Are you looking for a good tool to facilitate collaboration in your company? Then Microsoft Teams and Slack are currently the two most obvious choices. But which of the two is the best?
As employees are increasingly working in different locations – at home, on the road or in another office, for example – it is more important than ever to invest in tools for efficient collaboration. Fortunately, distance doesn't have to be a problem for communicating, discussing and sharing information smoothly in a team. To have a productive meeting, you no longer need to have all the participants sitting together in a meeting room.
Maximum efficiency gains
Slack was the first tool to made collaboration and online productivity much easier. Microsoft Teams only came onto the market a few years later – in 2017 – but is fully engaged in catching up. It's no coincidence that Teams is being promoted by Microsoft itself as ‘the fastest growing app from Microsoft’. You will be fine with either software tool in any case, though there are still differences. What the best option is for your company depends on a number of factors. So of course it's important that you first assess your existing environment. The new tool should ideally integrate with other applications as closely as possible, so that the user experience and efficiency gains are optimal.
Company culture and user experience
In addition, you should examine the capabilities that each tool offers, and whether they meet the needs of your company in terms of digitisation and collaboration. It is also important to take into account the company culture and the wishes of your employees themselves. How does communication currently take place? Is the existing approach efficient or do you want to change it and make it more streamlined? Be aware that it's often not easy to change entrenched habits, and so give sufficient consideration to change management if needed.
Teams versus Slack
As for the features, we can be brief: both Microsoft Teams and Slack score very well for features such as meetings via telephone and video, messaging, search function, sharing information, task and project management, and keeping track of conversations (conversation threads). However, Microsoft Teams is ideally suited to an IT environment that is already based on Microsoft technology. Teams is in fact part of Office 365 and therefore integrates perfectly with it. It also builds on years of developments in technology such as Skype, SharePoint and Microsoft Power BI. As a result, the features integrated with Office 365 are often stronger or more extensive than with Slack.
Integrate apps and share content
At the same time, it is also possible to integrate applications from other providers into Teams. However, Slack can be integrated with more than 1,500 apps, while there are ‘only’ 200 with Teams. So this is where Slack scores better, though you may ask yourself how many apps you want to have and manage in your IT environment. Content sharing works well with both Teams and Slack, but while Microsoft Teams does this via Office 365, Slack is a good option if you use, for instance, Google Drive combined Google G Suite to create and share files.
Mobile version and security
Teams and Slack both have a mobile version and a desktop version, but Microsoft has the advantage that IT administrators can efficiently manage and secure all mobile devices and apps through the Microsoft Intune cloud service. Data security – such as authentication and encryption – is provided in Teams and in Slack, but Teams also offers integration with the Microsoft Admin Center management software.
Faster start with Slack
On the other hand, getting started with Microsoft Teams takes longer. Slack is very simple and it takes just a few minutes to set up, and inviting new users can happen immediately. When you start with Teams, there are more steps to go through to configure the environment according to the needs of your team members. Due to the greater complexity on the management side, it's more a task for the IT manager.
Besides the benefits that each tool offers, the budget inevitably plays a role. Both Slack and Teams exist in a free (basic) version, but the complete version of Teams is included – and so also ‘free’ – in an Office 365 Business subscription. Moreover, the free version of Teams is more extensive than that of Slack: you can do a search on an unlimited number of chat messages compared with only the last 10,000 with Slack, you get 10 GB of shared storage space versus 5 GB, and more than 140 app integrations compared with 10 with Slack. On the other hand, the free version of Slack is suitable for a maximum of 8,500 users, while it's only 300 with Teams.
Office 365 versus Google G Suite
Conclusion: review your current situation and the software you are now using for creating and sharing information. If that's Office 365 and you are already paying a business subscription, then Microsoft Teams is the logical choice. If you mainly work with Google G Suite and other Google apps, then Slack may be more suitable. Still have doubts? Get advice from an IT expert.