Is Microsoft Teams really winning the favour of users?

Slack vs Microsoft Teams

This article from Business Insider grabbed my attention with its headline. But is it telling the real story?

Which tool is best?

I’ve spent too much time looking at collaboration tools and user adoption. Trying to work out what is the best combination to use. Attempting to design the perfect technology stack for effective collaboration.

My thoughts

There is no clear cut winner. But I have gleaned the following insights:

  • Collaboration doesn’t start with tools. Effective collaboration works regardless of the tools in place. They can only help improve something that already works.
  • When users get to choose, then Slack or G-Suite tends to win out.
  • The less training needed the easier the adoption. Slack and G-Suite may have fewer features, but that streamlines the learning curve. There tends to be one way to do something.
  • Teams is feature rich so often wins on paper. For users getting to grips with it, it’s often confusing and noisy and easy to use badly. First impressions count.
  • When a company has bought into all things Microsoft and invested in Office365 and SharePoint there isn’t really a choice left. Teams is a straightforward business decision made for the business and its users.
  • The Teams and SharePoint approach is often more appealing to companies that have been used to keeping all documents locked down and on-premise. Who remain worried about moving to the cloud.
  • Whatever tools are available. Users are rarely clear on what each tool is best for. Adoption is haphazard. Use inconsistent. Best practice unclear.
  • Don’t get me started on how Information Management is usually documented and communicated to users. Without getting this right no set of tools will ever be used safely and effectively.

User counts vs user ratings

Back to the headline. Are 20 million active MS Teams users (who had the tool chosen for them) a true indicator of user preference. Do we need to factor in organic and user-driven adoption when we reflect on the 12 million Slack users?

Additionally, how many of each group are really active users? Slack bills on active user count. Teams requires a license regadlress of whether or not it is actually being used.

Looking at G2 Crowd:

  • Slack has an average user rating of 4.5 stars (out of 5).
  • MS Teams with 4.2 is definitely catching up.

At the end of the day does it actually matter?

The tool isn’t what matters. It’s how it’s used. It’s the culture around it. Tools and technology don’t fix culture or drive productivity and quality in and of themselves. There is no magic bullet to good collaboration.