It’s the business technology communications software showdown to end all business technology communications software showdowns: Microsoft Teams vs. Slack!
When it comes to how your internal team communicates, you have lots of options. From email platforms to Signal, specially designed software to simply, you know, texting, choosing the best possible communications application can feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
Let us help you sort through the straw.
From the experts at EMPIST, here’s everything you need to know about Microsoft Teams, Slack, and picking the best possible option for your business.
Before we hop into direct comparisons, let’s first go over what these two comms stalwarts actually do:
Microsoft Teams is a collaboration and communications software launched by parent company Microsoft in 2017. As part of Microsoft’s suite of cloud-based business technology tools (also known as Microsoft 365), Teams provides chat, voice, and video capabilities for everything from home use to enterprise scale. According to reporting by GeekWire, Teams boasted 145 million daily active users worldwide as of April 2021.
Slack, conversely, defines itself as a “messaging app for business, and so much more.” Although it originally launched as an independent software in 2013, Slack was acquired by Salesforce in the summer of 2021 to the tune of a cool $27.7 billion, The Verge reports. What’s more, Slack also bridges the gap between casual, everyday use and professional applications. The company officially announced reaching over 10 million daily active users across the globe in January of 2019.
There’s History There
Considering their similar markets and offerings, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the rivalry between Microsoft Teams vs. Slack has been pretty steep for, well, ever.
In a May 2020 interview with The Verge, Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield claimed that “Microsoft is perhaps unhealthily preoccupied with killing [Slack], and Teams is the vehicle to do that.” In the same conversation, Butterfield stated that Teams “isn’t a competitor to Slack,” citing that, while Slack places an emphasis on messaging, “the reality is [that Teams is] principally a voice and video calling service.”
You can see where the grudge comes from, right? While Slack may have been first to the digital communications market, Microsoft’s legacy of power, prestige, and profit has ensured that Teams stands directly in its path, whether the two apps have the same functionality or not.
However, specific features aside (and we will get into those soon, we promise), it appears to us as though Slack’s new positioning under Salesforce will do even more to strengthen the existing animosity between these two software giants. Upon announcing the purchase on the Slack website, Salesforce Chair & CEO Mark Benioff is quoted as saying, “together [Slack and Salesforce will] define the future of enterprise software, creating the digital HQ that enables every organization to deliver customer and employee success from anywhere.”
Given the apparent overlap with Microsoft’s own mission to “empower every person and organization on the planet to achieve more,” we wouldn’t bet on the hard feelings – founded or otherwise – fading away any time soon.
Microsoft Teams vs. Slack: Features
Regardless of ongoing feuds, you have a big decision to make – one that you cannot let be determined by headlines alone. In today’s digital climate, your business needs a communications software whose features not only support your current activities but are also primed to help you reach your future goals.
To that end, helpful features your team can benefit from in Microsoft Teams or Slack include:
Microsoft Team Main Features – One-to-One Chat, Video Conferencing, Voice Calling, Mobile Application Service, Group Chat, Search, Activity Logs, Bot Assistance, Audio Conferencing, MFA, Meetings, Usage Reports, File Sharing, Screen Sharing, Channels, Customizable Notifications, Breakout Rooms, User Roles, Encryption and more.
Slack Main Features – One-to-One Chat, Group Chat, Public Channels, Private Channels, Slack Connect (Inter-Organization Channel Collaboration), Search, File Sharing, 2FA, Bot Assistance, Mobile Application, User Roles, Access Logs, Voice Call, Video Call, Screen Share, Screen Drawing, Huddles, Customizable Notifications, and more!
Based on these lists, it should be clear that both Microsoft Teams and Slack pack a punch when it comes to corporate collaborations, but there are some important differences to note, namely:
Microsoft Teams has a more robust voice and video program.
That being said, Slack’s messaging capabilities are decidedly more intuitive and easier to follow.
What’s more, Microsoft Teams is historically a bit more finicky when connecting to non-Microsoft-owned apps, which leads us to…
Both Microsoft Teams and Slack offer a host of useful app integrations to ensure that your business continues to run smoothly and efficiently. Some of the integrations that we find most beneficial include:
Microsoft Teams Integrations – Microsoft 365 (Outlook, SharePoint, Word, Excel, PPW, etc.), Jira, Trello, Adobe Creative Cloud, YouTube, Karma, GitHub, Zoom, 3CX, Lucid Chart, etc. You can view the full Microsoft Teams app directory here.
Slack Integrations – Salesforce, Google Suite (Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive, etc.), Zoom, Outlook, Gmail, Zoom, Twitter, Dropbox, Hubspot, Workday, Adobe Creative Cloud, OneDrive, and SharePoint, to name a few. You can view the complete Slack app directory here.
Security & Compliance
As an elite, security-focused MSSP, we would be remiss if we didn’t analyze security and compliance capabilities within our Microsoft Teams vs. Slack debate.
Team EMPIST is happy to report that both Teams and Slack present robust security protocols – but the same, they are certainly not. Slack is – for the time being – a standalone, cloud-based software following the Software-as-a-Service model of delivery. This means that Slack possesses the advanced security and storage benefits of the cloud (MFA, no-installation, encryption, etc.).
Microsoft Teams, however, is a part of the Microsoft 365 suite of cloud-based tools, which may give it a bit of a leg up when it comes to security. While a user can access Microsoft Teams as a standalone SaaS tool, an organization is more likely to adopt the entire suite at once, providing businesses continuity in single sign-on, authentication protocols, and more. In addition, Microsoft also offers powerful IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) cloud tools like Azure that can add additional functionality – and, by extension, safety measures – to your business environment.
Furthermore, while both Teams and Slack are used by individuals and organizations alike, Slack is just a tad more accessible to your everyday user. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing – it’s a communication platform, after all – but by the nature of Microsoft’s adherence to enterprise-level service, their security has a slight advantage.
Now that you know what the deal is, it’s time to determine what the bill is. For your reference, team EMPIST has provided some quick tables on what you get for the current pricing of Microsoft Teams and Slack below:
Slack Pricing 2022 (prices shown in per user, per month)
Microsoft Teams Pricing 2022 (prices shown in per user, per month)
Let Our Team Pick Up the Slack
See what we did there?
As is painfully clear by the sheer amount of information you’ll find above, the question of Microsoft Teams vs. Slack does not – and cannot – have one simple answer. Every business has a set of unique challenges and requirements that its technology must address in order to become successful. Choosing the right tech for yours requires considering each one of them.
At EMPIST, we make it our priority to steer your team in the right direction. From overarching guidance to day-to-day management, our team works hard to ensure that yours has all the technical support they need to make the right decision and implement it well.