The popularity of remote work has reached its peak, and a lot of companies are dealing with the same question – what is the best collaboration tool for working at home? Having a good team collaboration tool is not only crucial to boost everyday communication, but to keep overall team productivity on the same level as in the office.
There are plenty of options, and we decided to save you time and make a comparison of three popular team communication tools – Microsoft Teams vs. Slack vs. Zoom.
We are going to make a comparison between some of the most requested features in these communication tools to help you decide which one suits your business the most.
Chat and Messaging
When it comes to the number of users in these group communication apps, Microsoft Teams offers an unlimited number of users in the free plan and up to 300 users in the paid ones. On the other hand, Slack provides an unlimited amount in all plans, while Zoom meetings scale up to 1000 people in the paid plan. When using any of these tools, your messages and shared content stay synced and searchable at any time.
With the lack of face-to-face communication, figuring out who’s responding to whom in a group chat often seems confusing. All these group collaboration tools let you create conversation threads to keep you on track with conversation replies. Slack leveled up this feature by allowing you to transfer conversation threads to private conversations as well.
In case you need to chat with an external user, Microsoft Teams provides guest access to the team’s resources so they can share files and join a group chat. If you want to bring outsiders into your Slack workspace, for every paid plan, administrators can add up to five single-channel guests for every team member. Participants outside of your Zoom account can also join the meeting, which means that any guest will show in the participant’s list with an orange background behind their names.
When it comes to file-sharing in chat, you can do it in Microsoft Teams or Slack by drag and drop or uploading selected files. When sharing files in Microsoft Teams, the size limit for uploading a file is 15GB, while the Slack file upload limit is 1GB. Both team collaboration tools offer a full storage limit of up to 1 TB in paid plans. At the same time, Zoom chat allows you to send files with the maximum file size of 512MB and has unlimited cloud storage in the paid plan.
By default, Microsoft Teams chat, channel, and file data is retained forever. As an admin, you can decide whether to keep the data or delete it. Using Slack, all your messages and files will be retained for the lifetime, but if you’d like, you can also customize retention settings. The maximum length of time to store messages in Zoom is ten years, and the minimum amount of time is one day.
Meetings and Calling
All these communication tools offer video calling, but the platforms differ in the number of people that can join the meeting. Slack’s paid plan offers calls that can support up to 15 people. Microsoft Teams paid plans, on the other hand, provide video conferencing up to 250 people and online events for 10.000 attendees inside or outside your organization. If you choose Zoom, you can bring audio and video to your meetings with support for up to 1000 video participants.
Each of these online communication tools allows you to share your screen and communicate complex ideas more clearly. To remove distractions in the video feed during the meeting, Microsoft Teams uses intelligent background-blur technology. If you want to display images as your background during a meeting, both Microsoft Teams and Zoom provide a virtual background feature.
In case you need to go again through meetings and search for important discussion items, Microsoft Teams allows you to record your calls and provides automatic transcripts in paid plans. On the contrary, if you want to record Slack meetings, you will need to integrate another app. Zoom, as the tool mostly focused on video conferencing, also offers MP4 or M4A local recording so you can record your meetings with searchable transcripts.
Microsoft Teams provides 250+ apps and services in its paid plans, including Office 365 apps. That means that if you frequently work in SharePoint, OneNote, or Planner, Microsoft Teams might be the right choice for you. It allows you to integrate apps directly from the Microsoft Teams store or as a quick attachment. You can add custom tabs for easier access to third-party apps, which helps you to personalize your online workspace.
On the other hand, Slack offers 800+ integrations in paid plans with a variety of different apps. In the Slack App Directory, you can select apps you’d like to integrate across your team’s workflow, such as Google Drive, Trello, Zendesk, GitHub, and Dropbox. The large number and variety of apps available means you can easily adjust your workspace with tools your colleagues use.
Zoom has a host of add-ons available to browse through, too, including the one with Office 365. These integrations broaden the possibilities of the platform and help teammates become even more productive while using it. On the other side, this tool often integrates with other platforms, and one of the examples is its popular integration with Slack.
If you are not signed in to your Office 365 Enterprise account anywhere else, when you start Microsoft Teams, you’d be asked to provide either single-factor or multi-factor authentication. Those settings will depend on what your organization has decided they’d like the process to entail. The same goes for Slack and Zoom that added an extra layer of security and enabled two-factor authentication for the user’s account.
In case you want to sign in to your account without re-entering your email and password during a new session, Microsoft Teams has implemented a single sign-on (SSO) through Active Directory. Slack administrators of paid teams can integrate their services instance with a variety of SSO such as OneLogin, Okta, Centrify, and Ping Identity. With SSO, Zoom user logs in using your company’s identity provider such as Microsoft Active Directory, Centrify, Okta, or Google.
When it comes to encryption, all three services allow secured communication where only the intended recipient can read the secured message. Microsoft Teams and Slack provide encryption of data in transit and at rest, which means that data stored on any device and in transit through the network is secured. When using a Zoom Client, all customer data transmitted from a client or web browser to the Zoom Cloud encrypt in transit.
All these collaboration tools have free plans available, which make them attractive for smaller companies that want to save money. However, if you want to get the most out of them, you’ll have to get a paid plan. To help you with your decision, we’ve prepared an ultimate comparison table.
In the end, the choice between these three depends on what you’re looking for in a communication tool. Slack, as an independent application, might work better for smaller teams, and Zoom is more suitable for those who often work with external collaborators that want simple-to-use meeting options.
On the other hand, Microsoft Teams has an advantage as a tool suitable for more complex organizations. If a company is already an Office 365 subscriber, connecting with Microsoft Teams is a good option in terms of features and cost. It works well for internal collaboration because of its integrations with the Office 365 environment and makes your team’s communication as effective as possible.
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