In 2013, the cloud-based collaborative tool Slack set its targets on disrupting the enterprise productivity market. An acronym of "Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge," Slack is an all-in-one cloud-based platform through which employees can quickly communicate and organize. As a freemium product, Slack is used by many small businesses and startups -- but Microsoft Teams is quickly gaining traction as well.
While Slack has been the dominant business chat tool for the past several years, Microsoft has recently added a number of features to Microsoft Teams that may make it a preferred platform for many organizations, especially those who already use Microsoft Office 365. Here’s what you need to know.
Key Similarities Between Teams and Slack
On the surface, Slack and Microsoft Teams provide similar functionality. They are both collaborative communication tools, which provide the ability for employees to talk to each other directly or in a group. Originally, Slack was written on an older technology -- IRC. Today, Slack is its own fully built platform. Microsoft Teams was developed at a later time, as Microsoft's answer to collaborative communication, and to improve upon existing tools such as Slack.
Slack vs. Teams: The Key Differences
Though Microsoft Teams may have been designed with existing tools in mind, Microsoft also wanted to optimize the communication experience. Both platforms have a very similar look, but there are some core differences:
Slack does have more options for theme optimization, which may be a pro or a con depending on the business. On the positive side, employees can customize Slack to look the way they want it to; on the negative side, this could interfere with their productivity.
Microsoft Teams has more options for memes and gifs -- which, like themes, may also have both pros and cons. Microsoft Teams even has a built-in meme editor, to promote a "fun at work" vibe.
Microsoft Teams offers more deep, analytic insights, through functions such as their WhoBot. WhoBot provides data and graphics regarding employees and their behaviors.
Microsoft Teams is integrated into Microsoft Office 365. The value of this shouldn't be underestimated; Microsoft Office 365 integration creates a seamless environment that connects all business applications.
Microsoft Teams has administrative and security features that are intended to make it easier to control the data that flows through it. This is designed to protect company data from potentially being exposed. In a world of increased security risk, this can be critical.
Microsoft has attempted to improve upon existing solutions, and in many respects, they have succeeded. Of course, that doesn't mean Slack isn't also a robust solution -- and it's been getting additional features and improvements as well.
Big Changes to Teams and What They Mean
Microsoft has recently moved to integrate Skype for Business into Teams, which even further improves upon its functionality. With Skype for Business included, Microsoft Teams has significantly more functionality in comparison to Slack. Instead of just chat, the new teams can also manage calls, meetings, video presentations, and more. Microsoft Teams is going to be an all-in-one collaborative experience, providing everything that an organization needs to improve upon its functionality.