By Amad Ebrahimi

Since more than 25% of employees believe email is a major productivity killer, many companies might want to consider switching to a more effective means of communication which employees are able to access from any device and any location they wish.

Slack is changing businesses interactions remotely and within the everyday office setting. Employees can chat about work issues, send photos and links, or jump on phone or video calls, all within this one compact platform. Additionally, Slack has always offered a variety of integrations, such as Google Drive and Dropbox, various CRM apps, HR tools, and more. It has now taken those abilities a step further with the ability for organizations to create custom Slack apps using incoming webhooks which will replace legacy workspace apps.

It’s a great way to centralize the control and flow of a lot of information. For example, with custom apps, a business can automate alerts from other programs and systems that are essential to business functions. (Assuming, of course, they aren’t already available in Slack’s extensive app directory.) Companies can even build custom solutions, such as an onboarding app for new employees to walk them through major steps or generating notifications for teams or individuals who need to review actions or pieces of information.

Slack’s custom apps and webhooks could mean the end of office miscommunications. No more employees who spend their proverbial days in the dark, unaware of what’s going on in the office (virtual or otherwise). No more hold-ups because key pieces of information get lost in a barrage of emails.

So, How Do WebHooks Work?

Incoming webhooks are the simplest way to post a message from an outside app into Slack. You are even able to implement formatting markup and attachments as you would with a normal Slack message. To take advantage of this feature, though, you’ll need to create your very own Slack app (the general term for any integration with Slack).

4 Easy Steps to Get Started

Create a Slack App

Before you can use Webhooks, you’ll need to create a custom app within Slack. If you work with multiple Slack workspaces, you’ll need to make sure that you install the app in the correct workspace. Start by going here and clicking “Create an App.”

Enable WebHooks

All you have to do is go into your app’s settings and select “Activate Incoming Webhooks” to get started.

Create an Incoming WebHook

After activating webhooks, your settings menu will refresh with additional options. Select “Add New Webhook to Workspace. You can build your webhook without any code, which saves time and makes the whole process much easier. Once this is done, you’ll see a URL under “Webhook URLs for Your Workspace.” These URLs are specific to a single user and a single channel, but you can automate the process for distribution using the OAuth install flow for your app.

Post a Message

Your messages can be as simple as a text notification that an action has occurred, but you can also create more complex notifications that request specific actions or approvals, depending on your needs. The process is the same, but you’ll need some extra code to add these additional parameters for messages.

While that’s the basic process for implementing webhooks, there are a couple more steps to the process of making custom apps. Obviously, once you’ve made your app, you’ll need to roll it out and allow users in your Slack workspace to install it. You’ll need to set permission scopes that your app requests before installation. You can send out the link for installation with a Slack button, or use your own OAuth redirect if you prefer, but for both flows this step is mandatory. This installation process will also generate a webhook URL.

How Can You Use This in Your Company?

If you’re not already using Slack, now’s a great time to try it out. Slack allows you to create multiple channels devoted to singular topics, as well as group and private messaging. You can easily control who has access to which channels, pin important bits of information so they’re not lost, and easily search the entire workspace for whatever you need.

There’s plenty of ready-made integrations that can make communication even easier, but if you need something custom to work with your existing software and workflow, Slack’s apps and incoming webhooks are the perfect solution.

Now all that’s left to do is enjoy the benefits of better communication within your company!

Amad Ebrahimi is an entrepreneur, business owner and founder of Merchant Maverick, a highly successful business and financial review site which has helped over 1 million business grow since 2009.

Collaboration stock photo by Rido/Shutterstock