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Meet Microsoft Teams – Microsoft’s Answer to Slack

By:Christine Fettinger

Meet Teams – Microsoft’s Answer To Slack

Microsoft’s platforms for group chat and collaboration in the workplace have previously played second fiddle to Slack. Now with Teams, Microsoft is posing direct competition to Slack.

Microsoft Teams is not pioneering anything that has not been done before with other workplace collaboration tools. In fact, Teams almost resembles a new version of Slack. Both have very similar user interfaces and use the same general ‘channels’ as well as having assistant bots, and animated GIFs, emojis, and stickers.

What Microsoft is bringing to the table with Teams is a tool that utilizes their already existing strengths in Office, Azure, Skype, Exchange servers, and security – Teams has seamlessly integrated the Office 365 experience. Every app in the cloud-based Microsoft suite is in Teams as a custom tab format. By selecting “Add Tab” in a particular team, whichever Office 365 app you need will essentially replicate the app’s full functionality without leaving Microsoft Teams. Additionally, when a team is created, a SharePoint directory is automatically provisioned behind the scenes with a folder representing every channel, so content is more searchable and easier to interact with than in Slack. Skype’s video communication is deeply integrated so it is easy for groups to participate in voice and video conferences.

Microsoft Teams goes a step further with security than Slack. Although both Microsoft Teams and Slack encrypt data, messages, and files in transit and at rest as well as enforcing two-factor authentication, Microsoft Teams gives deeper admin controls when paired with the Office 365 Admin Center. Admins can control whether to add various kinds of content and choose how user’s profiles are configured. Both Microsoft Teams and Slack are ISO 27001 compliant, but Teams has additional security and compliance certifications including ISO 27018, SSAE16 SOC 1, SOC 2, HIPAA and EU Model Clauses.

Teams appears to have improved some areas of Slack that users found annoying including a feature that has been a common complaint of Slack – email-style threading. While Slack finally released email style threading in January, Team’s has had it since day one. Unlike Slack, where you do quick /gif or /giphy commands and hope for the best, Teams allows you to see a list of GIF search results to choose from. Teams also has its own custom meme-generator. Teams’ T-bot is similar to Slack’s Slackbot in that it helps you answer questions using data in Microsoft Teams. However, Teams also adds WhoBot which can answer questions about specific employees. With WhoBot, you could search for subject matter experts in your company or see who reports to who.

For businesses that already have Office 365 enterprise subscriptions, Microsoft Teams seems ideal since Teams is a free add-on for business tier users and so seamlessly integrates Microsoft applications these users are already using. For smaller businesses looking for a fast workplace collaboration platform, Slack may be able to fit their needs better since it can be cheaper, is a stand-alone product, and can allow people outside an organization participate in a team more easily.

For more information about the latest Microsoft technologies and how they can help your business, get in touch with CyberStreams right away at (425) 2_74-1121 or sales@cyberstreams.com.