Slack debuts Slack Connect for improved collaboration between businesses

Connect will let organizations collaborate on a shared channel across boundaries.

Slack on Wednesday announced a new product called Connect that lets organizations collaborate on a shared channel across boundaries. Similar to Slack's Shared Channels feature, Connect is a secure environment that lets businesses bring up to 20 organizations into a shared space for improved real-time collaboration.

In addition to expanding the number of organizations that can be part of a shared channel, Connect also bolsters security for organizations on both sides. All of Slack's enterprise security features and compliance standards will extend to Slack Connect, including DLP, retention, e-discovery, and Enterprise Key Management via Amazon Web Services. 

On retention specifically, Slack said that Connect will adhere to individual retention policies if they differ between organizations.

Beyond basic communication, Slack said Connect will eventually serve as a platform for sharing enterprise applications between organizations.

"Over time one of the biggest ramifications [of Connect] will be having a medium for enterprise software to run across organizational boundaries," said Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield, in a press briefing. 

Slack said Connect will also streamline cumbersome tasks like scheduling meetings. With upcoming Outlook and Google Calendar integrations, Slack Connect will scan everyone's calendars, including those from different calendaring apps and organizations, and suggest available meeting slots.

"More than four years in the making and developed with customers, Slack Connect is a secure communications environment that lets you move all the conversations with your external partners, clients, vendors and others into Slack, replacing email and taking business collaboration to the next level," the company wrote in a blog post. "Starting today, up to 20 organizations can come together in a single Slack channel, enabling customers to bring even more of their external ecosystem into Slack—such as their entire supply chain, corporate subsidiaries or industry peers." 

Slack said Connect is available for all paid plans. Slack Enterprise Key Management will be available for Slack Connect later this summer, the company said.