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Teams vs Slack vs Skype For Business - What's The Difference?

In recent months, most businesses have had to find new and innovative ways to communicate with their staff and customers. The need for video conference calls and instant messaging platforms has never been so high, and many business owners have had to choose between the range of options out there, including Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business, and Slack. We take a closer look at the features of each, including why Microsoft has moved over from Skype for Business, to replace it with Teams.

Microsoft Teams Skype for Business Slack
Instant messaging  ✔  ✔  ✔
Video calls  ✔  ✔  ✔
Online meetings for up to 10,000 users  ✔  ✘  ✘
File sharing  ✔  ✔  ✔
Multimedia files  ✔  ✔  ✔
Document storage  ✔  ✘  ✘
App syncing  ✔  ✘  ✘

Microsoft Teams Explained

Since the coronavirus outbreak, with more people working from home, Microsoft Teams has exploded in popularity.

What is Teams?

Microsoft Teams is essentially a comprehensive collaboration platform that has a wide array of functionalities. As with Slack, it can be used for instant messaging, video calls, and file sharing, however, it has a number of other capabilities which are ideal for business settings. These include document storage, and also the synchronisation with other Microsoft applications like OneDrive, SharePoint, and Planner. These allow you to coordinate work with other colleagues, and also make live edits to documents within the application.

Advantages of Teams

The main advantages of using Microsoft Teams are:

  • Users can be split into multiple teams and channels, such as for different departments or projects
  • Simple file sharing
  • Searchable chat history
  • Files can be modified within Teams
  • Access to calendar
  • Synchronisation with other apps – both Microsoft and 3rd party

Find out more about how to use Microsoft Teams effectively, to thoroughly understand what this platform has to offer businesses.

Disadvantages of Teams

While Teams has a number of fantastic features, there are a few disadvantages to be aware of:

  • Alerts can appear disorganised
  • Storage of files can seem disorganised
  • Limited meeting capabilities compared to Microsoft’s Skype for Business

Microsoft Teams is a part of Microsoft’s 365 software bundle, which varies in price from around £3.80 to £15.10 per user per month (for Microsoft 365 Business plans). Read our Office 365 comparison page to learn more about the different packages and what they include.

Skype and Skype for Business

Microsoft created Skype back in 2003. When it first arrived, Skype provided a revolutionary way to communicate with people all over the world via video call. Then, in 2015, Microsoft developed a second Skype platform – Skype for Business, which was introduced as part of the Microsoft Office suite.

Skype for Business has similar capabilities to Teams, in that it can be used to host video and phone calls, and as an instant messenger platform. It also facilitates file sharing, including multimedia files. Because of its similarities to Teams, Microsoft has decided to retire Skype for Business as of July 2021. From September 2019, new customers no longer had access to Skype for Business and instead were directed to Teams. Existing customers will be guided through the transfer to Teams in 2021.

Skype for Business vs Teams

The main reason why Microsoft has opted to close down Skype for Business is that it offers very similar functionalities to Teams. While both share a range of useful features, it’s Microsoft Teams that ultimately has more to offer. The main features of each are:

Microsoft Teams Skype for Business
 ✔ Online meetings for up to 10,000 users  ✔ Online meetings for up to 250 users
 ✔ Instant messenger  ✔ Instant messenger
 ✔ Integration with Office 365 apps  ✔ Integration with Office apps
 ✔ Enterprise-grade security  ✔ Enterprise-grade security
 ✔ File sharing

Slack Explained

Free and easy to use, Slack is one of the most popular communication apps in offices all over the world.

What is Slack?

Slack is a communication and collaboration platform designed to facilitate digital conversation between colleagues. It can be used not only to chat but to share files such as documents and images among one or more users too. As well as instant messages, Slack can also be used for phone calls and video calls, and screen sharing during such calls.

Advantages of Slack

Some of the well-loved features of Slack that continue to make it such a popular app are:

  • The basic package is free
  • It’s very user-friendly
  • Users can be split into channels, such as for different departments or projects
  • Simple file sharing
  • Searchable chat history

Many companies find that the basic package is plenty, however for extra benefits such as more memory, or multi-user video calls, the price increases to either £5.25 or £9.75 per month*. (Prices are correct at the time of writing, according to slack.com.)

Disadvantages of Slack

However, despite its popularity, there are a few drawbacks to opting for Slack as your company’s main communication application. These include:

  • Limits to the number of users on a call (in the free package)
  • Limited storage (in the free package)
  • You cannot collaborate externally (with the free package)
  • There is nowhere to organise and store files in a folder on the application, only share via a chat

Those willing to pay the monthly fees can enjoy more services, however, the functionalities within Slack are somewhat limited compared to Teams and other applications.

Since more people are now working from home, the need to communicate and collaborate in creative ways has led to a significant growth of businesses signing up to use platforms like Slack and Microsoft Teams. Each has their merits, but ultimately, Microsoft Teams offers more in the way of functionality and versatility.

As part of the Office 365 package, our experts here at ramsac will be able to talk you through everything you need to know about Teams, as well as about using the wider suite of software. We can help you migrate seamlessly, find out more about our Microsoft Office 365 service.

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GBH Law
GBH Law
11:29 22 May 20
Changing IT support providers, like changing lawyers, is not a decision any business takes lightly or frequently. The decision is fraught with numerous questions such as whether the new team will understand my business needs, will it cause teething problems, and more importantly, will the reality match the sales pitch! We took that decision to move to Ramsac in January after ten years with another provider and we have not regretted that choice for a moment. Ramsac are simply great! From the get go we have been very well supported from the front line very helpful telephone support team right up to our relationship manager. We feel that the Ramsac team are very much an integral part of us . What however has driven us to write this review is the fabulous support we have received following a cyber attack this week. Something no business wants to happen but is increasingly a sad factor of modern cyber life. The Ramsac cyber support team were superb and really gave us first class support and guidance through what was frankly a horrible experience. Thank you Dan! Denise Herrington
The HR Services Partnership
The HR Services Partnership
17:59 16 Jan 20
We have worked with Ramsac since 2015. They offer a truly winning formula. We have been delighted by their support at all three levels: our network consultant (Colin) understands our set up and is great when we need to upgrade our infrastructure; we have ready access to our account manager who has been great with supporting our growth; and the helpdesk is always so patient for the day-to-day glitches. Very professional and supportive – thank you team ramsac!
Zoe Brooks
Zoe Brooks
13:02 16 Jan 20
Sam on the support desk is extremely knowledgeable and helpful. Every time I have rung with an issue and she has helped the problem has always been rectified smoothly and quickly!
Sarah-Jane Calloway
Sarah-Jane Calloway
16:02 06 Jan 20
Ed spent two days with us following an office reshuffle. He worked to a very high standard and was very helpful, courteous and happy to sort out anything we asked of him!
Luke Hoey
Luke Hoey
14:20 07 Nov 19
Always very helpful and will work hard to resolve any issues you have.
Richard Renson
Richard Renson
16:54 10 Dec 18
Great, helpful IT Kings and Queens
Andrew Worth
Andrew Worth
12:37 30 Aug 18
fine bunch
Colin Warner
Colin Warner
08:46 06 Dec 17
Excellent managed service provider.
Selom B
Selom B
11:58 10 Dec 16
First Class!! Responsive, knowledgeable, professional and very easy to work with - Ramsac have been a fantastic strategic IT partner for the last few years and I'm sure will continue to be for many years going forward. I would highly recommend them!
Ian Windle - Inspiring Leadership
Ian Windle - Inspiring Leadership
08:53 04 Jul 16
Great IT business, with a powerful management team. Could not recommend them more highly.
Patrick O'Luanaigh
Patrick O'Luanaigh
10:55 01 Jul 16
A truly fantastic IT support company - I can't speak highly enough about them.
Sarah Whitemore
Sarah Whitemore
11:59 20 Jun 16
I have known Dan May and Ramsac for 5 or 6 years now. Dan is such a great guy and really helpful with strategic advice and input on all things IT. He's so approachable and doesn't baffle you with IT jargon. If you are looking to outsource your IT or you have a problem you need help with Dan is definitely the one to ask.
Jonathan Richards
Jonathan Richards
12:14 31 May 16
I've worked with Ramsac for many years and whole heartedly recommend their services. They are always professional, approachable and have the rare skill of making IT understandable. Their can do attitude leaves you feeling that you are in safe hands.
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