if only work flowed the way this stream does
Slack continues to add functionality that will win more fans in the enterprise PHOTO: Nathan Anderson

Slack introduced a new feature this week that will add to its appeal as an enterprise workplace tool. 

The new message menus bring more intricate and nuanced workflows to third-party apps in Slack, offering access to new functionality through those menus.

According to a blog post from the San Francisco-based company, 16 partners now offer these menus in Slack including Front, MailClark, OpsGenie and Workato. 

With the new menus, users can choose items from a multiple choice drop down menu auto-populated with information from the integration in question. After making the choice — for example picking a specific survey you are working on in Survey Monkey — you can share the survey with another team member for collaboration, directly from that window.

Communicating Better With Slack

In terms of managing documents or workflows, the addition of Front and MailClark will be particularly useful.

Front is a San Francisco-based company that brings together team’s external communications — email, social, SMS, messaging and voice — into one shared inbox.

MailClark is a service of Clubble, itself a spin-off from the Novius agency, which allows users to send and receive emails, tweets, Twitter DMs and Facebook messages without leaving Slack.

Front claims that on average, teams using Front can reply 2.3 times faster to incoming messages and can reach inbox zero every day. The creators of MailClark use the new message menus to guide users through the process of creating unified inboxes in Slack channels.

Two impressive claims given the problems most workers have managing their inbox, a problem other vendors are looking to solve as well.

Microsoft is currently rolling out its Focused Inbox in preview for Outlook users, while Google is said to have re-invented Gmail with the release of its Inbox two years ago. 

What Front and MailClark have going for them is the Slack integration. Both provide access to communications in one place and both allow users to take action without needing to leave their Slack team. 

Dropbox Adds Mobile Doc Capture

San Francisco-based Dropbox is the latest file sync and share vendor to add mobile document scanning to its portfolio with the announcement this week of its upgraded iOS capture capabilities and introduction of capture for Android apps.

With the amount of work that is done while mobile now, it is near-mandatory for any vendor operating in the productivity and document space to offer mobile scanning.

Dropbox, which has been generally regarded as a consumer-grade file sync and sharing app, has been steadily adding functionality to its Dropbox Business service in an effort to capture more of the lucrative enterprise base. 

Dropbox product manager Alexander Embiricos explained in a blog post,

“Our Dropbox mobile app for Android has a new feature that makes it easy. The doc scanner — one of the most popular features on our iOS app — now allows you to scan printed or handwritten docs right from your phone …. In addition to these standard features, Dropbox Business teams have the added benefit of searching for keywords inside their scans,” he wrote.

Dropbox is also providing offline support to its Paper collaborative document creation app. This means that users without an internet connection can continue to create new docs, or access, edit and comment on recent docs, which will be saved to the system once back online.

New scanning capabilities also offer Optical Character Recognition, which extracts text from doc-scanned images so that it can be searched later. It can also create a hidden overlay so text can be copied and pasted from any scan saved as a PDF.

While many other vendors already offer offline doc creation capabilities, the additions show Dropbox pushing itself deeper into the enterprise space.

Kofax Adds to First Mile Capabilities

Meanwhile, Irvine, Calif.-based Kofax has also been adding to its collection of First Mile applications with the addition of ReadSoft OnlineTM R9, a cloud-based capture and invoice processing solution.

The First Mile describes those first information-intensive interactions customers have with an organization. They usually include loan applications, claims submissions and new account openings, and the challenge of interacting with a business via multiple devices and methods of communication.

According to a statement from Kofax, ReadSoft Online automates the accounts payable process by capturing invoices, extracting invoice data and exporting verified data to enterprise resource planning, accounting and other applications.

The new capture app has been built on Microsoft Azure and comes with an HTML5 interface which allows for easy customization.

Kofax, you may recall, was acquired by Lexmark in 2015 and already offers end-to-end digital transaction management for the First Mile.

While capture and invoice processing don’t generate the same excitement as Slack, capture is the first step of digitizing data and enabling enterprises initiative digital transformation strategies. Without this part of the First Mile covered, forget about the rest of your digital transformation.

MediaValet - SharePoint Integration

Finally this week, Vancouver, British Columbia-based MediaValet has just announced an integration between its digital asset management system (DAM) and SharePoint.

MediaValet is a SaaS DAM built to leverage the scalability and global network of data centers that Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud platform offers and is geared towards companies of all sizes.

The integration allows users of both systems to view images, videos and audio files in SharePoint, add high resolution, large format, rich media, 2-D and 3-D files to SharePoint and share files in whatever format is needed.

MediaValet also recently released a 3-D AutoCAD viewer, which will also be available to SharePoint users.