Microsoft Teams vs. Slack: What’s the difference?

Published on 2020-03-02

Microsoft Teams vs. Slack: What’s the difference?

Collaboration is central to a team's success. Teams and Slack offer unified communication, file storage and application integration, aiming to make workflow easier for everyone. 

The collaboration software market was once dominated by Slack. Teams have since stepped into the ring with its competing software and shaken things up. Teams have used Microsoft’s arsenal to its advantage, leveraging the popular Office 365 service to bundle Teams. This strategy had made an impact with the Team’s user count reaching over 13 million last year, overtaking Slack.

Despite the numbers, when taking a quick look at the two services, it can be hard to distinguish the differences and understand why Teams is the more popular platform. We've taken an in-depth look into the differences between Teams and Slack to help you make a more informed decision about which aspects make the most difference for the user experience and which software to select for your growing business. 



Both communication tools offer a centralized search bar with the ability to search for and within chats and files. For example, users can utilise the search bar on either platform to find a particular phrase within a document, whether that be a pdf or spreadsheet.


Quick Commands

The central search bar is also home to the quick commands feature. The quick commands are helpful tools to help shortcut your way to specific actions. Slack users use the / button to access these commands. When using Teams, typing either @ or / will access quick commands where you can do things like setting your status, see your mentions or get help.


Conversation Threads

A key part of these collaboration tools is the ability to create conversation threads. The features make conversations in teams much more straightforward as users can differentiate between conversations, messages and responses. 

The way that this feature varies between the two is in the availability under private conversations as Teams only allows conversation threads available in channels. Slack, on the other hand, makes conversation threads available in private conversations and users can easily see which train of thought each user is responding to.

Within the conversation threads, the plain text and tagging aspects are similar on both services. Both also support GIFs but Teams' method proves to be a slightly easier way for users to convey their messages with a toolbar at the bottom providing access to a library of GIFs and stickers. Slack is less straightforward and requires users to enter a command, like “/giphy image name". Slack does also offer things like Bitmoji integration but the features are not as easily accessed as those within Teams.


App Integration

Each service has a different advantage when it comes to app integration. Off the bat, Slack appears to be the better option, with its ability to integrate with over 800 third-party apps. Teams can only integrate with just over 180 external apps, a small number in comparison. However, Teams has the added ability to integrate with the multitude of Office 365 applications. This means that teams referencing apps like Outlook, Word and Excel can easily unite them within the communication. In addition, Teams allows for real-time collaboration within the Team app itself, meaning team members don't have to leave the app to review a document or spreadsheet and can edit alongside their team members.

If you use another productivity app at work, there’s a very good chance it’s compatible with Slack. An example of the most popular integrations includes Simple Poll, GrowthBot, Tettra, and Google Drive.


Content Sharing

When the content sharing feature was first released with Slack it received a lot of praise. The new and exciting feature was a notable addition giving users the ability to easily and quickly share content with their peers. 

The way to gauge how this could benefit your business is to look at your company's main file collaboration source. Obviously, with Teams, files are shared from the Office 365 platform whereas Slack works effectively with Google Drive documents. Slack does not offer the added benefit of internal editing. Users would need to download the attachment and then edit it externally.


Web conferencing

With Slack’s free plan users have access to unlimited 1-to-1 voice or video calls. Users that wish to add in additional callers in a single conference require a paid plan. Once upgraded to the paid plan conference calls can support up to 15 simultaneous callers.

In the case of web conferencing, it is clear that Teams' feature is far superior. On all tiers, including the free version, users can create a voice or video conference with up to 250 people. Not only does it offer a larger capacity but it also provides the ability to record meetings and provide screen sharing. Screen sharing is only available for Slack users in higher tiers and meeting recordings are not offered at all.


Data Protection

While both services offer data encryption and two-factor authentication, Microsoft has the upper hand when it comes to data protection. Teams' integration with the Microsoft Admin Center means the service offers secure admin controls and givers companies more control over their security.


Teams vs Slack Inforgraphic

As a company or team member, you’ll know how frustrating it can be to productively collaborate with a team when your tools are difficult to work with. For example, you may need to work with multiple different people on a single element within a project. When communication with those team members is reliant on a collaboration tool it can be crucial that your team is using the right one. That’s why the small features make the biggest difference. 

From our analysis, Slack appears to have all the core aspects required but Teams slick integration with Office 365 takes it a step further. Though you can connect to Google Drive with Slack the close connection between Office and Teams makes small tasks like editing and sharing just that much easier. There are so many more possibilities when Teams is guiding and facilitating your collaboration efforts. 


At Walvis Technologies we have helped many businesses make the switch to Microsoft Office 365 and subsequently Microsoft Teams. With our expertise, we make the move as straightforward as possible and are there to support your company through any teething problems once it's installed. If you think Microsoft Teams might be the right collaboration software for you then get in contact with us.

Don't just take our word for it, take a look at our process on our Microsoft 365 page and follow our social media for the latest Microsoft updates and features.


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