Microsoft Teams vs Slack Review

Microsoft Teams vs Slack Review

Nowadays, implementing a collaborative environment in the team is essential for a business to last and compete. And to do that, every company must have a communication system to organize the interaction between individuals and teams. Collaboration platforms provide considerable value for companies seeking growth, productivity, and time efficiency. 

The need for effective collaboration in the wake of COVID-19 revealed the importance of these solutions worldwide. Recent research conducted by Statista concluded that collaboration app installation in enterprises had increased by 176% during the pandemic.

This article will review two of the most popular collaboration platforms worldwide, Microsoft teams and Slack. Both have proven efficient and valuable for different industries and team formation, and hopefully, this article will help you choose the one that best fits your needs and wants. 

Platform overviews

Microsoft Teams is an online collaborative tool developed by Microsoft. It was launched in March 2017 and became a part of the Office 365 family alongside other apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneDrive, making it easier to integrate. Microsoft Teams offers a comprehensive sharing and communication environment used for diverse purposes. The platform is rich with tools to motivate engagement and embrace connectivity, and also benefits from its use of SharePoint for advanced cloud-sharing and documentation reasons.

On the other hand, Slack is a cloud-based collaboration platform founded and launched in August 2013 by the serial entrepreneur Stewart Butterfield. Salesforce later acquired Slack in July 2021, making it a part of their extensive portfolio. Slack offers communication services including chats, file sharing, multiple integrations, audio huddles, visual meetings, and other collaboration features every user needs. The significance of Slack lies in its text channel-based UI, making it super user-friendly with improved searchability and privacy settings. 

We’ve identified four main areas where differences between Microsoft Teams and Slack are the most significant: 

  • User experience
  • Integrations
  • Pricing
  • Security

We’ll dive deep into all four sections, one by one, and spotlight the features each platform has in detail. Without further ado, here is the Microsoft Teams vs Slack review.

User Experience

Users are constantly looking for a smooth and straightforward experience in any software they use and both Slack and Microsoft Teams are well known for that.

Microsoft Teams is well-known for its simplicity and usability despite having many collaboration features. Navigating through the various tools and services is pretty easy. The user interface is well organized; a navigation bar on the left side contains the main tools. The best thing about Microsoft Teams is that all necessary features and tools can be accessed within a single platform. No need to open dozens of windows or use multiple apps. If you’re planning to make it your primary virtual workplace, we recommend having a brief training with your team members explaining what Microsoft Teams is, how you will be using it and how they can tap into its benefits. 

Slack has a user-friendly interface and offers many communication features. Anyone who’s used a chat application can quickly find a way around Slack. Moreover, the interface looks like chatting software with the option of using more complex and advanced tools. Users can select channels and other users to contact them individually or together directly.

Both of the apps are very similar, but I personally prefer the user interface and experience of Slack compared to Microsoft Teams.

Chatting System

Both Slack and Microsoft Teams provide a chatting app that allows users to communicate publicly and privately. It also allows you to invite other members to the conversation. Moreover, users can make voice and video calls and share files and screens, making communication easier and faster. Each chat has tabs to organize work and make it easy to find specific information previously shared across the chat.

Channels and Teams

Channel management is the main feature of both platforms, and most of the communication is done through channels. Creating a channel on both platforms is pretty easy and only requires naming it and inviting users:

  • In Microsoft Teams, the dashboard is customizable, users can create channels within teams to split the work into certain categories. For example, in the HR team, you can have channels like onboarding, training, recruitment, etc. Also, there are default tabs within the channel like – posts, file and wiki. The tabs are fully customizable so you can add as many as you like. Tabs help users to filter and find data easily.

  • In Slack, channels are also customizable and are used for in-team communication. Alongside the traditional text messages and files, after the recent updates, you can also send voice messages to improve communication. One advantage of Slack is the ability to create channels for bots and security alerts, which will be in one place so that users can get updates in real-time. 
Slack

Calendar

With the help of the calendar tool in Microsoft Teams, users can schedule a meeting, name it, select the time, invite members and channels, add location, and add some details about the meeting. The calendar can be viewed using Outlook or within Microsoft Teams.

Slack, on the other hand, doesn’t have a built-in calendar. So, in order to use the calendar, users need to integrate it with Google calendar, which to be fair is just several clicks.

Calls Section

Both Slack and Microsoft Teams provide call collaboration for members, whether it’s voice or video calls.

  • Microsoft Teams provide a contact section that allows users to add contacts, review history, and record voice messages. An important feature is the ability to call contacts using phone numbers.
  • Slack users can only contact other members within the Slack organization. Also, the video meeting feature is not available for groups but only for one-to-one meetings on the free plan. On paid plans, huddles can have up to 50 participants, and anyone in a conversation can join a huddle once it starts.

In terms of online meetings, Microsoft Teams is a winner. It has an embedded online conferencing tool that comes with a number of great features such as:

  • Changing the background image, 
  • Noise suppression, 
  • Breakout rooms, 
  • Presenting mode, 
  • Screensharing, screen recording, and transcription,
  • Possibility to organize webinars and live events and even have live captions. 

Learn more about Microsoft Teams meetings.

But to be fair, with Slack, you can have an interactive meeting with integrated third-party tools like Zoom or Google Meets, or even Teams itself. 

Integrations

The next stop in the Microsoft Teams vs Slack journey is integration. Integration means transferring data between multiple platforms. Luckily, both Microsoft Teams and Slack support integrations with native apps and also use third-party tools like Zapier.

Microsoft Teams offers many native apps to integrate with, including Microsoft Office 365 products and more than 600 native and third-party apps, making it flexible and reliable to use. The widespread apps developed by Microsoft and partners made it easier to offer a high level of integration. Also, many third-party tools offer their services for Microsoft Teams, like project management tools, CRM, Calendars, time planners, accounting services, etc.

Slack has up to 2,400 apps to integrate with, and Microsoft and Google products are also available for integration. Its simplicity opened the door wide for integrations with many other tools from various fields. Since Slack was one of the first movers and the market leader for such a long time, it is supported by almost all popular third-party tools. Using these tools can increase productivity and save time by automating tasks within Slack.

Pricing

Another key factor in the Microsoft Teams vs Slack debate is the price.

Microsoft Teams has a basic version that you can choose free of charge. If you want to upgrade then you need a subscription to the whole Microsoft Suite which in addition to Microsoft Teams gives you access to other cool products as well. There are many plans to choose from, categorized into two main sections, business, and home.

  • For business: there are four plans available; note that prices are in an annual subscription.
  1. Free plan: costs $0 with 5 GB of cloud storage per user
  2. Essential plan: for $4 per user per month
  3. Business Basic plan: for $6 per user per month
  4. Business Standard Plan: $12.5 per user per month
  • For Home:
  1. Free plan
  2. Personal plan: costs $6.99 per month, and for one person
  3. Family plan: for $9.99 per month, and can be used by 6 people max

Slack offers four main plans to choose from, and we will list them below.

  1. Free plan: with 10,000 recent messages max
  2. Pro plan: costs $6.67 per user per month
  3. Business plus plan: costs $12.5 per user per month
  4. Enterprise plan: full functionality for a fixed price

We can notice that both offer free plans and a free trial, but Microsoft Teams provides more options at a lower cost than Slack. It makes Microsoft Teams win over Slack when it comes to pricing.

Security

And the last area to be discussed in Microsoft Teams vs Slack is the security. Most users take their security and privacy seriously. So, it’s essential to know what safety features each one offers and how to use it. Both Slack and Microsoft Teams provide essential security standards like MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) and customized policies for users.

When it comes to customer data protection, both Microsoft Teams and Slack are GDPR and DLP compliant and stick with ISO standards to protect users from any data breaches.

Microsoft Teams offers many settings to maintain the security of users and their data. Moreover, administrators can do that with the help of the Office 365 security & compliance center. Some of these settings are listed below:

  • Safe links
  • Policy
  • Threat tracker
  • Safe attachments
  • Configure permissions for members and teams
  • Data loss prevention
  • Reports
  • Data classification
  • Content search management

Slack provides all the needed settings to configure permissions and privileges for all members, such as who can use the mentions feature, archive, invite new members, remove members, and create channels. Using Slack, admins can monitor all security alerts from one place in channels.

However, despite Slack security features, we can notice that Microsoft Teams has more available options to secure the platform and protect the data. 

Implementing an online collaboration platform is an essential thing these days. It allows team members to communicate, share files, meet, and discuss the work progress. But which one? Microsoft Teams vs Slack. Both are great tools to consider for those purposes. 

To choose the right collaboration solution for your business, you need to not only determine which platform is better but also on why you need such a system in your company, what platform offers more functionality that you might need, and your dedicated budget.