Slack AISalesforce has announced that Slack AI is now available as an add on to all paying Slack customers. Initially available in English only, Slack AI is also available in Japanese and Spanish, with Slack adding more languages soon.

Slack has also added new functionality to Slack AI, strengthening its capabilities. First launched in February, Slack AI consisted of three main components.

Search answers: Want to understand what has happened or learn about a project you have just joined. Search answers will provide the answer to a specific question. The feature looks across publicly available conversations and your conversations to uncover answers to questions such as: Who are the stakeholders of a particular project? What are the goals of a project? Who are the experts on the project? The answer will include citations to specific Slack messages.

Channel recaps: Want to know what has happened on an active channel recently? Channel recaps provide a quick update on unread messages, either from the last seven days or a custom period.

Thread summaries: These provide a summary of a specific conversation, with sources cited.

To these base features Slack has also added recap summaries. Slack presents a summary of what has happened with the channels that the user is following every day. They select which channels they wish to include in the recap, and they are provided with a recap of what happened in those channels in a single digest. Slack AI will initially provide recommendations of which channels to summarise.

Thread summaries have been expanded to conversation summaries, which enable users to catch up on the highlights within accessible channels and threads. Sources for the content are included, allowing the user to locate and read the full source material.

AI drives efficiency and productivity improvements

Communication platforms were seen as a way of diminishing and, in some cases, completely removing the need for email. The intent was to reduce the amount of asynchronous communication by providing a platform that allowed any interested party to view and contribute in real-time.

The challenge for many is that it is not always the place where work happens. Messages stack up and take time to read, reflecting a similar challenge to email. The answer lies in using AI to summarise and help people find the information they need for work. Research by the Workforce Lab has shown that customers have saved on average, 97 minutes each week using Slack AI. Benefits include locating answers to questions, distilling knowledge and as an aid to innovation. What is surprising is that only around 1 in 4 have tried using AI at work, according to the latest research.

Slack revealed how several customers are now leveraging Slack AI. Wayfair has used Slack since 2016. It now uses Slack AI to manage the increase in information. Asad Rahman, Director of Employee Tech Wayfair, commented, “As Wayfair scales globally, we want to find information quickly so people can spend less time catching up and more time delivering. With Slack AI’s compelling features, we’re empowered to do just that.”

Users are able to search for answers faster and Slack AI provides summaries of conversations that they no longer need to spend the time to read through.

Andy Kung, VP of Operations, Beyond Better Foods (image credit- LinkedIn/Andy Kung)
Andy Kung, VP of Operations, Beyond Better Foods

Andy Kung, VP of Operations, Beyond Better Foods explained how Slack AI is saving a significant amount of time for him. He commented, “Slack is crucial for us. The enhanced search capabilities of Slack AI have been really helpful to fast-track answers, especially when it comes to logistics. When I need to get my CEO a fast answer at 2 p.m. on a Friday, I can use Slack AI’s search function. I’ve only been using Slack AI for about a month, but it’s already helped me quickly find answers countless times, and is saving me at least 30 minutes a day.”

Investing in  Slack AI

Slack AI is now available as a paid add-on for all Slack paid-for plans. It costs $10 per user per month for Slack Pro and Business+ plans. Importantly, Slack will continue to develop the platform.

Slack intends to add languages. It will also extend the data sources that the search and summarisation features will access. In the future these features will access files, Slack apps, canvases, and clips to further improve the answers given.

Slack AI will also be able to access information from Slack huddles, the lightweight video and audio call handlers. It will be able to provide key takeaways and action items from every call, acting as a note-taker and ensuring that information from the call is not lost.

Slack will also integrate with Einstein Copilot, a conversational AI assistant for Salesforce CRM. They will be able to bring insights and information from Salesforce CRM.

Slack AI also adheres to the trust framework that Salesforce announced at Dreamforce last year. It will adhere to the same security practices and compliance standards that other Salesforce AI functionality uses. This means that customer data is never used to train AI models, nor will it be accessible or used by the AI solutions used by other customers.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

Salesforce continues to develop AI capabilities across its solutions. Slack AI further empowers its communication solution, bringing even greater efficiency and productivity to customers. If Slack is widely used across an organisation, the cost of $10 each month should easily be offset by the time saving that every user gains each week.

While the time savings are important and justify the expense it is the increase in productivity and innovation that could be more important for most people. Suppose it makes people more efficient at learning what is important. In that case, it should help improve the prioritisation of tasks and even improve the quality of delivery as people have a better chance of having the right information about each project to hand. With AI distilling the knowledge from channels, people will be well-informed and able to perform their jobs better.

The increase in languages supported is also important. It will be interesting to see how quickly Salesforce roll out other languages.


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