Stop Comparing Teams to Slack

There, I said it. I said the S word. More specifically Teams versus Slack. And no, I don’t hate Slack. I think its great actually! It has it’s place as do most productivity tools do. Heck, I still use it for our DnD sessions! But that’s because I don’t need anything more complicated than a private messaging platform. I’m not crazy… Just hear me out.

I recently saw an article from the University of Technology Sydney that said Slack lost the showdown with Teams, and I’m still bitter about it. and I thought it was an interesting read.

Their not the same, stop comparing them like they are

Mainly because I think their selection method was a little misguided. 90 seconds to pitch one against the other in a public audience seems silly especially when they are both different things.

It’s like comparing a Motorbike to a Ute. The Motorbike can get somewhere really quickly. But it has to call its mates as soon as you need to carry something other than a backpack. The Ute however can get somewhere quickly and carry stuff with music and aircon and has the added benifit of airbags in case someone hits you.

Image result for Motorbike vs ute
Or you could just have both?

In my mind teams is not designed to be “Slack competitor” alot of people think it is because its “Chat first”
As far as I’m concerned (Yes, I have been at Ignite this year and drinking a bit of kool-aid recently) Teams has alot more on Slack out of the box.

Yeah sure there are heaps more apps for Slack than Teams and more IT Pro features but that’s because it was born out of a developer centric mindset where we automate and know keyboard shortcuts for everything.  

I am well aware the English is bad here, that’s the joke)

Teams guiding light seems to be embracing the entire workflow, not just the code cutters or the discussion on something before farming the document storage off to another app. Adding with it another account and another set of compliance headaches.

So a business unit can pickup Teams and with a few clicks has SharePoint, OneDrive, native collaborative editing (no fiddling about in google docs settings), Calling, Meetings with PSTN dial in and Video for their next project! All with very little interaction with “The department of No!” (the IT Dept)

This lets us focus on making the experience better rather than trying prove to higher ups that all these third party solutions are compliant. With a simple “It’s stored in our existing Office365 tenant” you have turned weeks of auditing and emails back and forth into a non-discussion.

Image result for compliance meme

Add to that that Teams has the engineering nouce of the Skype for Business team behind the AV side and you start to see how having everything in one product makes sense.

You’re not going to see Slack based phones or Meeting room devices anytime soon. Sure, I’ve been fighting for headset’s first for years. (Look at all my headset reviews) But they don’t always fit the bill. Sometimes you need a phone at Reception for when its unattended, a paging system, a door phone at a loading dock. All things I don’t see an elegant solution when using a chat focused app like Slack or even Discord for that matter.

What about when you need to call that external call center? Are you going to send them an invite to install Slack? or are you going to call them on the phone?

Image result for audiocodes teams phone

I’d be interested to see your thoughts below.

4 thoughts on “Stop Comparing Teams to Slack

  1. Jonathan McKinney

    What teams did… is that it brought together many of the unwieldy pieces of Office365 that required a lot of heavy lifting for users to utilize each of the different pieces. SharePoint and OneDrive for business could sometimes be hard to navigate. People would have all these conversations over email, but wouldn’t necessarily find it easy to categorize them and certainly those coming to the party late (because they were added to the discussion)… may not see much of what was discussed. Teams gave us a way to organize all these different types of content and have conversations around it. One could argue that you could accomplish the same with Slack… but for organizations that were already heavily embedded in a Microsoft world… it’s hard to argue that it doesn’t make Office365 better.

    The AV piece is a key feature that slack can’t compete with, but I’m not convinced everyone will move their AV to the cloud in droves. It works for some… others it doesn’t.

    The bottom line is that it’s a tool… one of many organizations can use. It’s effectiveness will depend on a critical mass of people using it. To accomplish that… it has to be pushed from the top down because many users in the Microsoft world don’t like to change habits. Slack has the same fundamental issue of needing critical mass except that it’s core base of users tend to search actively for tools to make their lives easier (aka the developer), where Microsoft Teams doesn’t necessarily have the same type of user base.

  2. Adiamis

    It is a great article. I am just mindful of IT dep’s setting up teams with a ‘few clicks’. Setting up a non governed solution without involving the Business properly can confuse users and end up in a bad product. If users and business know what they are doing and not just turning it on, then it’s ok. 🙂 Same as with Slack. Slack is just easily adopted because it is Dev based, as you said. Therefore there is a cult around it – like with Apple…

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