We're sure that you recognize both of the solutions for organizing communication of your team or teams. The vast majority of tech-savvy organizations need to have a presence online for exchanging all sorts of information that delivers efficiency and speed for them.
So what are these tools all about? By looking at Slack or Microsoft Teams, we can clearly see their value proposition: to deliver speed and connection within an organization or even multiple organizations. Let's not forget that these tools work in real time and that the biggest goal of having them is to keep all participants in one place for fast information exchange.
For instance, when someone sends an email, there is no expectation to receive the answer in 2, or 5 seconds. Usually, it takes longer and this is where real-time messaging tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams bring efficiency. You need an answer and you get it right there if your teammates treat desktop notifications and the messaging tool function with respect.
The function is the same, but the tools are not. Let's look into some statistics about Microsoft Teams and Slack to see how they fight in the market.
According to businessofapps.com, Microsoft Teams Daily Active Users (DAUs) really took off in 2019 compared to Slack. In 2022, MS Teams has around 270 million of DAUs and Slack only 18 million. What is the reason behind this?
There are 2 main reasons for this difference:
- Microsoft Teams sells Teams as a part of the Microsoft Office 365 package and has the reach advantage.
- Microsoft did better marketing during the COVID-19 crisis in a way that presents MS Teams and Office 365 as a catch-all solution for those affected by the pandemic.
Worth to mention, that Slack is unhappy with the situation in the market and complains (even through filing an anti-trust lawsuit) that Microsoft playing unfairly. Also, there were statements from the Slack side that Microsoft covers up the actual numbers of their DAUs.
Feature set differences
Microsoft Teams and Slack both have almost all of the features that you could possibly think of for organizing and exchanging information in various formats. When we say that nearly all, the left space is filled in with custom apps/bots that you can install to your Slack or Teams workspace.
Let's begin with the environment for conversations. Both platforms have them organized in channels (Slack calls them channels, MS Teams - teams). They can be public or private where you can invite desired colleagues only. But that's not all, there are also private chats. Both tools support one-on-one private messaging. You can also choose to open a private chat with multiple members if it's temporary and it doesn't make sense to open a new channel or a team.
Forgot some details about a chat with your colleague(s)? You can find it by performing full-text search over your messaging history and find that conversation that you need. Both platforms support comprehensive searching over your chat history. Please be aware that with the free Slack plan, you won't be able to search for more than 10,000 messages in history.
File sharing is something that is a must for any chatting experience. No matter if it's a document or a screenshot, both platforms get you covered.
What if you need anyone outside your company to join a channel or team to get their input? The guest feature is there for both platforms. Slack has fewer limitations and more flexibility, so keep that in mind if your business is about working with other companies a lot.
Screen sharing is always a handy feature to have. Both platforms have it but Slack doesn't include it in the free package, unfortunately.
Video and audio one-on-one meetings are without limitations working in both solutions. Please remember that MS Teams restricts conference call members of up to 250 users and Slack to up to 15 members.
Needless to say, Microsoft Teams and Slack have a presence on the Web, Desktop, and Mobile apps.
Another big feature is the social element of both solutions. Yes, that's right - almost anyone can create a bot or an app and install it on the appropriate platform. Microsoft and Slack created pretty good communities of developers who create apps and bots for integration with external services or just as helpers to solve daily routines or similar chores. Check out Microsoft Teams Marketplace and Slack App Directory to see how much you can do additionally by installing those apps. Please be aware, that not all of them are free of charge.
These are the main features of both solutions. Of course, Microsoft Teams and Slack have different implementations of smaller features such as Giphy, Emojis, Configuration Panels, etc. that are different, but that require a deeper look than in this article we can afford.
There are fundamental 2 rules to consider before deciding who is the winner in terms of pricing:
- How big the scale of usage do you need (storage space, user amount, etc.)?
- Do you need anything extra apart from a communication tool?
Answering these two questions will lead to a proper decision in terms of pricing.
The first question is related to the fact that Microsoft Teams has way fewer limitations and a lower price ($4 user/month vs. $6.67 user/month) for allocated resources available. You can get 250 for a video conference in Microsoft Teams while Slack limits it to 15 people. Quite a difference.
Talking about the storage of files, Slack offers up to 20GB of storage for each user compared to Microsoft Teams which gives 1TB per organization plus 10GB per user. Calculate yourself because what is the best depends on your organization's size.
The biggest advantage that Microsoft Teams offers is that each user that you pay for, gets not only a communication platform but all the Office 365 package which includes email, calendar, documents, and much more straight out of the box. This is one of the driving factors why Microsoft is winning in terms of DAUs.
However, if you're really serious about making the best out of an internal communication tool, Slack offers more than 2000 apps/bots that you can install and enrich your communication chores solving. Microsoft Teams has around 500 of them, so clearly the community side of the tool is not their competitive advantage.
Again, answering the two questions will help you to choose. Our recommendation is to choose Microsoft Teams for enterprises and Slack for smaller teams.
Depending on your organization's members, it's also important to evaluate how hard it is to use the communication platform. In any case, technology develops fast and it is hard to know all the tricks that each platform offers for more productive work, however, basic knowledge should be obtained fast.
Microsoft Teams integration into your company might be harder than Slack. Especially if you've never used Office 365. The nature of Microsoft Teams as a part of a big solution creates certain obstacles to installing Teams compared to Slack.
Slack is a dedicated platform for one goal (communication among team members), and this is why you can set up it in a matter of 10 minutes, while Microsoft Teams requires more details for doing that and it can take days to understand everything for a new person in the Microsoft game.
Our recommendation is to use Slack for small or medium-sized teams that rely on GSuite or other bundled software packages excluding Microsoft.
If you are using Microsoft products such as Office 365 or your company is pretty big, Microsoft Teams would be a better option.
Please take this advice with the disclaimer of specific needs factor.