousands of builders have published workflows that are used millions of times monthly. 75% of these builders are non-technical, indicating a need for more tools that empower anyone to uniquely customize how they work in Slack.

The basics of Workflow Builder

Without writing a single line of code, builders can create channel-specific workflows that automatically run through a sequence of steps when triggered. This comes in handy for things like onboarding new teammates, handling requests, team stand-ups, and more.

Acme Inc. built a workflow that welcomes new members to a channel shared with an external organization.

Workflow steps from apps

Until today, builders could only select from native Slack steps, like sending a message or creating a form. With steps from apps, builders will be able to create workflows that, for example, send data to an external service, create tasks in project management trackers, or update the status of a ticket in an external ticketing system.

When creating a workflow, builders will have access to a step library, so they can view steps from apps that are already installed on their workspace.

A new workflow step for Google Sheets will make it easy to push data from Slack right into a spreadsheet. This comes in handy for workflows that collect information through a form, so builders can configure their workflow to automatically send those form responses as a new row in the Google Sheet of their choice.

Builders will select a Google Sheet, then connect columns with the information from their workflow.

When launched to users later this year, steps from apps will be featured across a variety of Slack-owned locations, like an in-product step library, on the App Directory, Slack Tips and more.

An opportunity to extend your reach

Once available through Workflow Builder, anyone will be able to automate routine tasks that include custom interactions with your app — whether that’s receiving, or sending information to Slack from your service.

The team at Polly, a polling app for Slack, is building a workflow step for their app’s most popular use case — requesting feedback. This workflow step will be useful for teams that triage time-sensitive information, like customer support tickets. For example, they can build a workflow that is triggered by an emoji reaction, which then sends a pre-built customer satisfaction survey administered by Polly.

Builders will soon be able to include polls from Slack apps, like Polly, as a step in their custom workflows.

Deeper customization for enterprise-grade workflows

Perhaps your company uses an internal task management system, and you’ve already built a custom app that sends notifications to Slack with task updates. If someone wants to see more details or create a new task in the system, they have to leave Slack and log into that separate tool.

By making your app available as a workflow step, builders can create workflows that automate routine processes, like creating a new task, to keep work moving forward without leaving Slack.

Builders can create a workflow so their team can submit new tasks through a workflow form without leaving Slack.

Getting started

Need more hands-on support? Join next week’s webinar, Extending your app with Workflow Builder, to dive deeper with the Workflow Builder team — plus lots of time for Q&A.

Send us your feedback and questions by emailing feedback@slack.com.

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