Microsoft Teams is a chat-based platform taking on email clutter. It allows offices and teams to operate more freely and be productive. The launch is a clear signal that Microsoft is taking on Slack in the office communications market.
Teams will be widely available only to Office 365 customers in Q1 2017. But those with Office 365 Enterprise or Business plans are able to preview it today, see below for more details.
Microsoft’s solution has an obvious benefit over its competitors. Native integration with Microsoft Office. Word, Excel, PowerPoint, SharePoint, OneNote, Planner, Power BI and Delve are all built-in. Users can easily collaborate in threaded conversations that focus on content.
The platform focuses on group conversations and document collaboration with the ability to start video and audio conferences. Private conversations between members are also available in a few clicks.
The video below shows off Office integration, conversations and conferencing:
Slack v Microsoft Teams
On their face, Slack and Microsoft Teams look to be naturally competing products as chat-based collaboration platforms for groups. However there are significant differences between them.
As Ed Bott for ZDNet points out, Slack is a product in its own right. While Microsoft Teams is more of a value-add to Office 365.
Slack is highly competitive for businesses looking to reduce their email footprint. Teams can get started in minutes on Slack's free tier, which offers enough features to get a feel for the service. By contrast, Microsoft Teams requires a full Office 365 Business or Enterprise subscription. That could be a huge roadblock for businesses not looking to move off their current Office licenses.
For businesses considering the move to Office 365 and reducing their email burden, this may be an offer that solves two problems with one solution. It may even be more cost-effective than Slack.
Office 365 administrators can start the Teams preview in the Office 365 admin centre. Click Settings > Services & Add Ins> Microsoft Teams.
If you'd like to know more about Microsoft Teams, Slack and which can work for your business, contact your Sentrian Client Services Manager.