Microsoft Teams: Time to make the switch?

Microsoft Announces Free Version of Teams

Microsoft has released a free version of Teams, a chat-based workspace and calling service – and a major competitor to Slack. While Teams has been available since late 2016, the absence of a free version has limited adoption. Slack made work chat mainstream, and Microsoft is about to take things a step further with its rich integrations in to the Microsoft 365 suite and more – at no cost to most small businesses. Does this mean that it’s time to make the switch to Microsoft teams?

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is a chat and collaboration platform designed to simplify group work. Think of it as a work chat system, similar to Slack, Hipchat, and others, but with one major differentiator – it was released by Microsoft. Chances are that you use Microsoft software on a daily basis, and the out-of-the-box integrations with other Microsoft products will introduce new ways to collaborate and bring additional efficiency to your organization.

Teams reduces the friction between Office 365 apps by bringing everything together in one place: people, conversations, content and tools. It becomes your hub for chats, calls, meetings, private and group messages specific to projects. It allows you to share applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, websites and OneNote. And you can share assets like calendars, files and email, too. All seamlessly, in real-time.

Work Chat for Every Business

With the announcement of the free version of Teams, other chat services have been put on notice. Organizations with up to 300 team members now have access to many features, at no cost, along with deep integration in to Microsoft’s application ecosystem.

Features include:

  • Unlimited chat messages and search
  • Built-in audio and video calling for individuals and groups
  • 10GB of file storage plus an additional 2GB per user
  • Real-time integrations with other Microsoft apps like Word and Excel
  • Integrations with business apps including Adobe Creative Cloud, Gitlab, and Evernote

Best of all, these features instantly become available to your organization if you are already using Office 365.

Ready to Make the Switch?

Valiant made the transition from Slack to Microsoft Teams last July, in order to give the service a proper trial before making any recommendations to our clients – and we haven’t looked back. There are many chat services available for organizations of all sizes, but none can match the collaborative features and integrations that come with Microsoft Teams. It’s made a huge difference in how we communicate with each other, and has truly become the centralized hub for communications and collaboration within Valiant. Below is a list of features that we considered to be important in our decision making process:

Ultimately, the decision to use one service over the other (or any other similar services,) should be based on your organization’s needs and existing tech stacks. If you are already using Microsoft software, you’re likely to fully benefit from Teams, as long as you don’t have any integrations that will only work with Slack. Not using a lot of Microsoft software and are already using Slack? You’re probably better staying as-is and reevaluating your options at a later date. 

If you’d like to learn more about how Microsoft Teams can enable better collaboration within your organization, please visit our Microsoft Teams resource page for additional information and our power user guides!

Matt has spent the better part of 2 decades building systems, managing IT departments, and developing websites and applications for the education, publishing, and technical service industries. As an MCSE...

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