As a platform for unified workplace communication, Microsoft Teams has a feature set to rival Slack, and offers two overriding benefits: it integrates natively with the other Microsoft cloud services, and it’s provided at no additional cost to all Microsoft 365 subscribers. So where does it differ from Slack, who’s using it, and why should your clients care? Let’s investigate:
How does it compare to Slack?
On the whole, Microsoft Teams compares very favourably to Slack. All of the same basic functionality is present: users can create multiple channels featuring threaded conversations, direct messaging, personal notifications, and support for everything from emojis to file uploads.
Slack has the edge in a few areas: general compatibility, customisation options, and ease of use. In other respects, though, Teams edges ahead. Through natively hooking into OneDrive, it not only allows users to share cloud links — it also allows them to edit shared Office documents directly within Teams (Slack requires them to be opened externally).
Teams’ audio and video chat options are superior, allowing many more simultaneous users. Perhaps most notably, its position in Microsoft’s superb cloud system makes it immeasurably more secure. And with the number of integrations (referred to as Connectors) getting bigger over time and being backed by a readily-available API, compatibility really isn’t a major concern.
Who’s currently using it?
Because Slack has been around longer and picked up a lot of publicity, it’s easy to assume that it’s the dominant communications platform — but at this point, the numbers clearly show otherwise. Slack mentioned hitting 10 million daily active users in January 2019, but in July 2019, Microsoft revealed that Teams had reached an impressive 13 million daily active users.
That’s an incredible feat for a platform that only released in 2017, and it reflects sentiment across the business world: a Spiceworks survey from the end of 2018 discovered that 41% of organisations planned to use Microsoft Teams by the end of 2020. With Slack achieving merely 18% for the same metric, there’s no escaping the conclusion that Teams is well on its way to becoming the de facto industry standard.
How to introduce it to your clients
Available for free as part of Microsoft 365, and even some tiers of Office 365, Microsoft Teams is an obvious choice over Slack for any business invested in the Microsoft ecosystem: not only working out as cheaper across the board, but also providing superior functionality and security.
Given the complexity of modern business, keeping everything within one system is the holy grail of productivity, and Microsoft Teams is the glue that keeps a team together. It’s not only great to use within your organisation but is also really beneficial to use when communicating externally with clients and suppliers to build a collaborative environment. The more clients you have using it, the fewer support requests you’ll need to field, and the more demand there will be for all the other services available through the Microsoft Cloud.
With Skype for Business soon to be replaced by Teams, this is also another way to introduce and transition your clients to this all-encompassing communication and collaboration tool.