Updated: Jul 23
In 2019, the team collaboration software industry reached a total net worth of $9.5 billion globally. It's been over a year since the onset of the global pandemic, which has drastically altered the corporate industry. Companies have shifted towards remote work, making such collaboration tools more crucial than ever. We have two main giants dominating the industry - namely Slack and Microsoft Teams, but which is better? In today's article, we break it down for you - from features, pricing and user experience, to help you decide which is best suited for you.
In terms of features, both are rather evenly matched. Slack may hold the upperhand in some, while Teams take the edge above others. Collaboration with outside teams is more limited with Microsoft. It has a limit of five users even on paid plans unless you buy more licenses, where Slack allows unlimited external collaboration with paid plans.
Slack provides one-on-one calling in its free version which upgrades to 15 participants with screen sharing capability when using a paid plan. However, with Teams, even with the free version you can host meetings with up to 250 people. With a paid plan, you can use Teams live events to host large meetings, webinars, and company-wide events with up to 10,000 attendees inside or outside your organization.
When deciding on a solution, it is important to determine which interface will help your company maximise productivity. That is why both are jam-packed with integrated features that allow you to work entirely within the same interface and increase efficiency. Slack’s free mode limits app integrations to 10, but with a paid plan, provides over 2,400 third-party apps for users. If you use another productivity app at work, there’s a very good chance it’s compatible with Slack. Teams falls short with only around 250 integrated apps, but builds off the powerful Office 365 platform to provide seamless integration with companies already onboard with Microsoft.
Which platform gives you more bang for your buck? If you’re looking for something to start with, both Slack and Teams offer generous free plans. The key difference here is that Slack only lets you search up to 10,000 archived messages in free workspaces, while Teams does not have any artificial limit, letting you search your entire message history freely. Teams also includes screen sharing, which is a paid feature in Slack. Overall, Microsoft Teams’ free plan has more unlocked features than Slack’s and fewer limitations.
However, bigger companies may quickly feel the limitations of these options, and opt for something more extensive. For paid plans, Slack offers a basic plan for $6.67, while Teams is priced at $5. While Teams is slightly cheaper, it's not a significant difference to give it an edge. The Business plans for Slack and Teams are both priced at $12.50. However, if your business is already paying for Microsoft 365 Suite, this includes access to Teams premium. Hence Microsoft comes out superior in terms of pricing.
Slack’s user interface has become the new industry standard, with its sleek design that will take any user from clueless to pro at using the platform to collaborate and manage projects. It also offers more interface customisation. On the other hand, Teams is more cluttered in comparison and can take more time to set up properly.
Slack users can instantly message anyone directly, even if they are outside your organisation. Users can send a "DM link" to an employee in any other organisation (Using another form of social media of course), and when they accept this invite link, a conversation window will be generated. What's great about this feature, and what sets it apart from Microsoft Teams, is that your internal and external conversations can be integrated into the same list. Microsoft Teams makes external chats a little more long-winded (We're talking two clicks more, but in the grand scheme of tech, this is just too much!), where if you are invited to an external organisation, you'll have to switch between organisations manually to access your conversations for each organisation.
The update is part of Slack's plan to eradicate the painful task of companies pinging out emails to one another, only to never know when they are read, as well as never knowing if someone is away from their desk or not. This handy new feature will make it even more simple to connect with clients you meet who may already have Slack too. You can tweet out your conversation invite to people, or even print a QR code onto your business cards, so that clients can connect with you on a more direct level.
In 2021, Slack expects to roll out a "verified organisations" feature, where an organisation can be shown as trusted, rather than just a single user. This will make for safer integration of chats between different companies over the platform as remote working becomes more mainstream.
Overall, Slack is a bit more familiar and comfortable, given its easy user interface and competitive pricing model. For that reason, it’s the ideal choice for smaller businesses and teams looking for a reliable collaboration tool to help them boost productivity and keep up with rapid growth.
Microsoft Teams is better suited for larger, more complex companies. If a company already subscribes to Office or Microsoft 365, connecting with Teams is a great solution in terms of features and pricing. In particular, Teams’ more advanced video conferencing should be a huge attraction for companies with remote workers scattered across the globe.