By Heather Clancy
June 21, 2016

More than 3 million people use Slack’s workplace chat app daily—many of them for 10-hour stretches on any given workday. Now the business software company has created another reason for users to stay logged in.

The enticement? New “message buttons” that let users act on notifications from a dozen other cloud software applications and services without having to leave the Slack app. Users can, for example, quickly detour from sending messages to colleagues to approve expense reports, sign off on new job postings, and create to-do lists for fellow team members.

A manager using one of the supported services like Trello’s project tracking system can alert team members about a project’s progress, let them change due dates, and add names of employees responsible for certain tasks—all without switching to the Trello app to make the updates.

Other services that can be controlled with Slack message buttons include Kayak travel, the Abacus expense management system, the Greenhouse recruiting app, and the Qualtrics online survey tool. “We generally try to launch with a few good examples of apps that look good,” said Slack senior product manager Buster Benson. “There is another wave building,” hinting that more outside services will offer Slack “buttons” in the near future.

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Slack’s app already integrates with more than 500 other applications and services, part of the company’s master plan to turn its platform into a hub for business processes and communications. It will be up to individual software developer to decide whether or not to incorporate the message buttons.

As of late May, the company had more than 930,000 paid users for its service. The company was created in 2009 by Stewart Butterfield, the co-founder of image-sharing site Flicker. Its latest funding round, disclosed in April, gave it a valuation of $3.8 billion.

Slack faces plenty of competition in business messaging services, including Yammer, acquired by Microsoft, and Atlassian’s HipChat.

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