Managing Slack at scale: Announcement channels and new APIs for admins

Helpful new tools to limit posting permissions, streamline workspace creation and further customize Slack for your organization—no matter the size

Introducing announcement channels and admin APIs

Slack admins are masters at the art of multitasking. They configure Slack for their organizations in precisely the right way, ensuring that the right people have access and all company policies are met. All the while, it’s an admin’s role to help employees unlock productivity through channels and apps.

At large organizations these tasks can get complex, quickly. Routine workflows that take just a few clicks—such as creating a new workspace or granting guest access—become repetitive and time-consuming. Meanwhile, when channels include thousands of employees, it’s difficult to separate the signal from the noise.

We believe that this should be easier, and today we’re introducing a couple of new features to make work less noisy and more streamlined:

  1. Announcement channels, a new way to limit posting permissions
  2. A suite of admin APIs to automate workspace creation and setup

Together, these updates make work simpler and smoother for admins at large organizations (and small ones too).

Keep employees in the know with announcement channels

We’ve long encouraged teams to send announcements in channels, where your employees are already working. To broadcast news clearly and without distraction, admins have always been able to limit posting permissions in the default #general channel. Now, for teams on our Plus or Enterprise Grid plans, we’re allowing users to set posting permissions for any channel.

Announcement channels are a new way to limit posting permissions in Slack

 

Granular control over who can post in a channel keeps surrounding chatter to a minimum, leaving the space clear for the most important updates. That means functional channels like #announcements-it, regional channels like #announcements-usa and even companywide channels like #announcements-global can become the single source of truth for relevant news and notes.

Unlike email, emoji reactions on messages provide instant insights into how people feel about announcements. And with the option to allow threaded replies, there’s a dedicated space for focused follow-up conversations that doesn’t add noise to the channel.

Admin tip: As an admin, you can also limit who can change channel posting permissions from Everyone to Admins and Owners only.

Improving announcement visibility at Okta

The backstory: The IT leads at Okta, an identity management service for software, created the #all-it-updates channel to share companywide updates on new tools, trainings and outages with its nearly 2,000 employees.

The problem: Employees began misusing #all-it-updates for IT troubleshooting, leading many people to mute or leave the channel.

The solution: After relaunching the channel as #all-it-announcements, and by granting posting permissions to only IT admins, the channel now remains focused on critical information and is more useful for the thousand-plus channel members.

Automate arduous admin workflows with new APIs

Growth at an organization shouldn’t mean more tedious work for IT admins. Soon, we’ll be releasing new APIs that help enterprise admins streamline and automate common workflows for managing Slack at scale.

These new APIs allow admins to:

  1. Create new workspaces and assign a name, domain and description
  2. Centrally manage and automate app approval requests across all workspaces in an organization
  3. Assign members to workspaces and delegate admin permissions without joining each individual workspace
  4. Invite new guest accounts to specific channels (including private ones), set a guest expiration date and customize a welcome message
  5. Automatically trigger the events above based on information collected via web forms

All these APIs work toward templated workspace creation and setup. In the future, admins can script the creation of new workspaces that will automatically be configured with their desired settings, content, apps and more.

Streamlining workspace creation at Oregon State University

The backstory: For professors and students at the Oregon State University College of Engineering (OSU COE), collaboration outside of the classroom takes place in Slack. And to ensure that all their work and conversations are easy to find, professors often request a dedicated workspace for each of their classes. 

The problem: Manually creating these workspaces one by one leads to a backlog of work for OSU COE’s admin team, which can delay professors from getting their workspaces set up.

The solution: Using the new admin APIs, individual workspaces will be created instantly when a professor submits a request form. The admin team will also use the APIs to designate professors and their teaching assistants as workspace admins, all without the core IT team having to join each workspace.

Manage apps across your workspaces

We’re giving Enterprise Grid admins control over how apps are approved and managed across all the workspaces within their organizations.

Admins can now define criteria that can be used to automate app approvals and rejections across all workspaces in an Enterprise Grid organization. For example:

  • Does your organization exclusively use Box for file storage? If so, admins can now whitelist the Box app so there’s no need to manually approve it for each workspace.
  • Is your organization not concerned about apps that don’t read any data from Slack? Give your employees the freedom to use apps that only post data (and don’t read anything) by automatically approving apps with scopes that you consider safe to use.

Plus, admins can build rules based on information already stored in third-party or internal databases. An admin can connect the API to the organization’s own procurement database and set a rule to automatically approve requests for vendors with contracts actively in place. Requests to install apps that aren’t already approved can be forwarded into a ticketing system such as ServiceNow for your IT or security teams to review.

Each of these updates make it easier for admins to deploy and manage Slack—at the scale of their organization today and the size it will grow into in the years to come. To make sure that your team can take advantage of all these improvements, visit our Help Center for instructions on creating announcement channels and api.slack.com for guides to our APIs.

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The following information is intended for INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY, and not as a binding commitment. Please do not rely on this information in making your purchasing decisions. The development, release and timing of any products, features or functionality remain at the sole discretion of Slack, and are subject to change.

Slack is the collaboration hub, where the right people are always in the loop and key information is always at their fingertips. Teamwork in Slack happens in channels — searchable conversations that keep work organized and teams better connected.