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Transforming Collaboration: How Slack AI is Shaping the Future of Work

Jackie Rocca, Vice President of Product at Slack, discusses how Slack's innovative AI features revolutionize workplace productivity and collaboration.

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Minu Sirsalewala
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In an era where artificial intelligence is rapidly transforming the business landscape, Slack stands at the forefront of integrating these advancements into everyday work tools. Jackie Rocca, the Vice President of Product at Slack, shares her insights with Dataquest's Executive Editor, Minu Sirsalewala, on how Slack AI is not just enhancing efficiency but also reimagining the way teams collaborate.

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From the introduction of the Recap feature to the strategic partnership with Salesforce’s Einstein Copilot, Rocca reveals the pivotal role of AI in Slack’s development roadmap and how it is set to become the command center for work. In this exclusive interview, discover the vision behind Slack's AI-driven innovations and the future of AI in the workplace.

Slack AI's Recap feature is a notable addition. Could you explain how it enhances productivity within Slack's ecosystem by distilling key information from conversations in accessible channels and thread summaries?



The recaps feature provides a daily summary of the conversations you want to stay informed on, but don’t need to check in real-time. Every channel isn’t equally important, so this helps free up time for users to focus on their priorities, reduce information overload, and stay in the know without having to go too deep. This is ideal for staying on top of company news, monitoring customer activity, and tracking projects that don’t require immediate attention. Once a user adds a channel to their recap, each morning, they'll receive a daily digest of anything they might have missed. To keep their sidebar tidy, they can mute recapped channels. After a user reads their daily recap, Slack AI will provide an estimate of how much time they’ve saved.

For example, we saw a sales leader use recaps to stay on top of their team’s top customer accounts on a daily basis without having to read every message as it came in. This helped them stay on top of what’s happening with these customers, but do it in a much more efficient and focused way.

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The integration of AI with Einstein Copilot is intriguing. How does this partnership enhance decision-making within Slack for collaborative environments, and what unique advantages does it offer users?

This integration will be a major step forward in making Slack the front door to customers’ Salesforce data. We’re at the very early stages of building this integration, so we’ll have more details to share soon about its availability.

We know that companies are increasingly turning to generative AI to augment employee productivity and boost results. We believe that by integrating Einstein Copilot - the conversational AI for your CRM - into Slack, the AI-powered platform for work, we will be providing our customers with trusted generative AI assistants so they can talk to Salesforce data as easily as they talk to their teams.

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As AI becomes increasingly prevalent in workplace tools, what sets Slack AI apart in terms of leveraging AI for productivity and collaboration, and how does it anticipate staying ahead in this rapidly evolving landscape?

Slack AI is a trusted, intuitive generative AI experience that uses a company’s conversational data to help users work faster and smarter. And we released summarization and search capabilities first because we believe those will help customers get the most immediate value from all of that conversational data (4.7 billion messages are sent per week).

The early results are very positive: Customers are already saving an average of 97 minutes per user each week using Slack AI to find answers, distill knowledge, and spark ideas, according to an internal analysis.

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Ultimately, we're really focused on looking at ways that AI can be used to address the top user pain points that people have been facing in the workplace for years. We know that finding and consuming information efficiently is a major challenge. Plus, we have more tools and ways of exchanging ideas than ever before. All of this adds to our cognitive load and makes it feel difficult to stay on top of the workday. We’ve designed Slack AI so that it’s a secure, trustworthy, and intuitive experience that requires no training to enjoy its benefits.

We’re also developing Slack AI's search and summarisation capabilities to tap into new data sources — like files, third-party apps, canvases, and clips — to enhance the breadth and depth of context that Slack AI can access. This includes the ability for Slack AI to deliver a summary of key takeaways and action items from huddles, and a future integration with Salesforce’s Einstein Copilot so users can bring CRM insights directly into Slack.

Looking ahead, how do you envision copilots reshaping the way we interact with technology, both within and outside of the workplace, and what implications does this have for Slack's development roadmap?

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Our vision is that Slack, powered by AI, will be the command center for work. To make that happen, Slack needs to also be the best place for users to engage with assistants and their other AI tools. This includes both a best-in-class Einstein Copilot experience in Slack, as well as providing teams with the flexibility to integrate a diverse mix of third party AI apps seamlessly into Slack via our open, extensible platform.

With AI integration in Slack's partner ecosystem, how do these AI-powered integrations enhance the overall Slack experience for users, and what considerations are taken to ensure user-centricity and alignment with diverse needs and preferences?

In addition to using Slack AI, our extensible ecosystem provides the flexibility for users to integrate and automate their diverse mix of tools and LLMs into Slack, allowing them to decide for themselves how to bring AI into their workspaces. Users can do that through our Slack App Directory, which provides out-of-the-box AI apps built by partners like Anthropic, Perplexity, Box, Notion, and more. They can also custom code their own AI-powered apps using our open APIs and development tools. In fact, Slack customers have built more than 13,400 custom internal Slack apps that use the power of AI.

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Slack is all about choice, so we ultimately expect many customers to choose a mix of both Slack AI and AI-powered apps. In summary:

● Slack AI helps you get more value out of your collective knowledge in Slack.

● AI-powered integrations help you get more out of your AI tools by bringing them to where your teams spend their day-to-day.

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Given the rapid pace of innovation, how do you see the role of AI evolving within the workplace over the next few years, and what steps can organizations take to leverage these advancements for competitive advantage while ensuring user empowerment?

There’s a lot of hype and inflated expectations around what AI can‌ do for us today. So rather than adopting a broad technology-first approach and asking, "What can we do with AI," I encourage businesses of all sizes to work backward to hone in on your core user problems first. How can you apply this technology in a way that directly addresses the pain points that your employees have? And how can you do so in a safe and secure way that provides immediate value? 

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