Slack vs Microsoft Teams: Pros and Cons

With the rise of Microsoft Teams, many companies are wondering if they should opt for that as opposed to Slack.

Both are great collaboration tools. But what’s the real difference? Is one better than the other?

Here’s a quick overview of both to help your team decide which might work best for them.

The Differences in Pricing

If your team would like to try either solution, the good news is that both offer freemium options, meaning, depending on what functionality your company needs, you may not have to pay anything at all. If you are curious about paid plans, Microsoft does offer a free 30-day trial.

Once you’ve decided to opt for paid plans, each option is reasonable, with Slack offering plans starting at $6.67/user/month (billed annually) and Microsoft Teams offing plans from $5/user/month.

Slack only offers 10,000 messages on the free plan, whereas Microst offer unlimited messages on any plan a team chooses. Slack only also offers 10 free integrations on its free plan.

If your company is a fan of apps and add-ons, both solutions deliver, with Slack offering 800+ integrations on their paid plans and Microsoft Teams offering 200+ apps and services.

Channels on Microsoft Teams and Slack 

Both solutions use channels to help users organize their communications. In each offering, team members can privately message each other or have group conversations around various topics, projects, or tasks.

The difference with Microsoft Teams is the capability to create a structured “Team” that has added security and data management capabilities. When an admin creates a Team for each department (or project), a dedicated Office 365 Group is created and integrated with all of the applications available in Office 365.

In Slack, however, you can’t have channels within a channel. Teams would have to workaround this shortcoming by naming the channels in such a way that they reflect sub-channels.

While Slack embraces teams creating as many channels as they like (“there’s never too many!” could be their motto), the ability to create a channel within a team has its appeal as it controls the general proliferation of groups and channels within your environment.

Does Microsoft Use Bots?

The SlackBot is well known for being uber-helpful to users. It can answer questions, allow users to try integrations, and even send users links.

Microsoft Teams also utlizes bots. They’re called T-Bot and Who-Bot. T-Bot operates similarly to the SlackBot, in that it helps answer your questions. However, it actually gives you multiple UIs including conversational-type bots. New Microsoft Teams users will most likely get a lot out of leveraging T-Bot as they begin to learn the systems.

Who-Bot from Microsoft Teams is dramatically different that the SlackBot. Built on an AI-framework, it can search your company intranet from within Microsoft Teams and pulls data from the Active Directory. Who-Bot can therefore pull our information that includes a person’s department or manager, and can give users an entire organizational chart of who they report to in the company. You can therefore ask Who-Bot a question like “Who knows about X?” and the bot will be able to search files and collaborators in order to find the right person or people in the organization. 

Naturally, this is quite useful in an enterprise-level organization, and may not be as useful in a startup where there are only a handful of team members.

How Customizable is the Interface?

In terms of the look and feel of the interface, Microsoft Teams is slightly limited, with users only able to adjust their look and feel into light-mode, dark-mode, and high-contrast. In comparison, Slack offers a customizable sidebar theme so that users can adjust Slack to suit their preferences. Each doesn’t allow too much customization, opting instead to standardize the look and feel of their screens.

Does Your Team Already Use Microsoft Tools?

If your company is already a big fan of Microsoft, and makes use of the entire Microsoft suite (Excel, Word, PowerPoint, etc.), everyone will love the Office 365 integration. Everything seamlessly integrates into Teams, making everything from real-time collaboration on documents to sharing of files and folders easy.

Of course, if your team isn’t as dependant on Microsoft, and uses, for example, G-Suite as a collaborative tool for document creation and sharing, you aren’t going to get as much bang for your buck out of Microsoft Teams. 

Slack, of course, offers integrations for both Microsoft and G-Suite, making it more flexible in terms of file collaboration and sharing.

At the end of the day, both collaboration tools are useful when teams need a solution to help them manage communication across projects. However, Microsoft Teams seems much more suited for enterprise-level organizations and those that already world closely with the Office 365 Suite. If your team is smaller, or does most of its work outside of Office (and, for example, prefers G-Suite), Slack may be a better option.

And, if you love Slack and also use Jira, we have a few great plugins that help teams and admins communicate better across both! Check out our Slack Jira Integration app and our Automation Unlimited for Jira plugin. Each work to simplify and streamline your team’s Jira user experience. Have questions? Contact us today!

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