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Eletype for MS Teams

By September 17, 2020 No Comments

Today we are pleased to announce that the Eletype Digital Assistant is now available for MS Teams. Over the past 6 months, we have continued to see MS Teams evolve as a platform and, as a result, a corresponding increase in demand from our existing and prospective customers.

As discussed in last week’s blog post, demand seems evenly split between smaller independent agencies, which are almost exclusively Slack-based, and the large ad agencies which are overwhelming either on MS Teams or migrating to it.

While the evolution of collaboration software has been many years in the making, it was COVID that put it into overdrive. Anyone involved in technology has certainly witnessed the rise of Slack, but it was the rapid shift to remote working that brought collaboration and messaging platforms front and center for the rest of us. Over 6 months into the pandemic, MS Teams has solidified itself as one half of this latest technology duopoly.

Monopolies often lead to stagnation and abuse, while on the other end of the spectrum, too much fragmentation can lead to confusion and lack of standards. That is why technology duopolies have usually pushed innovation forward through aggressive competition and rivalry. What we are seeing with Slack and MS Teams in 2020 is no different. Both platforms are maturing and deliver a similar experience but with some distinct differences.

What’s the big difference?

Well, first, there are lots of little differences, but what we wanted to cover today are what we feel were the biggest differences we noticed working and developing on both platforms.

 

TL/DR 

Slack was designed for teams within an organization.

MS Teams was designed for an organization that has teams.

From a feature and functionality perspective, there really aren’t many differences worth noting. Both organize your teams into groups and your conversations into channels. Both allow for direct messaging, phone and video conferencing, and screen and file sharing. If you were moving from one to the other it would be rather self-explanatory and, as a result, the Eletype Digital Assistant offers a nearly identical experience in both Slack and MS Teams. So what’s the big difference?

Even though on the surface they are similar, their DNA clearly comes from different species and that is noticeable as you go one level deeper.

What struck me first was that MS Teams has an added layer of hierarchy. Whereas Slack has a Workspace and Channels, Teams starts one level higher up with an Organization then Teams and then Channels. Seems like a small difference, but this reflects the very nature of how Teams is implemented: Top-down.

Slack was a pioneer in what has become known as the consumerization of the enterprise. They flipped enterprise software on its head by growing organically from the bottom up. Most of us who are Slack users have experienced this first hand. You downloaded Slack and someone added you to a workspace and off you went. And before you knew it the whole company was on it.

MS Teams is the opposite, and this permeates everything you do. It starts with the top-level Organization. Odds are, if you are using Teams, you’ve already been using Office 365 across your organization. By default, you are part of the top-level organization and you can then join various teams within MS Teams. This extra layer of hierarchy not only helps avoid some of the problems with multiple Slack workspaces, but it actually mimics how teams in an actual company work together.

And this leads me to the second thing that stands out. You’ll notice that chat (direct messages), phone calls and files sit outside of the team grouping in MS Teams. This also makes a lot of sense when you are part of a larger organization. Teams are for discussions and collaboration, but you don’t have to be part of a “team” to chat or call someone else in your organization, so you’ll see those features decoupled. Makes sense, right? MS Teams is replacing the office phone system.

Slack, on the other hand, buries phone calls in the chat, almost as if it is an afterthought or an exception. And that is how it is used. Phone/video are used only when the chat or discussion breaks down and everyone just hops on a call instead of typing. Slack isn’t trying to be a phone system.

MS Teams is designed for the larger organization, not only from a system administrator standpoint (something we may cover in a separate blog post) but from a conceptual standpoint as well.

This is painting with a very broad brush, but I’ll sum up the differences between Slack and MS Teams like this:

Slack was designed for teams within an organization.
MS Teams was designed for an organization that has teams. 

Minor differences abound. You’ll notice MS Teams doesn’t support slash commands like Slack. In Teams everything is a bot command whereas Slack supports both slash and bot commands (very confusing for new users).

Teams has a slightly cleaner UI, but offers a little less flexibility when updating messages dynamically. It relies more on modals and dialog boxes which can be cumbersome at times, though the UX elements are a little more robust than Slack.

But as you can see from the screenshots, it’s all very similar due, in no small part, to the fact that Microsoft is really good at copying. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Perhaps, but Slack is suing MS anyway.

In conclusion, if you’d like to learn more about Eletype for MS Teams, or have questions about Teams in general, please click the button below to book some time to chat.

Until next time,
Keep calm, carry on, wash your hands, wear a mask… and vote.

Michael Sengbusch

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Michael Sengbusch

Michael Sengbusch

CEO of Eletype - Entrepreneur, Founder, Engineer

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