Microsoft Teams Is the New Slack Killer
By Jim Lundy
A funny thing happened in New York a week and a half ago. Microsoft announced Microsoft Teams—based on Microsoft Office, not on Skype for Business.
At first glance, Microsoft Teams might seem like a direct faceoff with Skype for Business, but it’s really a Slack killer. This blog discusses some of the reasons why Teams is the new Slack killer and not Skype for Business.
What Is Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams is a new mobile collaboration service from Microsoft that is part of Office 365. It allows mobile messaging with lots of features that will look familiar to other mobile collaboration offerings such as Slack and Cisco Spark.
Microsoft Teams vs. Skype for Business
At first glance, there is significant overlap with Skype for Business. We think that there might have been some significant tension on where to position Teams within the Microsoft Office product family. If there was, Office won and Skype lost. However, Microsoft has shifted Skype for Business to be more of a real-time communication service focused on voice and video.
Except for presence, Skype was really a separate service from Office 365. Microsoft Teams is fully integrated into Office 365, including setup via the admin panel. However, the download for Teams is not available from the Microsoft Office 365 admin panel. You have to go to a separate link. We expect Microsoft to address this soon.
Microsoft Teams allows users to share files—out of the box, which can speed up collaboration and the process of getting work done. When you create a new team in Teams, a OneDrive for Business folder is automatically created, which enables full file-sharing via teams. Given Slack, this is a model that is catching on, as opposed to sending files via email.
There is also overlap with Skype for Business. In Microsoft Teams, you can automatically start a meeting with built-in video. This capability is fully independent of Skype for Business and appears to be based on the redesigned consumer Skype platform.
Microsoft Teams and Mac
From day one, Microsoft Teams works on Macs, which has been a huge thorn in the side of Skype for Business. Only now, a year after Skype for Business shipped, is the new Skype for Business Mac OS X client available.
Microsoft Teams and Chatbots
Teams comes with a built-in chatbot for support and in our tests, it worked very well. It answered all of my questions in seconds. Teams will be the chatbot platform for Office and we know that Microsoft is already working with some hot startups such as Zeal Technology for task-specific chatbots.
Microsoft Teams As a Slack Killer
We think that Teams is well-positioned to be a Slack killer. By bundling it into Office 365, Microsoft has automatically distributed it to all of the enterprises that already have Office. Installation is pretty seamless as well.
Given Office 365’s breadth and depth, Microsoft Teams may have one big advantage over Slack: scalability. For now, Slack has the momentum, but in one swift move, Microsoft just became the largest provider of mobile collaboration (assuming enterprises download it).
Overlapping Services Within Microsoft
There are clearly overlaps now within Office 365 products, most notably between Teams and Skype. It also raises questions about Yammer, but Yammer is a full social network. We wonder if we will see Teams more fully integrated with Yammer over time.
Microsoft Office 365: Is E3 Enough?
Enterprises who had been getting hammered to upgrade from Office 365 E3 to E5 edition may want to step back and pause. Skype for Business is no longer the lead collaboration offering within Office 365. Teams just stepped over it.
We will be analyzing this in our syndicated research as this story evolves. Developing…
Editor’s Note: Aragon Research will be publishing its second Tech Spectrum on Mobile Collaboration in Q4 2016. Major provider being evaluated include Atlassian, Broadsoft, Cisco, Lua, Mindlink, SamePage, Unify, Zinc, and others.