A new feature called Shared Channels will allow users to work with external vendors, outside partners, third-party providers and more in Slack, the company announced in a blog post on Tuesday.

According to the post, Shared Channels are “a space where you can work with anyone in Slack,” and a way to extend its features and capabilities to other projects not fully confined within an organization. In the common space created by Shared Channels, two organizations can utilize platform integrations and other features to get work done, the post said.

One example shared in the post was of a fashion company that uses Shared Channels with its logistics provider in order to improve its returns process. Andre Julian, manager of operations at the logistics provider, Happy Returns, said in the post that the two firms have been able “to solve customer issues a lot faster.”

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Shared Channels can be public or private, the post said. Also, within a Shared Channel, either organization can post messages, send direct messages, upload files, or use some of Slack’s voice calling and video calling features, the post said.

Users are able to access Shared Channels from their existing workspace, so they will not need to log into a separate Slack account to access the feature. Shared Channels support platform apps as well, such as Dropbox, Zoom, and Harvest.

Accounts with Shared Channels access will have a new sub header of the same name in their Slack sidebar. There will also be a double diamond symbol that denotes a Shared Channels, and users from the outside organization will have their company logo next to their name, the post said.

Clicking on an outside user will show their full name, timezone, shared channels, and potentially their email address as well, depending on settings.

Slack users with Standard and Plus plans have access to Shared Channels, which is currently in beta. Admins can opt their team into the feature through the Team Menu, the post said.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

  1. Slack’s Shared Channels feature lets users work with an outside organization from their existing Slack workspace.
  2. Shared Channels will have access to all of the Slack features and integrations, including platform apps like Dropbox and Zoom.
  3. Shared Channels is in beta, and admins can opt their team in through the Team Menu in settings.