MS Teams vs. Zoom and Slack: The Most Powerful Work Tools for IT Companies
The year of the coronavirus crisis and pandemic has led to the fact that companies are working less and less in a live mode, using remote collaboration technologies. This leads to the emergence of communication difficulties within companies since the tools that are used in the working environment do not always show their productivity. Communication channels and transmission of important information often fail or simply have some technical limitations. This leads to the fact that employees get tired, never having managed to get a solution to the problem. Besides, remote control does not provide an opportunity to be involved and know about all business decisions made in the company. Isolation, both physical and mental, becomes a visible barrier to work. Specialists who used to be directly aware of the company’s affairs in the office are now far away.
Separation from employees also takes away motivation and interest. Without a team, it is very difficult to stay focused on the joint business and not lose passion.
For those who find themselves in such a situation, we have prepared a selection and comparative characteristics of various platforms for remote collaboration that companies use to balance the lack of personal contact due to quarantine measures.
The most effective platforms for working meetings of IT corporations in 2021
Spiceworks, a Texas-based professional network that develops tools for IT teams, identified the best working platforms for online collaboration that cover the most useful features.
Among them, the company’s chief expert, the so-called Spicehead, named the most advanced, according to polls:
- MS Teams (chosen by 46% of respondents)
- Zoom (preferred by 29%)
- Slack (chosen by 10%)
- Trello and Gsuite (named as suitable by 5% of respondents)
- Asana, Monday, and Webex Teams (collectively scored the remaining 5%)
As it later turned out, most of the people who took part in the survey chose several of these tools, using them in combination to achieve maximum results.
The most popular choice among all the options is Microsoft Teams. But what it is and how it works, is still worth understanding.
At the heart of Microsoft Teams is a dedicated chat that allows companies and all employees who use it to maintain work communication and exchange data within one single platform with support for all products from the Microsoft Office 365 suite.
Besides, MS Teams has a unique direct chat feature. It includes both a public channel and the possibility of private communication. And also the Skype video is embedded in the program. This makes social functions even more accessible. Moreover, various gifs can be used in the chat such as smilies and memes, which makes communication more friendly and less businesslike, if there is a need for it.
All applications in one space
At the same time, another important function deserves attention. It can be easily found under the name “Hub”. It is a dedicated workspace that includes many useful applications such as Planner, Word, Delve, PowerBI, OneNote, PowerPoint, Excel, SharePoint.
Its unique function is that all these applications are collected in one space and employees do not need to constantly switch from one program to another.
Employees who have used Microsoft Teams said that the ability to interactively use online whiteboards and collaborate on screen is one of the platform’s powerful perks. Also, they were pleased with the idea of exchanging documents in different places at the same time and the method of chatting, involving not only one office. It is these functions that have become the most frequently used in this program for remote collaboration.
Online conferences for everyone
Another important nuance is the ability to communicate in online meetings even for those participants who, for some reason, are outside the company at the moment. This also applies to invited specialists. Moreover, the video conferencing function operates within this framework. This opportunity is one of the most demanded tools.
However, as many know, companies tend to share these functions across multiple platforms at the same time. For example, thanks to the Zoom platform, all external meetings scheduled by the company are held. And with Microsoft Teams, only internal meetings, board, and screen demos for team members.
Since IT corporations often rely on Microsoft Teams to keep their employees working together, almost all of them need to receive monitoring notifications directly in the platform’s chat. It is worth noting that LogicMonitor has the right to use the Microsoft Teams API to broadcast alerts through HTTP. Besides, it is important to constantly check command messages, various calls that are made in the company, and their proper quality. Also, user activity itself, the quality of personal messages, and device verification are taken into service processing.
Note that it is LogicMonitor that deals with these workflows, using the cloud method to monitor this platform. This makes it possible to obtain important data such as indicators of the quality of communication, messages, calls, the operation of various devices. Precisely because the cloud is one of the most accessible resources.
Furthermore, the rate of collaboration will increase if they use both MS Teams and the entire Microsoft Office 365 suite. If you suddenly decide to check the level of team performance, look at the tools that the team uses for internal communication.
Thanks to MS Teams, it is the easiest way to get to the centralized management console of O365. And Microsoft Teams itself is a free add-on to the Office 365 suite.
Microsoft Teams and Zoom: which one is cooler?
Companies are often accustomed to using Zoom as the most reliable online meeting tool, especially when it comes to external business partners and connections. Compared to Microsoft Teams, both of these sites work with a video conferencing format, chats, both public and private, and virtual meeting rooms, shared use of screens and monitors, and a joint base for files.
The only difference is that Microsoft Office 365 products make it possible to stay in one working system and not switch to other sites to enter an online conference. Zoom is more difficult, it is more highly specialized and one way or another requires the use of other channels for storing information.
However, the only drawback is that this very approach can limit and complicate access to the site for unregistered users or external partners of the company. Therefore, IT companies often simply use another platform, such as Zoom, to reduce the time it takes to solve the technical nuances of video conferencing. The interface of this program is accessible and well-known; this is another distinctive feature by which non-regular participants in online meetings are offered to use it.
One of the fundamental problems is security because sometimes very serious issues are discussed in large companies, which affect both the financial and strategic plans. To avoid information leakage in MS Teams, end-to-end data encryption occurs, this applies to all information processing processes, both storage, and its direct transfer. Microsoft provides support for client rights coordination services and multi-factor authentication specifically for this.
After the outbreak of the coronavirus and the general quarantine, users have increasingly complained about the lack of privacy on the platform.
However, it is worth noting that both Zoom and MS Teams are quite open to the user and provide them with platforms with an updated interface free, which is good news. Besides, there are premium packages for advanced users with improved features. But, surprisingly, their cost is not that great.
Choosing between Zoom and MS Teams it is difficult to find which one will become an unprecedented leader since everything depends on the needs of a particular team of specialists, their tasks, and capabilities.
Many IT companies use these two platforms in tandem to solve different problems. For example, Zoom for meetings outside the company and MS Teams for internal meetings.
They are easy to combine. Provided that the company has developed rules and regulations, integrating the two bases will not be a problem at all. LogicMonitor is often easy to use, as it allows you to track Zoom, and the platform package itself can be combined with any other recordings.
Microsoft Teams vs. Slack
We have already said a lot about MS Teams, but what Slack is, you will now find out.
This is a special platform with a fairly simple and interesting interface, where you can freely communicate using messages. It works based on channels and the chat itself. A distinctive feature of Slack is applications and bots that are seamlessly integrated. This helps to improve and to some extent even accelerate the use of the platform by users.
Registration on the site is also not difficult. If something is suddenly not clear, special shortcuts and tips are placed in the tab to improve the quality and performance of the program.
But in terms of features, Slack is practically no different from MS Teams. Both platforms offer public and secret or private chats. For the convenience of users, you can turn to the search in the history of correspondence and find the information you need in a matter of seconds. A handy feature is also the ability to share the screen with all team members; document archives and files are shared too. A nice bonus was a set of smiles and gifs, which are very helpful during friendly collective correspondence. On both platforms, you will find a free version with lots of updates. And if these features aren’t enough for you, you can always buy the paid version.
Why not Slack?
Slack is a great platform, but when it comes to the exact best practices for using equal MS Teams, it’s not. The fact is that Microsoft is the best adapted for sharing video and audio on the network. Another trump card of MS Teams is the advantage in the reliability and safety of your data. It provides the best security system for your information, complying with all the necessary protocols.
In addition to end-to-end data encryption and strict adherence to Microsoft regulations, when you buy MS Teams, you get a package of advanced administrative management capabilities compared to other platforms.
Other options for collaborative online IT tools
Below we will talk about not so popular, but still existing platforms for remote teamwork.
They are ranked lower in the rating, but they can become an alternative to the most famous options, of course, if the company does not have many resources or for some other reason.
So, in the Google software package, you can find their personal development for online collaboration. It is convenient, and just like MS Teams, it can be used if you have O365 installed.
You can find it under the name Google Meet. It can be used by both legal entities and individuals, which is convenient for business representatives. If the user has a G Suite Essentials account or just Gmail, signing in to a Google Meet account shouldn’t be a problem. However, not all functions are in open use. For example, if you need to organize a chat for more than 1 hour, then you should worry about a paid subscription. Since in the free version you can only get a 60-minute meeting. If the corporation already has a G Suite Essentials account and a paid subscription to it, this option will be quite convenient and reliable.
Also, as noted by some company employees, it is Google Meet that has a very simple interface. In this regard, MS Teams will not be predominant.
Cisco Webex ‒ Another Remote Site
Cisco Webex is one of the leading platforms in its line of video conferencing and online meeting platforms. In general, the platform is very similar to such as Google Meet, MS Teams, and Zoom. It is possible to hold conferences, both in a group and in person, as well as use a joint integration library and a bank with files. Besides, the security on this platform will not be affected, since there are all the necessary tools to protect it.
A little more about the platforms: Trello, Asana, and Monday
These applications are often used in sales, HR technologies, to manage their projects. And also as customer support, marketing, and various business ideas. Thanks to them, it is possible to track various work processes, manage them and create new projects. Moreover, it is possible to use them in conjunction with other technologies, such as video devices, file sharing functions, chats, etc.
A combination of tools for remote teamwork
2020 was a watershed year for almost all corporations, especially those, who did not have a wide practice of working online. During this time, they had to adapt their employees to new conditions to preserve the corporate culture, high work productivity, motivation, and communication within the company.
This is why large corporations often use more than one tool for joint team projects. This is a line of programs that ensures the smooth operation of the company.
Remote employees still had to go through the path of adaptation and this required a lot of means for additional communication. Since being isolated, they could no longer fully delve into all the affairs of the company.
Sometimes a combination of tools works more effectively. So, LogicMonitor used the following set:
- for internal chat ‒ the Slack platform;
- for the exchange of data by email, management of calendars, and access to the file database ‒ G Suite;
- Zoom platform was used as a way to make external and internal communication using video conferencing.
Of course, different combinations of tools will largely depend on both the needs and requests of the company and its budget.