Microsoft Teams vs Slack: What suits your team better?

When Microsoft released teams, the question on everyone’s mind was “Will MS Teams replace Slack?”. 5 years later and after the Salesforce acquisition of Slack, both the tools are going strong and are catering to different collaborative needs. In this article we will not just compare these two collaboration behemoths, but we will answer two major questions: “Is MS Teams a better tool than Slack?” and “MS Teams vs Slack - Which suits better for your team?”


History

Slack was founded by Stewart Butterfield in 2009 as an internal tool for his company, Tiny speck with 3 other founders. It was released to the public in 2013 and went public in 2019 with a humongous IPO that valued Slack at $19.5 billion. Slack got acquired by Salesforce in 2020 for $27.7 billion. MS Teams, on the other hand, started as an in house project to counter Slack when Satya Nadella chose to pass on the opportunity to acquire Slack for $8 billion in 2016. MS Teams was rolled out in November 2016 and its free version was released in 2018.  Since 2016 there has been legal and marketing jujitsu from both sides, ensuring fierce competition in a red ocean.

1. Messaging

Both the tools have a standard group chat, personal chat, and thread messages. Slack was built as a team messaging app, and most of its core functionality revolves around chat and is a bit more nuanced than MS team since the search and indexing are more advanced. Both the tools have emoji, GIFs and message notifications as a major feature. While Slack has positioned itself as fun at work, MS Teams has tried to get ahead in this aspect with features like in-app meme generator which is quite popular with the users.

Ricotta verdict: Slack


2. UX

Getting started on MS Teams is difficult and time-consuming as compared to Slack and requires patience which only an IT admin can have. Without a Microsoft 365 account, it gets even tougher, as your team will have to start with a professional email ID and then enter CC and other details. Slack, on the other hand, is easy to use, quite similar to installing an app from the app store and logging in with a Gmail SSO. It is even easier to invite and add teammates to Slack as compared to MS Teams as the users will have to be added through Microsoft 365 admin panel. The user interface of Slack is kept simple and not burdened with too many things on the left tab as is the case in MS Teams. Overall MS Teams retains the onboarding tediousness of conventional software, while Slack is light and hip! 

Ricotta verdict: Slack


3. Integrations & bots 

Slack app store has more than double the number of apps as compared to MS Teams app store. Moreover, Slack has a wide range of apps from fun to productivity and there is a lot of overlap when it comes to top apps in both the stores. MS Teams comes with the added advantage of easy integration with office suit, meaning that you can share, view, and edit documents, Excel sheets, and power points on teams, in this regard Slack has to rely on third-party integrations with limitations, but the sheer amount of apps more than compensates for the lack of this feature. The native Slack bot comes with features that can not only assist you with how Slack works, but also set reminders, streamline tasks among other things. While MS Teams has two bots T-bot (similar to Slack bot) and who is a bot (which answers questions like “who does x report to? Who was in the meeting about x? Who did I message about x?) which is powered by Microsoft graph which is a powerful data intelligence platform.

Ricotta verdict: Slack


4. Meeting experience

MS Teams clearly takes the cake here with their experience of building Skype into Teams. On Teams, not only can you have a 250 member team meeting, but also with video audio quality as good as if not better than Zoom. The free tier in Slack allows for 1v1 which has good audio-video quality but not in the same league as MS Teams and the limitation of 15 people per video call in the paid tier clearly suggests that meetings are not a priority for Slack.

Ricotta verdict: Microsoft Teams


5. Security & Support

Both of these products have in-app bots that can help you with most of your queries. If that doesn’t resolve your matter, there are a ton of FAQs and community Q&A, especially for MS Teams, which boast of a 140+ million users base. When it comes to security, both don’t compromise on any factors, but MS team clearly edges Slack. In the cybersecurity compliance framework, there are 4 tiers. MS Teams is categorized under Tier D, meaning it’s at the highest level of compliance commitment and all its services are enabled by default. Admin and data governance controls are also top-notch in MS Teams. Microsoft Teams and Slack are ISO 27001-compliant, but Microsoft adds a heap of other security and compliance certifications for Microsoft Teams, including ISO 27018, SSAE16 SOC 1 and SOC 2, HIPAA, and EU Model Clauses.

Ricotta verdict: Microsoft Teams



6. Channel/team grouping


MS Teams has streamlined knowledge management when it comes to grouping teams and their docs, for instance when a new team is created, a new Office 365 group is created parallel which contains all the docs including one-note, share point, planner, wiki, etc. making it easier for teams to manage projects while on Slack you’ll have to add third-party apps for the same functionality. On Slack, you can automate emails to members of a channel and even add users from other organizations securely (consultant on the client-based project.

Ricotta verdict: Slack


7. Cloud storage

As mentioned in the table, Slack has a 5 GB limit in the free tier, and 10-20 GB per user in the paid, while MS Teams allots 2 GB per user in the free tier with a shared 10 GB space (mostly for Office 365 content) and 1 TB for the whole organization in the paid tier. MS Teams benefits from the scale of Microsoft’s own native cloud services.

Ricotta verdict: MS Teams


Conclusion

While we can’t conclusively claim that Slack is better than MS Teams, we can analyze them on factors like ‘How many things can you get done without leaving the app’. MS Teams clearly has favourable native apps and features like Office 365, cloud, and Microsoft Power BI which is a default ask for many enterprises. It is no doubt that 91 of the fortune 100 companies use MS Teams. Slack is clearly lighter, fun, mobile-friendly and easier to use, along with the infinitely many integrations it has, it is a clear favourable tool for early-stage companies and big companies that focus on mobile communication. 

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