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Slack VS Microsoft Teams – Which One Drives Business Productivity Best?

“I was looking at Slack for a group chat application, but now Microsoft has come out with Teams, which one is best?”

That was my friend James’ question when he walked into my office.

Maybe that’s your question too. Read on and find out what I told James.

Slack VS Microsoft Teams – Which One Drives Business Productivity Best?

It was about 3:30 in the afternoon when a buddy of mine walked into my office here at Intivix. He’s one of those guys that you’re always glad to see – a smile seems to follow him wherever he goes. James – that’s his name – runs a non-profit that has branch offices in 23 states and four other countries.

His question that day?

“I was looking at Slack for a group chat application, but now Microsoft has come out with Teams, which one is best?”

Well, he’s not the only business leader that’s asking the Slack VS. Microsoft teams question these days.

Especially since Microsoft’s release of a free tier of Teams in 2018 that can handle up to 300 people. The free tier was one of the advantages that Slack had going for it, but now… Well, now Slack is getting a little nervous, I think.

Why is James (and other CEOs across the globe) considering the Teams or Slack question?

Communications and efficiency applications are the future of work. Group chat applications like Slack and Teams allow the employees of a company to communicate via chat, voice, or video at the touch of a button. Maybe more important is that both applications give more organization and transparency to the workflow.

In James’ case, his non-profit has so many different projects being worked on by employees in so many different locations that an application was needed to pull all of the communications and information together and keep it organized.

While Microsoft was a little slow to step up to the plate in putting together an application of their own, when they did come out with Teams to complete with Slack, it was something that they had invested in and thought through. As a result, Teams is a viable alternative to Slack, and many companies are considering their options.

What does Slack Offer?

Slack advertises the following features as the application’s highlights.

  • Organized Conversations
  • Searchable History
  • Hardware Agnostic
  • Connected Tools and Services (integrations)
  • Collaboration with People Outside the Organization
  • Video Conferencing and Screen Sharing
  • Integrated File Sharing
  • 1500 Integrated Apps
  • API Integration
  • Data Security – SOC 2 Type II, ISO 27001, and HIPAA compliance

What Features Do Microsoft Teams Emphasize as Selling Points?

Microsoft groups the features of its Teams application into four categories: Meetings, Calling, Devices, and Apps.

Meetings

  • Video, Audio, Conferencing
  • Live Broadcasts – up to 10,000 attendees
  • Meeting Spaces for specific projects and conversations
  • Cloud Video Interoperability
  • Audio Conferencing – local dial-in numbers in more than 400 cities globally

Calling           

  • Complete phone solutions within Office 365
  • Direct routing with choice of service providers
  • Calling plan for employees based on their calling needs
  • Call reporting and monitoring

Devices

  • USB and Bluetooth certified accessories available for purchase
  • Desk and conference phones available for purchase
  • Full functionality on Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS
  • Meeting room systems available for purchase
  • Partnered with Logitech, Crestron, Polycom, Lenovo, and HP for hardware availability

Applications

  • Complete integration and interwoven with Office 365 applications
  • An entire ecosystem of 3rd party applications, bots, and plugins
  • API integrations

What Did I Tell James About Choosing Slack or Microsoft Teams?

Now that I’ve taken the time to talk with you about how both Slack and Teams promote their features in the marketplace, let me provide you with a few personal observations that I shared with James.

  1. Office 365 Native Integration

When talking the subject over with James, Office 365 was the determining factor. Several years ago, he had deployed Office 365 across his entire organization and having an application that was built by Microsoft to work hand-in-glove with all of the Office 365 applications they were already using just made sense.

  1. Always Evolving

Microsoft is constantly developing their line of product. (This is not to say that Slack is not improving their offering as well.) However, Microsoft has in recent months added the ability for companies to try Teams for free and have made guest access for vendors, clients, and others outside of the organization a reality. In the end, Microsoft just has more capacity – financially and in terms of personnel – to make improvements in lock-step with their entire suite of Office 365 office productivity tools.

  1. GIFs!

Sure, Slack does GIFs too. But it’s important to note that Microsoft has thought Teams through and has taken into account how the new generation of workers is using chat and memes in their office communication. This shows us that Microsoft didn’t just throw Teams together, they’ve thought it through and have built Teams to go head-to-head with their strongest competition, Slack.

  1. Languages

Because James’ non-profit organization works with several language groups here in the USA as well as teams in foreign countries, it was important to him to have a team application that did more than just pass messages on. Teams works with forty languages and translates in-app.

Are There Any Downsides To Choosing Teams Over Slack?

Having spent a lot of time supporting companies’ use of both Team and Slack, it is the opinion of the IT support professionals of Intivix that Microsoft Teams is the big winner in the race thus far. Having said that, we would say that Microsoft Teams will feel a little bit more “Microsofty” or corporate in appearance than Slack, and has a higher setup and learning curve requirement. But on balance, we believe that the benefits of Microsoft Teams far outweigh the setup, learning, or aesthetic differences.

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