Slack vs. Teams: Which Is Better For Small Businesses?
Since the pandemic hit, collaboration tools have become indispensable. The market’s biggest players are Slack and Microsoft Teams.
There are many factors affecting which of these tools suit a particular team best, so here are some comparisons between the two.
Slack had a head start on Teams and was in the lead for several years. As of September 2019, Slack’s user numbers were around 12 million. However, as of November 2019, Teams enjoyed a period of incredibly steep growth to reach 20 million daily active users. While Slack is still growing, remote work has allowed Teams to have around 75 million daily active users in the first half of 2020.
Overall, Teams firmly has more daily users than Slack. In the start-up sector and with younger (and tech-knowledgeable) workers, however, Slack is far more used than Teams.
On a free plan, Slack gives its users unlimited users and messages. Users can only search a maximum of 10,000 archived messages on a free plan. There is no screen sharing available, and only 1-1 audio and video calls are available.
On the other hand, Teams gives 500,000 users (which for most companies is basically unlimited) and no limit to messages as well. Teams offers screen sharing, team video calls and even video conferencing (small scale though) in their free plan.
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Slack has multiple paid plans. Their standard plan, starting at $6.67 USD/mo, offers all the benefits of the free plan plus all of an organization’s message history, 10GB file storage per user, unlimited integrations, screen sharing, and group audio and video calls with a max of 15 people, collaborations with external parties, user groups, and custom retention policies that can ensure compliance with any regulations at an industry or local level.
Their plus plan costs $12.50 USD/mo and adds on to the above: more advanced security and compliance options, 4-hr response time for support, and each user gets 20GB of storage.
Microsoft doesn’t have specific paid plans just for Teams, but MS 365 plans include more premium versions of Teams and their other apps.
With the Microsoft 365 Business Basic plan, each user pays $5 USD/mo for Microsoft collaboration tools (including Teams but excluding Word, PowerPoint, and others). It offers meeting scheduling, recording, 1TB of OneDrive storage to each user, and security such as single sign-on and MFA. There are also admin tools for managing users and compliance.
The Microsoft 365 Business Standard plan, at $12.50 USD/mo per user gives additional access to the full desktop versions of Excel, Word, and PowerPoint. What this basically means is that an organization could have the premium version of Teams without paying more if they’re already paying for the Microsoft 365 suite.
Slack has a clean UI that’s become the standard in the industry. They’ve really worked at a UI that has a very slick onboarding process so that new users have a tutorial that helps them begin working on Slack easily. Would-be users receive email invitations while adding channels is easily visible on the sidebar. Sending messages is easy as well.
Teams has a similar UI, but there isn’t an interactive step-by-step tutorial like there is in Slack. Creating more channels (here called teams instead) is very similar to how it’s done in Slack as well.
Slack has an immense list of keyboard shortcuts for their web app, and they provide a handy list so that their users can learn them (accessed by command + / on Macs and CTRL + / on other PCs). There are also advanced search options to search for messages.
Teams has also tried to implement similar shortcuts, but they don’t feel as organized or intuitive.
Workflows and bots
Slack’s Slackbot is available in all plans. It helps set reminders, answers questions about use, and even allows users to set up automatic answers (when is the deadline for project A? “the 12th of March”). It has many useful features and is very clever.
Teams has no dedicated chatbot. There are third-party alternatives, but they mostly complete specific tasks. Alternatives like Workbot can help to set up and automate advanced workflows, though.
Teams offers 530+ related apps and integrations available, but Slack has over 2,000! And that’s including all of the key Office 365 apps like Outlook, OneDrive, Calendar, and SharePoint.
Security and compliance
Both tools offer security features that most deem essential in all of their plans. Slack complies with almost all of the basic ISO certifications and organizations can request workspaces to be HIPAA-compliant too (only available in enterprise plans).
Teams has marginally better information management, security, and access control, however.
Which should you pick, Slack or Teams?
The bottom line is, each organization should choose what’s best for them based on their unique needs. We hope that this article has been helpful for you!