Many users feel that Microsoft Teams and Slack offer the same functionality and are, thus, interchangeable. It is easy to see where this perception stems from. After all, the core functionality of each communication hub addresses similar goals, such as messaging, guest sharing, bots, and a highly efficient user experiences. However, once you look beyond the surface, there are plenty of features and functionality that set these two platforms apart.
Choosing the Right Collaboration Hub
While Slack has long been the cloud-based communication solution of choice, Microsoft’s recent investment in Teams is heating up the competition to rival Slack in many areas and, in some cases, even surpasses it.
So, is Slack still the best choice for your organization? Or would adopting Teams help you save time and money in the long run? Let’s take a closer look at some of the key features you’ll want to consider when deciding between Slack and Microsoft Teams.
The layout of Teams and Slack are similar. However, Teams features an extra vertical panel and a search box allowing for more functionality. Channels are also very useful since they allow you to change the tabs on your Teams tab system for easy organization.
If you prefer a more simplified experience, Slack allows you to organize your communication by channel and thread. Slack also allows you to adjust and customize the appearance of the workplace to your individual or organizational preferences.
Likewise, Teams includes customization, but only in three options-- default light, dark, and high-contrast themes.
Chatting & Calls:
Teams and Slack have very similar features when it comes to chatting and messaging. In both, users can create conversation threads and private chats. Threads is a feature that allows your team to converse in a channel together so that each person can respond in a single conversation. Both contain standard messaging features such as pinning, deleting, mentioning, and sharing files.
One important differentiation is that the threads in Teams are only available in channels that are visible to the whole team. Whereas in Slack, threads can be used in private conversations as well.
Microsoft Teams takes messaging one step further by integrating gifs and offering messaging customization, such as changing font colors, font type, and creating lists.
When it comes to video and audio, calls are simple to start in both Microsoft Teams and Stack, and the call quality is similar as well. One major area where they differ is the number of participants that can join a call. In Microsoft Teams, users can start a private or channel call with up to 80 participants by simply clicking on the video icon or audio call icon. Slack users are limited to 15 participants per call, which may not be ideal for larger teams.
Team members can record a call that will appear in the chat feed so that users can refer to this later. Microsoft also allows Team members to share screens and type messages during a video meeting. With Slack, users can easily use SlackCalls to make a voice or video call. However, certain features such as group calls and sharing screens are only available with paid plans. Those who do not have a paid plan can download the HYFY Screen Video Recorder App or the appear.in app to make a group call.
One of the key features that users look for today is project management integration within their communication hubs. Teams and Slack allow you to coordinate on projects from start to finish, but in very different ways.
One area that really sticks out as a game changer for Teams is the ability to seamlessly integrate with the Microsoft Office 365 experience. If you click on the “Add Tab,” you can add Microsoft Word, Excel, Meetings, Notes, OneNote, Planner, PowerPoint, SharePoint and a multitude of other mission-critical applications you use every day. This enables users to participate in more productive meetings and collaborative work with minimal context switching. And even if you’re using applications outside of the Microsoft stack, Teams also supports dozens of third-party integrations with connectors. Users can directly connect services such as Trello, GitHub, or Twitter and get notified of any team activity. Helpful Connectors and Apps can be found directly in the Microsoft Teams Hub App Store.
Slack also allows for users to connect to Microsoft apps. However, because these apps aren’t native to the platform, it doesn’t work as seamlessly as it does in Microsoft Teams. That being said, if your organization doesn’t use Microsoft products, Slack App Directory makes it easy to integrate with thousands of apps. Although this can make it difficult to find the apps that are right for you, Slack features an essential apps list that helps users get started right away.
Microsoft Team’s integration with Office 365 means the Enterprise Mobility and Security suite is included in your subscription. All of the data stored in the Teams platform is secured with enterprise-class security ensuring users with the peace-of-mind that their data is safe.
Slack also highlights many security features that are GDPR compliant and HIPAA compliant. Their security partners include MobileIron, Bloomberg Vault, BlackBerry, Netskope, and many more.
Both Slack and Microsoft Teams offer a free version for small businesses and freelancers to explore. Here are some key features found in the free versions of Slack and Teams
For those looking to leverage the solution’s full capabilities, Microsoft Teams and Slack also offer standard or premium packages. If you’re purchasing the solution outright, the cost is the same for both -- $12.50/user/month. Below is a comparison of what’s included in each solution’s respective premium packages.
It’s important to note that if your organization is already using Office 365, the full version of Microsoft Teams is already included in your subscription. Therefore, it often makes the most sense to adopt Microsoft Teams rather than pay for redundant services in Slack.
The Bottom Line
Ultimately, the decision between which solution is best for your organization depends on your specific needs. It is important to evaluate each communication hub based on the culture and preferences of your organization.
Slack’s simple design and user experience are good for first-time users or small teams looking for a quick way to interact easily. On the other hand, Microsoft Teams is a great choice for those who are already using Office 365, since Microsoft Teams is already included in the subscription and tightly integrated with the other Microsoft applications you use every day. Plus, Microsoft Teams comes with best-in-class Microsoft Security and App features from the start.