What Is a Slack App? A Guide to Beginners

Content Writer
January 11, 2024

Slack has become one of the most popular communication tools globally over the last decade. With millions of daily users, Slack channels reshaped how organizations collaborate and communicate as a whole.

While its original functionalities cater to various needs, most businesses can’t maximize the platform’s potential without extra help. That’s where Slack apps come in!

In our article, we’ll explain what a Slack app is and how you can bring out the most of it.

Introduction to Slack Apps

Slack apps boost Slack's power, streamlining teamwork. Picture Slack as a vast digital hub for chatting, sharing, and team projects. Now, layer in extra perks like task managers, polls, or connections to your other work tools. Enter Slack apps. They integrate seamlessly, from setting reminders to fetching crucial external data. With a vast selection in the Slack App Directory, matching one to your team's needs is easy. Aiming to smooth out communications, automate the mundane, or just simplify your workday? Chances are, there's a Slack app waiting for you.

What is a Slack app?

Slack apps are additional tools or bots, built by Slack or third-party developers, that enhance the original functionality of Slack. The Slack App Directory features over 2,600 Slack apps, providing solutions for scheduling meetings, video conferencing, and conducting polls.

How to Find and Install Slack Apps

Looking for Slack apps? Start at the Slack App Directory. It's loaded with tools to jazz up your Slack. Search or browse categories to find what you need. Spot something interesting? Click it. Then, look for the green "Add to Slack" button and give it a tap. Next up, Slack wants your okay for permissions. Read over them and click “Allow” if it feels right. Just like that, you’ve spiced up your Slack. Watch out, not every app is free. Some may want your card info later. Be sure of what you’re signing up for. Enjoy your new, improved Slack adventure!

Slack apps can integrate with other solutions like CRMs or file-sharing systems, limiting the need to switch between tools and increasing overall productivity. Slack apps can reduce monotonous tasks, automate workflows, and bring out the most of your Slack channels. 

While you can only integrate a maximum of 10 apps with Slack’s free version, you have no limits for premium plans, enabling you to tailor your digital experience fully.

Understanding the Core Functions of a Slack App

Slack apps boost your Slack game. Picture them as mini sidekicks in your Slack space, connecting you to tools, smoothing out dull chores, and adding spice to your chats. Let's dive in: first up, communication—Slack apps make chatting, channel making, or starting calls a breeze. They simplify sharing to the max. Then, integration—fancy tools elsewhere? Pull them into Slack with these apps. From calendar management, project tracking, to email sorting, they centralize your essentials. Moving to automation, kiss monotonous tasks goodbye. Slack apps deal with reminders, polls, or task organization, freeing you to eye the big picture. Customization is key, too. Adapt Slack apps to match your flow just right. In essence, Slack apps are your secret sauce for a smarter, more cohesive, and custom-fit Slack experience.

Benefits of Slack apps

Bringing apps into your Slack space turns a good chat tool into a productivity giant. Here's the scoop: Slack is more than chat now. Add apps, and your workspace wakes up, streamlining tasks and cutting down on app-switching. First, app integration automates the dull stuff. Picture getting meeting alerts in Slack, or auto-sharing customer feedback in a chat. It saves time and everyone's in the know. Then, there's teamwork. With Trello or Asana in Slack, updating projects or sharing tasks is a breeze—no leaving Slack. Finally, apps mean customization. Need scheduling, sharing, or smart insights? There's an app for that. With these, Slack grows from chat to work hub.

Now that you understand what a Slack app is, you might be wondering how to use it effectively. 

There are a variety of benefits associated with Slack apps that you and your team should explore.

Types of Slack Apps: Bots, Plugins, and Custom Integrations

Slack apps boost your work game, making things slick, efficient, and way less boring. Let's dive into the main flavors: bots, plugins, and custom integrations. Bots are your virtual sidekicks in Slack. They tackle chores, ping you with reminders, and are on standby to reply to your queries. Imagine having a teammate who's always on the clock. Next up, plugins. These are add-ons that ramp up Slack's game. From neat tools for keeping tasks in line to advanced analytics gadgets, there's a lot they bring to the table. Finally, we've got custom integrations. These are bespoke fixes tailor-made for your team's unique needs. They can link Slack with other apps you're using or unlock special features you can't get elsewhere. From making chats smoother, managing projects better, to automating the monotonous bits, understanding these options can steer you towards the ideal pick for your crew.

Empower your team to work remotely 

The level of flexibility in today's workforce would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. With over 40% of full-time employees engaged in some form of alternative work arrangement, businesses are now facing new challenges and demands in managing their staff.

Organizations often deal with employees working on flexible schedules, in hybrid environments, or across different time zones. Slack apps can be instrumental in navigating this complexity. They assist in organizing daily stand-ups, scheduling video calls, and promoting team bonding with timely prompts.

Boost your productivity

A Harvard Business Review research found that employees switch between apps and windows up to 1,200 times a day, resulting in significant time lost as they continually readjust to different tools.

Integrating Slack apps into your workspace can save crucial time, reduce distractions, and create a centralized hub for best practices and knowledge sharing. Slack apps combine the benefits of third-party app functionalities, eliminating the need to switch between numerous windows.

Popular Slack Apps to Enhance Team Productivity

Boosting team productivity? Look no further than Slack apps. They're the cool, efficient tools weaving seamlessly into Slack. Dive into the popular picks that teams adore.

Trello in Slack? It’s where chats morph into tasks. Add Trello cards to boards right from your Slack chat. No pause needed.

Asana transforms Slack messages into actionable tasks. Spot a project update that demands attention? Whip up an Asana task directly from Slack.

Google Drive makes file sharing effortless. Share documents without ever leaving Slack. Say goodbye to endless tab switching.

Simple Poll offers instant feedback. Whip up polls in a blink, making decision-making both quick and enjoyable.

And there’s Zoom for immediate video calls. Perfect for swift updates or full-on team meetings, all from Slack.

Integrating these apps makes your Slack workspace a powerhouse of efficiency, smoothing out communication and stepping up productivity. Try them out. Feel the difference.

Build morale

While remote working generally increases employee satisfaction, studies show that keeping up with company culture can be challenging. A study conducted in 2021 found that 29% of employees believe that team spirit suffers in remote work environments.

Many Slack apps are specifically designed to celebrate high-achieving team members, foster connections among employees, and acknowledge significant events like work anniversaries or birthdays. 

These apps play a pivotal role in cultivating a true sense of community within your workforce. Since social interactions are an essential component of any business, Slack apps can effectively integrate this aspect into your teams’ daily routines.

Use cases of Slack apps

  • Document collaboration: If you work for an organization, chances are you often have to collaborate on a variety of documents with your teams. Projects seem to pop up every day, from budget Excel sheets to PowerPoint presentations and Word proposals. Slack apps can integrate with popular file-sharing platforms like Google Docs or Microsoft OneDrive, streamlining collaboration straight from Slack.

  • Team brainstorming and team building: Working with large teams across multiple time zones can be challenging. With the help of Slack apps, you can integrate polls, use whiteboards, or even organize virtual team-building activities. Browse through the extensive Slack app directory to find some fun solutions to fit your team’s needs.

Access your CRM straight from Slack: Streamline CRM access via Slack: For teams frequently managing customers or marketing campaigns, toggling between CRM systems is frustrating and time-consuming. Top CRM integration apps for Slack let you create tasks and share contact records directly within Slack, enhancing efficiency.

Security and Privacy: What You Need to Know About Slack Apps

In Slack, keep security and privacy in the spotlight, not tucked away. Here’s why: Apps boost productivity but beware, they carry risks. Each app added asks for permissions. Could be reading messages, accessing files, or acting for you. Pause before adding. Review those permissions. Do they align with the app’s purpose? A scheduling app eyeing your messages? Red flag.

Knowing the creator of the app is crucial. Slack's App Directory boasts a global range of developer-made apps. Trust is key, but verify the maker's reputation. Look for a clear privacy policy in reliable apps, detailing data use and protection.

Always monitor your added apps. As your team evolves, an app essential last year may not be today. Continually check your workspace apps, deleting the unused ones. This keeps your Slack space secure and your data confidential.

Keep in mind, navigating the realm of Slack apps, it's not just wise to stay ahead on security and privacy—it's vital.

Managing Slack Apps: Tips for Administrators

Handling Slack apps as an admin is key for a smooth, safe workspace. Here's the straight talk on mastering it. First off, do a regular check-up and clean-out of installed apps. Not all apps have an eternal shelf life. Ditch the unused ones. Next, be smart with permissions. Not every team member needs the keys to the app kingdom. Restrain this privilege to avoid chaos. Make sure your team knows the approved apps and the reasons behind them. It keeps unwelcome app guests out. Lastly, stay alert to app updates and security alerts. An outdated app is an invitation for trouble. Stick to these fundamentals, and Slack app management won't be a pain.

Developing Your Own Slack App: A Beginner's Guide

Developing your own Slack app might sound daunting, but it's quite straight-up with the right steps. First, have your big idea. What problem do you want to solve? Focus on creating something that adds real value. Then, visit the Slack API website. Here, you'll find all the resources you need. You'll start by creating a new Slack app in your workspace. Don't rush; take your time to understand the options available.

Moving on to coding. No need to be a programming wizard, but a little coding know-how is beneficial. Slack plays nice with multiple languages, so choose one that feels right. Dive into using Slack's Block Kit for crafting your app's interface. Think of it as using building blocks, straightforward and user-friendly.

Testing your app? It's key. Slack's got a sandbox for you to play in—test all you want, no fears of breaking stuff. Ensure your app works just as planned, smoothly, no snags.

Finally, submit your app to the Slack App Directory. This step is optional but think about it. If you believe your app can benefit more teams, go for it. Remember, feedback is gold. Listen to users and tweak your app to make it better.

Crafting a Slack app? Focus on a clear objective, tap into Slack's toolkit effectively, code with savvy, test rigorously, and think about unveiling your creation globally.

How to bring out the most of your Slack workspace with Thena

Adding Slack apps to your workspace can really boost your work productivity. From shaving off time on repetitive tasks to boosting employee morale, Slack apps can help you do more and faster. And with our tool, Thena, your Slack workspace can become a true customer communication powerhouse.

Thena is an intelligent solution nestled within Slack, allowing your team to access its wide range of functionality with a click of a button. It includes an online ticketing system that automatically detects customer or help desk requests in Slack channels, helping your team handle them quickly and effectively.

Once requests are flagged, users can utilize our AI-driven automation processes, auto-assigning tickets to specific agents and even sending AI-powered instant messages to customers, making sure your service is perfect every time.

Our award-winning tool also features a range of pre-built marketing and sales templates to create unique content, including newsletters and product announcements. Combined with Slack’s platform, Thena can elevate organizational collaboration to the next level.

‍Truly efficient digital tools like Thena can reshape your workspace and create a real competitive advantage with only a few clicks. Add Thena to your Slack workspace to give it a try today.

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