By now you’ve probably heard about Slack, the fastest-growing Software-as-a-Service startup ever, and a $5 billion business just 5 years after its launch.
For quite a while Slack was the major player when it came to all-in-one communication and collaboration tools for business. Then, in 2017, the ever-dominant Microsoft threw its hat in the ring with Microsoft Teams, which is now wrapped into the Office 365 suite of services.
Now the question I’m hearing from my clients is this: Which solution is better?
First, know that if your organization is asking this question, you’re absolutely on the right track; relying purely on email to communicate and collaborate isn’t an effective way to work anymore, and these all-in-one platforms are a great way to increase your efficiency, productivity, and morale.
But one is still likely a better fit for your organization than the other.
Here’s how I think the compare on five key differences.
1 – Speed.
While Teams is significantly less clunky to use than it was upon its release last year, it still lags behind Slack in terms of overall speed; between load speeds, keyboard shortcuts, and overall fluidity of navigation, you can just move faster in Slack.
2 – Organization.
In Slack, you organize your communications primarily by channel and by thread, which is simple, intuitive, and clean. Your Teams dashboard is a bit more cluttered overall, but the channels have a very useful, customizable tab system that offers a lot of flexibility as far as organizing your content goes. I’ll let this one come down to personal preference and call it a tie.
Winner: Teams here, Slack there
3 – Integration with outside applications.
Teams does integrate with some third-party applications like Asana, Hootsuite, and GitHub. Slack ‑ with four more years of development under its belt ‑ has thousands of third-party integrations, and allows much more freedom as far as custom coding and integrations.
4 – Integration with Office 365.
As you might guess, Teams is the clear winner of this category. You can edit Word documents directly inside of Teams, and then send them right into OneDrive or SharePoint. Slack’s integration simply doesn’t hold a candle to it.
5 – Video calling.
Teams integrates with Skype for decent video calling functionality. From my testing, both Slack’s native video calling feature and its integration with applications like Zoom are of superior quality.
Final verdict: Which is best?
If your organization relies heavily on Office 365 ‑ especially if you’re deep in OneDrive and SharePoint ‑ you’ll probably be better off with Teams. Several of my clients are in this boat, and they are thrilled with the way Teams helps their organization work more efficiently. Plus, there’s no additional cost.
If you aren’t deep in Office 365, though, I’m partial toward Slack’s usability, flexibility, and elegance.
Whichever solution you deem best for your organization, be sure to plan a methodical implementation project, and to carefully promote company-wide adoption to make sure it sticks. I’ve written more on how to successfully roll out a new technology solution here.
As originally published in the American City Business Journals.