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Gone are the days of batch data processing. Modern enterprises have started racing into the real-time era with tools and technologies that collect streaming data – information on business events as they happen – and derive insights from it.

The goal of the upgrade is pretty obvious: faster decision-making. However, according to Slack’s senior vice president of platform, Steve Wood, this shift can go sideways if enterprises fail to empower their human resources to use real-time data from their systems at the same time. 

“We are seeing a huge proliferation of data, and all this data is changing all the time,” Wood said during a session at VentureBeat’s Transform 2022 conference. “These changes often need people to be very aware of them for decision-making.” If not, there would be endless information flowing in from different directions (tools) but no way to act on it. This can directly affect work productivity as well as business outcomes for enterprises.

Luckily, Slack is already on the problem.


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Slack engagement layer

Wood emphasized that the Salesforce-owned platform, which started out as a solution for business communication, has now evolved into an “engagement layer.” It provides capabilities to rally all real-time events, marshal and bring them together, and then builds automation to help individual teams stay on task, coordinate and be more productive.

“We came to that realization ourselves since we were already hanging out, talking and working in Slack. Yes, there was messaging and video, but there was a lot in between to help with … So, we built a bunch of tools to help our customers in this middle-ground space,” he said. 

As part of this, the company also rewrote the platform to make sure that apps are composable and reusable according to user needs.


By using Slack as an engagement layer, a number of enterprises have already seen a transformation in how they work and get things done.

HSBC Bank, for one, was able to get a better understanding of all the changes that were happening and build 220 new customer journeys (such as credit card onboarding) in a year, up from seven. Similarly, IBM has seen a 33% improvement in employee productivity by developing automated workflows to detect new joiners and help onboard them inside of Slack.

“We’ve also seen the same with Intuit and QuickBooks. They’ve built a bot that helps answer questions for agents who are helping customers,” Wood said. “What I love is the fact that they resolve incidents more quickly, saving 9,000 hours annually, as well as increase employees’ confidence.”

Ultimately, the Slack executive believes that teams should adopt the automation capabilities – from workflows to the tools already existing in the platform’s app directory – by starting slow and building gradually. Over time, he said, opportunities and capabilities to automate will begin to appear.

“Slack has also built a bunch of admin controls to make sure that your data doesn’t go out and you’ve got the right policies in place. So lean into those tools,” he added.

Watch the entire discussion on how Slack’s reimagined platform helps businesses bring systems and human events together to empower more meaningful work and transformational outcomes. 

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