Slack is going to allow users to send direct messages to anyone on the service, even outside their own organization. The company is expanding the capabilities of Slack Connect, a tool it introduced last year that lets different companies communicate with each other more easily.
Before, it was possible to create channels that feature multiple companies, but now you'll just be able to message anyone who uses Slack in private chats, even if they're not in your team. The feature is available to teams with paid Slack subscriptions today, but it will also be available on free plans soon. The goal, just like before, is for Slack to replace email, providing more agile communication both within an organization and between different ones.
Cross-organization communication is also being improved with new apps like Calendly, which lets you more easily schedule events with people outside your organization. There are also new apps for DocuSign and Crossbeam, all of which are available today.
To reinforce security in cross-organization communications, Slack has also announced that it's working on more ways to detect potential malware and phishing attacks on the service, evolving its current protections, and those enhancements will be available this spring.
In the summer, Slack is also planning to add new policy options that allow administrators to manage Slack Connect settings, such as allowing or blocking partner organizations from inviting new members or installing apps. There's going to be a Slack Connect API as well, which is meant to help administrators manage organizations at scale.
Finally, toward the end of the year, Slack is going to allow users to create private business networks spanning multiple organizations. These will enable things like unified directories, direct messaging, shared apps, and so on within that network.