In 2016, Microsoft had the chance to buy Slack for a cool $8 billion but instead decided to enrich Skype. A year later, it released its rival software, Teams, and the virtual workspace race really took off.
Since its release, Teams has gained many fans (including us!) and continues to impress users with its business-friendly tools.
While Slack has now passed 10 million users, Microsoft holds the market share, and in April it reported passing 75 million daily active users. The pandemic had a huge role to play in this most recent surge, but the figure was already on the rise.
The question of Teams v Slack isn’t going away any time soon – no matter how much third-place Facebook tries to elbow its way in. Of course, when software is designed to second-guess human needs, so how ‘good’ it is, is really a matter of personal taste and habit. We expect software to be ever-more intuitive, which means we’re not just choosing the model that seamlessly integrates with other apps, we’re going for the one that integrates with our lives and working habits. This is where Microsoft with its business penetration already had the advantage.
While Teams v Slack is in many ways a matter of personal preference, for SMEs, we think Teams has the upper hand. Here’s why:
When it comes to video, Teams is a dream. If you already had Skype for Business, you don’t need to worry about interoperability, and even the free version offers calls with up to 300 people, while Slack’s free option is only 1:1. Microsoft has also considered the challenges of working from home, offering a background blur feature on video calls.*
This maintains a professional experience as working environments adapt to the new normal.
*Top marks to Microsoft on this video… (just click the three dots next to the hang up icon and select ‘Blur my background’)
The full force of Microsoft 365 integration
On the surface, Teams and Slack both offer a similar user experience. Microsoft Teams looks and works a lot like Slack but has some key advantages – the most obvious of these is its seamless integration with 365. This is a huge bonus for businesses like ours that rely on the full suite of Microsoft tools. Teams allows this through one interface, making it easy to multitask and manage group projects.
Not just a pretty interface (sorry)
Teams and Slack have a similar layout but the styling is different. One screams fun startup, the other respectfully tells you it’s a safe pair of hands. But Teams can have fun too and is fast-competing with Slack’s sizeable app stash (2,000 at the last count). Teams was built on the foundation of integration and given the agility required for ever-evolving systems, we expect to see its partner list grow and grow. Power Automate (previously Flow) also integrates seamlessly, allowing you to automate tasks and provide a generic portal to hundreds of other data sources.
Both offer easy-to-navigate tabs for Activity, Chat, Teams, Messages and Files and the dashboard is a feed that works as an intranet. Like Slack, there are notifications that alert you when you’re mentioned. Teams has two built-in helper bots that go above and beyond the features offered by the Slackbot alternative. These bots make pulling data easier than ever and can answer questions about specific projects or employees.
Teams wins this, hands down. With Slack, you have to type in your workspace URL and then you have to sign in. With Teams, you just sign in. Slack’s way isn’t that much of an inconvenience but it seems longwinded and, well, it really REALLY bugs us.
Both apps are probably similar in terms of security, but security analysts give Microsoft more props. According to Build Consulting, “Microsoft has gone much farther in securing its platform” with things like data audit/discovery and Data Loss Prevention (DLP) tools and they’ve been more transparent around security architecture.
We also love the administrator controls in Teams which help you easily control permissions and policies.
As you can tell, we love Teams. Both workspaces offer freemium versions, but to get the most out of them you’ll need to pay. If you already have an Office 365 subscription Teams makes more sense and once you get it, you’ll have both for about the same cost as Slack. We think Teams is ideal if you want to step up your remote working.
To sum up, we’d say:
Slack feels like sitting down at your desk; Teams feels like walking into your office.
Teams is a safe choice for SMEs in traditional sectors, but creative startups and solopreneurs might find Slack offers a little more freedom and fun as they get operations off the ground. For us, from video call to Cloud, keeping it Microsoft gives us a more seamless experience.
If you’re an SME and you don’t have Teams, let us get it up and running for you. We’re Microsoft Gold Partners after all, so you can trust us to take care of everything. Fill in the form below and one of our engineers will be in touch!