February 23, 2024

Teams vs Slack: Which to Choose?



5 min reading

A comprehensive comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of the most popular collaborative tools on the market: Microsoft Teams vs Slack.

For several years now, the importance of online communication tools in the professional environment has been undeniable. This importance has been further strengthened with the emergence of remote work, followed by hybrid work, and the necessity for employees to stay connected. Online communication tools also serve as substitutes for emails, which are increasingly criticized for their time-consuming and limited nature.

Today, the most well-known (and perhaps most widely used by businesses) are Teams and Slack. The former belongs to Microsoft, while the latter belongs to the Salesforce group.

The objective of this article is to help you choose the best tool for your needs. So, will it be Teams or Slack? What are the characteristics of each? Here's what you need to know.

Overview of Microsoft Teams

Historical Background and Evolution

Microsoft Teams is a collaborative application in SaaS mode, launched in 2017 by Microsoft. It is integrated with Microsoft 365 and available in 181 countries. In 2019, Microsoft Teams had 13 million daily users, compared to 10 million for Slack. Four years later, in 2023, it had over 300 million active daily users!

Teams is fully customizable and incorporates numerous features: video conferencing, file storage and transfer with SharePoint, instant messaging, team meeting scheduling, etc.

Key Features of Teams

Instant Messaging

Teams offers an instant messaging tool that allows instant communication with team members. This includes written messages as well as calls or screen sharing. Another noteworthy feature is the ability to record audio messages in case of absence from the office.

Audio and Video Calls

Teams allows for audio and video calls. These calls can be made internally, meaning with organization members who use Teams, as well as externally. In the latter case, the recipient will be reached via their phone number.

Integration with Microsoft Applications

Teams is fully integrated with Microsoft 365, which is a significant advantage. It is thus possible to associate it with other Microsoft applications, such as SharePoint or OneDrive.

File Storage and Sharing

All files created in Teams are stored in the OneDrive application on the left side of Teams for the desktop. They can then be shared in a conversation or in one or more channels. It's quick and easy.

Overview of Slack

Historical Background and Evolution

Slack is a collaborative platform launched in 2014 by four American entrepreneurs. Its name is an acronym for Searchable Log of All Conversation and Knowledge. Slack operates like a chat, structured in channels that correspond to discussion topics. The platform allows for file sharing and keeps a record of all exchanges. It also integrates external services such as Dropbox or Google Drive.

In 2022, it had over 18 million active users worldwide.

Key Features of Slack

Communication Channels

Slack operates through channels, which allow for organizing daily work: it's possible to create one for each project or each team. The goal is to prioritize conversations and tasks. In each channel, all members can work together and have access to the same information. New members of a channel immediately have access to its entire content.

Third-party Integrations

It is possible to integrate third-party applications and customize them. Thus, more than 1,800 third-party integrations are available, in addition to internal applications and workflows.

Advanced Search Features

Slack makes all files and messages shared in public channels accessible through an advanced search feature. Results are sorted by categories: messages, files, channels, and people.

Interface Customization

It is possible to change and personalize the default theme in Slack, using several means: adding a photo/avatar, choosing a notification sound, choosing custom mode and colors, changing the time zone, defining "Do Not Disturb" hours, etc. This results in a fully personalized user experience.

Teams/Slack: Feature Comparison

Messaging and Real-Time Communication

Both applications allow for sending messages and making voice and video calls. However, Teams has an advantage in this regard, as calls are limited to 80 people on the free version, compared to 15 people for Slack.

User Interface

Slack stands out with an interactive and customizable interface. The user experience is smooth and intuitive. Teams, on the other hand, offers a slightly more complex interface with many vertical and horizontal tabs. However, once accustomed, the tool remains accessible and easy to use.

Notification Management

Integrations allow connecting third-party tools to Slack or Teams to centralize all notifications. Thus, there is no real difference in this regard.

Collaboration and File Sharing

Whether it's Slack or Teams, both applications are excellent internal communication tools, offering numerous features (messaging, audio and video calls, real-time file sharing, etc.). Moreover, they both integrate with other tools. However, Slack might better suit a small or medium-sized structure due to its less standardized aspect.

Integrations and Compatibility

In addition to being integrated with Microsoft 365, Teams offers 180 integrations. It is thus possible to associate it with Microsoft software like SharePoint. As for Slack, the platform offers over 800 integrations. However, the free version is limited to 10 integrations: to enjoy extended features, it's necessary to use the paid version.

Teams vs slack: features
Source: Kinsta

Security and Compliance

Access Controls and Data Privacy

What about the security and data privacy issues? The tools are relatively comparable in this regard, although in terms of security, Microsoft might offer better guarantees. Thus, they both offer essential features such as two-factor authentication. They are also compliant with the ISO/IEC 27001 standard.

As for data privacy, Slack allows companies to read their employees' private messages. Teams goes a step further by providing employers with easy access to user activity dashboards. For example, these dashboards indicate the time spent writing messages or participating in video calls. This extensive data sharing could be seen as encroaching on employees' privacy.

Pricing and Subscription Models

Pricing Models for Microsoft Teams

Teams offers several pricing models for individuals and businesses.

For SMEs, the Teams Essentials subscription is priced at €3.70 per month, while the Microsoft 365 Business Standard offering (with access to more features) is priced at €11.70 per month.

For individuals, the basic Teams model is free.

Pricing Models for Slack

For small businesses, Slack offers a subscription at €6.75 per month. Medium-sized companies, on the other hand, have access to a subscription at €11.75 per month. Note that there is also a free version, but it is limited in the features it offers.

Conclusion: Slack or Teams, What to Consider

At the end of this article, one question arises: should Slack or Teams be favored as an internal communication tool?

There is, of course, no one-size-fits-all answer, as it depends on the specifics and needs of your company. For example, a very large company will not have the same needs as a small-scale structure. If you simply need an intuitive and easy-to-use communication tool without advanced features, Slack can perfectly fit the bill. However, Teams excels in certain areas (such as video conferencing), which is an undeniable advantage for some companies. Additionally, its free plan offers a greater number of features, and its basic plan is half the price of Slack's.

It is worth noting, furthermore, that the integration of Teams into Microsoft 365 is a real advantage if the company is already a customer.

Finally, it should be noted that currently, Slack and Teams are among the largest collaborative platforms. Whether in terms of efficiency or features, both are true essentials. The difference will thus be based on your company's needs, but also potentially on pricing, with Teams offering a more advantageous pricing model than Slack.

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