Slack vs. Teams: Which Software Is Better?
The COVID-19 pandemic took the team collaboration software to new heights. As remote work became the norm across industries, collaboration and chat tools became indispensable to teams everywhere. Slack and Microsoft Teams are two brands that were part of the software boom.
But which collaboration tool is better? Which one is the best fit for your company’s specific needs?
Poised has the answers for you here. From features to security to user interface, let’s discuss the differences between Slack and Teams so you can make the right decision!
What Is Slack?
Slack is essentially one big chat room that all of an organization's members share. The messaging platform defines your company as a "workspace" and divides separate group chats into "channels." Each channel has its own members and topics.
The primary function of slack channels is to facilitate seamless communication among employees, essentially replacing much of what people once used email for. For example, you can easily send messages, videos, links, and other media through the channels.
Slack also allows users to send direct messages to one or several individuals (with the paid plan). These messages are private and accessible only through invitation. Note that with Slack’s free plan, you can only talk to one person at a time.
One of the platform's most appealing characteristics is that it sinks with Google Dr., Google calendar, and many other commonly used programs. The administrator simply must install the apps in Slack, and then all your members can operate them while in the chat.
Unless you change the default settings, your Slack messages will be kept forever, meaning you can quickly search and find your message history. Some companies opt to set their messages to automatically delete after a determined period.
Whether you use Windows, Linux, or Mac devices, you can get Slack apps. You can also go through Slack’s website to enjoy the same functions in a web browser or use the Slack Mobile app.
What Is Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams hinges on helping employees and managers communicate through collaboration and videoconferencing. Team members can communicate through text chat, video calls, audio calls, and other mediums. This is perhaps the best platform for Microsoft Office 365 users because it syncs with the rest of the Microsoft ecosystem.
Microsoft recently expanded Teams to the consumer market, but it is still primarily a business application. You might consider the paid version if you run a large organization and need a comprehensive collaboration platform. But the free version comes with plenty of business basic essentials to satisfy the needs of most individuals and small businesses.
Like Slack, your team members can use Teams with any major operating system. You can expect high-quality individual and group messaging, videoconferencing and phone calls, and more.
Teams also provides many tools to enhance virtual meetings. For instance, you can choose between many different backgrounds and viewing modes and administer breakout rooms. You can rely on screen sharing to look like a business pro.
Another helpful feature of Microsoft Teams is that you can record meetings. So, if someone cannot attend a specific meeting or webinar, they can access it later to catch up on what was covered.
Teams also offers synergies with OneDrive and SharePoint, allowing fast and intuitive file-sharing. It also integrates with helpful tools like Poised to sharpen your communication skills!
Uses for Slack and Teams
Now that you have an idea of what Slack and Microsoft Teams are, let's get into more detail about how these productivity tools can benefit your business:
Unified Communication for Your Company
Both Slack and Microsoft Teams simplify unified communication for businesses.
Unlike Slack, Teams lets you create subgroups, meaning users can create separate rooms for different teams that fall within the same overarching group. This feature can help your company maintain a departmental structure in a virtual environment.
If you are working with a small team and primarily need to use team chat options, Slack provides a simple and attractive interface. But you can only conduct video calls with up to 50 people in a Slack Huddle.
On the other hand, Microsoft Teams permits open meetings with up to 250 individuals, making Teams ideal for large departments and subgroups.
It's relatively easy to schedule meetings through Slack and Microsoft Teams. However, if we are splitting hairs, it's most straightforward with Teams. The platform allows you to schedule meetings directly from the chatbox. Slack requires you to integrate other apps to accomplish this.
However, considering how easy Slack makes integration, this is really a non-issue. Both platforms will make a quick task of scheduling meetings with your team.
Making Brief Check-In Calls With Team Members
If you only need to check in with team members for a quick update, Microsoft Teams or Slack will do the trick.
Slack is renowned for its easy-to-use interface, meaning it may save you a few seconds setting up the call than if you used Teams. With that said, Teams makes it more convenient by allowing you to call directly from the chatbox.
Giving Employees a Place To Chat
Slack and Microsoft Teams are both team chat platforms. But chat is perhaps even more at the heart of Slack. You can see this by comparing the notifications options. Teams allows you to turn notifications on and off for individual channels, but you must go into each channel to do it.
Slack comes with a plethora of notifications options. It allows you to choose different sounds for each notification and even what types of messages warrant a notification. You can also select which platforms and devices will display notifications, and you can schedule a "Do-Not-Disturb" window.
Slack is also the winner when it comes to threads. You can use threads on Slack public and private channels, but they are also available on chats. Each thread comes with its own window so that you can maintain the overall conversation.
There are a few other minor works that differentiate Slack and Teams. For example, Slack lets you schedule reminders for replying to specific messages.
Teams allows you to determine the amount of a past conversation a new user in a channel can see. You also have more options for formatting messages in Teams. For instance, you can expand the text box into a Word-like document with tons of options, which can prove helpful when you need to send more complex messages.
The platforms have improved in terms of adding a bit of fun to chats. Both let users send emojis and GIFs. Teams even lets you create memes within the app!
Teams vs. Slack: Is There a Clear Winner?
Microsoft Teams and Slack are both excellent collaboration platforms, but not all virtual work environments call for the same thing: Startups are different from huge corporations, etc.
Let’s discuss where each business essential shines:
Which App Has Better Security?
Microsoft Teams and Slack provide key security features for their paid and free versions, such as two-factor authentication. Microsoft has a reputation for being superior for enterprise-focused business, but Slack has really stepped up to the plate to make its platform more secure.
Slack complies with all the essential ISO certifications. It also allows users to request workspaces that comply with HIPAA, though you must purchase an enterprise plan for HIPAA compliance. Most businesses on the hunt for a collaboration app will find Slack a suitable choice, even if they are concerned about security and compliance.
Yet, Microsoft Teams and the native integrations that come with it provide better overall information management, access control, and security. Teams also provides a wealth of advanced administrative options that IT managers can use to ensure compliance with their organization's internal regulations and policies.
Both Microsoft Teams and Slack prioritize security and compliance, making it difficult to distinguish a clear winner. Nonetheless, understand you will need to invest in a higher-end Slack plan to get many of the administrative tools offered by the free version of Teams.
Which App Is Easier To Integrate With Other Apps?
Microsoft Teams lets you add many different applications to the platform. This is an exciting feature for organizations because it empowers groups to personalize their workspace to accommodate their specific needs.
With Teams, you can integrate more than 200 tools, including ZenDesk, SurveyMonkey, HootSuite, MailChimp, Polly, and many other popular business apps. You can even customize your display with some apps within the Teams program.
Similarly, there is a long list of apps you can use with Slack. The platform even allows you to integrate your existing workflows via the app integration options.
Here are a few of the many apps you can integrate into Slack:
- Hubot GitHub chatbot
- Cisco Webex Meetings
The Native Factor
One of the most appealing aspects of Microsoft Teams is that it seamlessly integrates with the entire Microsoft 365 suite. This means it works with Outlook, OneNote, PowerPoint, and Excel. Considering that about four of five businesses use these Microsoft applications, Teams comes with a real advantage.
Plus, you can use the Microsoft 365 suite with the free Teams version, and you can access all the apps without ever leaving the platform. Teams also allows you to integrate Power Apps, Power BI, Microsoft tools, and plenty of third-party tools.
Outside of its chat service and file storage, Slack doesn't come with any inherent integration. However, you can still acquire and use external tools through the platform. Slack is known for providing users with choice and range.
As such, it allows integration with about 2,000 third-party apps. Furthermore, many Slack users also use Microsoft 365 programs and tools. So, you don't have to use Teams to take advantage of other Microsoft products.
Keep in mind that the lack of native integration means that you must pay for some of the additional apps you add to Slack. Many businesses go with Teams for this reason.
Which App Has a Better User Interface?
Many users do not know what makes for a good interface until they see an app with a bad one. Software engineers spend a lot of time and energy designing the best user experience possible because it is one of the most critical aspects of any app or program.
Fortunately, both Microsoft Teams and Slack have attractive, easy-to-use interfaces.
Microsoft Teams has an activity tab that displays personally relevant information, like your mentions or when someone replies to your message. You can message anyone on your team from chats or invite contacts.
What makes Microsoft Teams stand out is that the interface allows for subgroups of your company with which you can quickly share files and chat. If you need to organize your team further, you can create several channels and a team wiki that makes essential information accessible to your team members. To share files, all you have to do is access the files tab.
Microsoft Teams is all about organization, and it has an excellent interface for that purpose. No matter the topic, you can make it easy for your team members to find any information they need.
But one thing to be careful with is that you don't want to create too many teams and channels. Putting too much clutter in your digital workspace will make it hard to find anything. Teams works best when you find a balance between too many and too few channels.
When you open Slack, you will see all of your channels on the last side of the app. Any channels with unread messages to you will be highlighted, and you will see a red exclamation point for mentions. By clicking the threads button, you can quickly check on the threads you've participated in.
To create group messages, you must add the individuals to a private message. However, you will do most of your Slack chatting through channels. You will probably be a part of several channels throughout your organization. You can search for a new channel to join, or you can automatically join when someone mentions you.
Slack does not offer a designated file-sharing space, but it does allow you to share files through channels and messages. If you need to find something shared in the past, you can search by file.
You won't get some of the team functionality offered by Microsoft Teams, meaning it's difficult to stay organized through Slack. On the flip side of the coin, this can help you prevent siloing because team members can view channels they are not a part of as long as it's not private.
If you use Slack, encourage your employees to remove any channels they are not regularly using. That way, they will be able to keep their priorities more organized and not become overwhelmed.
Ease of Use
Overall, Slack's interface is slightly easier to use. The interface is incredibly intuitive; the only thing you might need to teach your employees is how to join a channel. Team members will easily see anytime they've been mentioned and notice the channels they need to access.
Microsoft Teams offers more team functionalities, making it more complex than having a simple list of channels on the left side of the screen. But if your business requires more organization and subdivision, and if you need team members to participate in numerous channels, Teams can help you keep everything managed.
Slack has a better interface if your team doesn't require many different subgroups, while Teams provides more features for managing complex channel infrastructures.
Which App Is Better for Windows Users?
If your team uses Microsoft computers and devices, Microsoft Teams will likely be the ideal collaboration platform for your needs. Slack offers many third-party integrations and is compatible with Windows. But Team’s native integrations with Microsoft 365 will simplify the entire process if your organization uses those programs already.
Which App Is Better for Mac Users?
Microsoft Teams will integrate with macOS. But to get the most from Teams, you will need to use Microsoft 365 and additional Microsoft tools. For this reason, many Mac users choose Slack. Additionally, the beauty and simplicity of Slack’s interface fall closer and in line with that of macOS.
The Verdict: It’s Up To You
As you can see, both Slack and Microsoft Teams are world-class collaboration platforms to help a variety of organizations maintain consistent communication and achieve common goals. Slack is known for its ease of use and intuitiveness, while Teams provides more team organization features.
The platform your company chooses should depend on your specific needs. Consider the information above as you make a decision, and remember to incorporate a communication coach like Poised into your routine!
Poised is the new business standard AI that relays private, real-time feedback on your calls. Growing a business and advancing a career is a learning experience, and Poised is here to be your teacher.