Team communication tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack, Flock, Skype for Business, etc., are reinventing new methods of communication for seamless office interactions across various teams in an organization.
In the year 2016, Bill Gates was against the decision of purchasing its competitor Slack, instead, he wants the organization to improvise Skype for Business. The initial release of Microsoft Teams to public happened in the year 2017, and very recently the stable release 1.2.00.4664 of the product happened this year in the month of February. As we understand most of the corporate work routines run on Office 365 suite, the Microsoft Teams is one of the essential parts of it.
On the other hand, Slack made its public appearance in the year 2013 by Stewart Butterfield. Recently Slack has launched a new logo in the month of January of this year, and there was much difference of opinions among netizens on the new logo as many of them liked the old logo when compared to the new one. Slack allows the users to check all the latest updates from @slackapi.
Initially, in the year, 2014 Slack has $43 million funding for its operations, to round it up to additional funding of $200 million in April 2016.
Let us look into the quick comparison at both the tools
The sign-up flow - Which Application Offers Smoother Setup?
Though Microsoft Teams comes with Office 365 suite, the workplace collaboration application is open to all public with a free sign-up trail of one month. You can sign-up with any of your public domain mail ids such as Google, Yahoo, etc., or you can directly access your Microsoft Teams with your Microsoft domain id if you are a subscriber of Office 365.
Once you are done with entering your mail id and password, a verification code has been sent to your registered mail id. Now you can start using Microsoft Teams by downloading the desktop app or a Web app.
The Sign-up Process of Slack starts with creating a workspace. Slack’s unlimited free trial allows the users to log-in to it with their respective workspace URL with a limited set of features. Any user can create a workspace from scratch with any of their Gmail, Yahoo, etc., public domains. To finish the sign-up process you are asked to give your name and password.
Slack facilitates an unlimited number of workspaces in its Enterprise Grid pricing plan, where the users of can switch between one workspace to others within the user interface itself.
The Sign-up process at Microsoft Teams is pretty simple and easy when compared to Slack.
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Inviting and Adding User
This workplace collaboration application provides a feature where you can invite others (or) guests to your organization for enhanced to associate with them on your projects. Your guests could be your clients, vendors, and non-employees or any others.
The left panel of the user interface has the feature of “Invite others to the Org”. This will take you to the page of invite people, from where you can start inviting people by giving your guests email and their display name. Furthermore, you can choose the “Add more” option to invite more people.
In addition to inviting guests to your organization,
Microsoft Teams allows you to add more people to your team. The moment you log-in to the application, it welcomes you with the features of “Add more people, Create more channels, Open the FAQ,”.
The intuitive user interface of Slack lets you to Invite people from the left panel of your workspace.
Guests like vendors, clients, contractors, freelancers, and others are invited to Slack in both of it's free and paid plans. Invite few or many at once with their public/private domain mail ids. You are also allowed to share an invite link to your invitees.
Slack allows to share an invite link to its guests, whereas we don’t see this in Microsoft Teams.
Guest Access Capabilities
The concept of vendor-client collaboration with the workforce of your organization is quite crucial at times where they need to connect to the outside world to collaborate on various client projects.
Microsoft Teams send invites to others to communicate with the internal teams of the workplace. The other new player Troop Messenger also facilitates the in-house team with this guest collaboration feature, the Orange Member. Any user with their public/private mail ids can become an Orange Member to interact with the teammates of Troop Messenger.
The “Invite people” section of Slack allows inviting guests into the application.
Design (UI and UX) - Which Application Gives Comfort Over Chaos?
The UI and UX part of Microsoft Teams is quite engaging and engrossing to the user. You can simply understand the features and their functionalities just at the glance of the home page screen. All your teams are listed on the left panel dashboard along with the other features of “Activity”, “Chat”, “Calendar”, “Get the app”, “Store”, and “Help”. Few essential tools like One Note and Wiki are in-built in this application.
Start a new conversation with your teammates by sending the formatted text, with attachments, with smileys, GIFs, and with stickers to relish more personalized chat experience.
Also, check out for files that you had exchanged with other teams and team members, Microsoft Teams full tutorial with recent updates, along with a plus tab for more integrations. The people pane of the user interface allows you to see all your team members at one place.
Despite Slack’s user interface looks simple and clean, sometimes the users often get confused with the navigational flow of the features and their functionalities. Your workspace name is displayed at the top of the left-pane with along with your name. This section further allows you to send direct messages to Slack bot and the other team members of your channel.
The other features that you could notice from the Slack user interface would be; @mentions, set a purpose, settings, starred channels, invite people and many more to include.
Microsoft Teams user interface looks to be simple to understand and easy to use, whereas compared to Slack.
Messaging, Audio, Video - Which collaboration is ahead?
Messaging across Microsoft Teams is quite interesting, as it allows the one-to-one user to be more collaborative with the features of file sharing, places, attachments, formatted texts, smileys, GIFs, Stickers, @mentions, meet now, and also lets the users integrate and use many third-party apps.
Say, for instance, you can integrate Trello for project management and YouTube for sharing your preferred videos.
It is really good to see on the user interface with the feature of Meet now(video conferencing) literally at no cost. Microsoft Teams is extending this feature-functionality to its users in its free trail itself. But the users could not find the audio calling option anywhere on the user interface of the free trial.
Send direct messages in Slack by choosing your team members. This collaboration experience can be further enhanced with the associative features of Add a file from your computer, @mentions, smiley layout, post, code or text snippet, etc.,
When we move onto the sections of audio and video calling, now Slack supports audio-video calling in its free plan for one-on-one user chat, whereas you would not be able to share your desktop screen during a video call in the free plan, you would certainly migrate to Slack’s paid plan to avail this feature. While the new chat application in the block, the Troop Messenger is allowing the users the facility to share their screen for free during a video call.
Microsoft Teams allows the feature of, “Meet Now” in its free plan to make video conferencing with your team. Though Slack offers one-on-one audio-video calling, it doesn’t provide the same for workspaces in its free plan..
Integration - Which Application is On Good Terms With All?
The Microsoft Teams office collaboration application does support a wide range of integrations to help the user. This application allows the user to directly integrate all the necessary apps right away from the applications user interface itself.
When you try to open the “Store”, a feature from the left panel of the applications home page, you are taken to the world of diverse apps to integrate them into your teams with the option of uploading custom apps too
Slack supports more than 1500 app integrations into it. You are totally allowed to integrate a whopping number of apps of a distinct type. Tools related to project management, productivity, finance, file management, security, and compliance, etc.,
The Apps column of your workspace facilitates a provision to the user to directly browse apps and integrate them into your workspace. You are navigated to, “Browse Apps” page, where you can find the “View App Directory”, and, “Manage Apps...”, When you go to view app directory, you are taken to a new window, where a wide range of Apps for integration are segregated as per their domain area.
Slack supports more than 1500 wide range of app integrations according to the pricing plan the users choose.
Pricing - Which Application Breaks the Bank?
Microsoft Teams comes in three different pricing variants. Any users across the world can, “Sign-up for free”, with limited features of unlimited messages and search, guest access, 300 maximum users, 140+ integrated apps and services, one-to-one group online audio and video calls, channel meetings and few more to go.
Microsoft Teams is a part of Office 365 Business Essentials and Office 365 Business Premium, with the pricing of $5.00/user/month and $12.50/user/month respectively.
Slack offers a free trial to its users for an unlimited amount of time with limited features, and then there are Slack Standard Subscription plan, Standard Plus plan, and with one more pricing variant of Enterprise Grid plan.
When you switch,
to Slack’s standard subscription plan for Rs.500/active user per month when billed annually, with this upgrade the users can really experience the features of the full archive, Google authentication, Unlimited apps for integration, custom retention policies, forward emails into slack, custom profiles, etc.,
For Enterprise Grid plan,
the pricing page of Slack asks the user to contact sales for pricing structure. Here the Slack users can have unlimited workspaces, support for data loss prevention(DLP), shared channels between workspaces, built-in security, and compliance, 1 TB storage per member, etc.,
Microsoft Teams offers its free plan only for a month, whereas the basic-free plan of Slack is meant for an unlimited amount of time.
File Storage - Which gives more?
We know how important is the file storage for any team collaboration application. On a daily basis, the users of the organization exchange an unlimited number of files. In order to cater this, Microsoft Teams offers 2GB/per user and 10GB of shared storage in its free plan and it provides 1TB/user in both of its Office 365 Business Essentials and Office 365 Business Premium suites.
Slack offers 5GB total in its free plan, 10 GB storage per member in Standard plan, 20GB storage per member in Standard Plus plan and finally 1TB storage per member in its Enterprise grid plan.
Slack offers 1TB storage only in an enterprise grid plan, but whereas Microsoft Teams provides 1TB of storage per user in both of its paid versions
Search - Which has more Power?
This instant team messaging application allows you to search for different things across the user interface. The search functionality is commonly available for Activity, Chat, Teams, conversations, files, wiki, etc., When I write about the search functionality of any applications, I understand that Troop Messenger has an extensive search capability to filter out different forms of data. The search by images, search by videos, search by location, global search filter, date-time filters, etc., are known to be few noted.
Slack allows you to search for messages, files, and channels. Furthermore, you can make a search for your files from all files.
The “Browse Apps”, the page also offers the user to search by name or by category to choose a wide range of app integrations into your Slack business collaboration tool
Slack has better search functionality.
Help Center - Which Application has a Better Helping Hands?
It would be quite helpful for almost all the users if they can navigate to application’s help page within the application’s user interface. Microsoft Teams and Slack both provide such facility to their teams.
The left pane of Microsoft Teams home page shows you the help icon, from where you can traverse to feature help topics, training, what’s new and about.
You can narrow down your search from the search bar of Search help. On top of that, the users can see, “Microsoft Teams with a full tutorial with recent updates” to understand the latest upgrades from your team's page.
The moment you log-into the Slack, the Slack Bot welcomes the user to assist them. It allows us to directly chat with bots for all the basic queries, and in case if it doesn’t understand our question, it allows the user to navigate to Help Center from the user interface itself.
Slack is a bit head of Microsoft Teams in extending help support with the help of Slack Bots.
It is quite essential to choose the best office collaboration application to run uninterrupted corporate office routines. Be it be Microsoft teams, Slack, the one thing to take into consideration is having smooth chat experience with necessary communication features.
The aim of the article is to be informative. We intend users take an informed decision for an effective and productive experience. The comparison shown between Microsoft Teams vs slack in the blog is only towards that end and has no intention of pitting one against the other team collaboration app brands. The images, logos, any concepts, etc., used in this blog, purely belong to their respective companies or applications (Microsoft Teams and Slack).
Readers are advised to consult and confirm from the respective service providers regarding details of features, latest updates, prices, and their policies before utilizing any of their services.
This further informs the reader that the views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this blog solely belong to the author’s perception, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, organization, committee or other group or individual.
The original version of this article was first published on Troop Messenger.