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Slack launches new Workflow Builder to help better automate your tasks

Aimed at users with little or no coding experience, the new version of Workflow Builder tries to connect different tools to automate your workflows.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor
Slack's new Workflow Builder

Working professionals who have to juggle an array of tools and technologies can bump into challenges trying to coordinate and manage them all. With that challenge in mind, Slack has rolled out a new version of its Workflow Builder that uses automation to tie different tools together. Highlighted by Slack in a Wednesday blog post, the new Workflow Builder is geared toward non-technical people who need to create and customize workflows.

The first goal of Workflow Builder is to cut down on the problems that work teams encounter when using disparate tools. On average, workers use up to 52 different tools each week to accomplish their tasks, according to a Forrester survey cited by Slack. Beyond the time and effort of switching from one tool to another, teams run into obstacles when employees use different tools for different purposes.

Also: Brace yourself for Slack's biggest ever redesign

Built into Workflow Builder is an automation toolbox to help you create workflows that automate tasks across different tools and systems. Here's one example offered by Slack: Say you're starting a new project at work and need to determine the tools to use, the people to involve, and the work pace you want to set. Using Workflow Builder, you can create a new project channel for your team, invite the right people to it, start a new project in Asana to track your tasks, and schedule a Zoom call for the initial meeting.

Through your new workflow, you're able to avoid jumping from one tool to another. After the workflow is established, other people at your company can use it to avoid duplicating the same efforts.

Another goal behind the new Workflow Builder is to help people better learn new processes. Toward that end, you can add a link to a workflow about a new process and share it via Slack, and you're able to do this a few different ways. You might embed the link in a canvas so that people can read about the process and then see it in action. You could add the link as a bookmark in a channel where people can discover it. And you can send the link in a Slack message to direct people to the new process.

Next, the new Workflow Builder can house functions for custom apps. Through Slack's next generation developer platform, developers can build custom apps to automate manual processes. The custom apps built via Slack's developer platform can be extended to Workflow Builder so that other employees can use their functions in their own workflows. A single custom function can generate an unlimited number of automations to reduce overall development costs.

Also: One in four workers fears being considered 'lazy' if they use AI tools

The new Workflow Builder is currently available to organizations using Slack Pro or Business+ and will be accessible in the coming weeks to those using Slack Enterprise Grid. Developers on any paid Slack plan will be able to use the next-generation platform and create as many workflows and custom apps as needed. However, workflows with custom functions or one or more connector steps will be charged a usage-based fee if you go beyond the monthly quota of workflow runs included in your plan.

Finally, Slack is making its new Workflow Builder available at no cost until October 31 so that companies and developers have enough time to check out the new features like custom functions and connectors. All of your existing workflows from the legacy Workflow Builder will remain free, while most should be able to automatically migrate to the new version, according to Slack.

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