Ever since Microsoft launched Teams as a chat tool within the Office 365 platform in 2017, it has rapidly expanded both its functionality and user base. Microsoft Teams is now considered one of the top tools for digital communication and collaboration, but it’s far from the only option.
If your team doesn’t use the Microsoft product suite or wants to try something else, there are plenty of other platforms that offer the tools you need to stay connected. Here are the top five Microsoft Teams alternatives for enterprises.
5 Microsoft Teams alternatives
- Google G Suite
- Workplace by Facebook
- Cisco Webex Teams
Google G Suite
Workplace by Facebook
Cisco Webex Teams
No doubt about it — the top Microsoft Teams alternative is Slack. In fact, Microsoft Teams was largely created as a direct competitor to Slack, which Microsoft reportedly considered buying for $8 billion before deciding to clone its functionality with Teams.
The success of Slack caused the real-time communication and collaboration space to take off, and Slack retains a first-mover advantage. “Slack has such a foothold that if corporate teams are looking for a chat tool, they’re probably going to choose Slack,” says Kevin Senior, managing director at Glasscubes, a software suite for remote teams that compliments platforms like Slack and Teams with additional functionality.
Slack has all the major functionality you expect from Teams, such as real-time messaging broken into channels, video calls, screen sharing, and file sharing. “Aside from a few features, the crossover is almost exact,” says Senior.
On top of its powerful features, Slack’s real strength is its simplicity and fun user experience, which make it easy to set up and enjoyable to use, according to Senior. “It can be easily rolled out to a small team quickly, and it’s very intuitive to use — more so than Teams.”
If you’re concerned about connecting your workflows, Slack has you covered. With 2,000+ apps, Slack has the largest integration ecosystem of any chat platform (although Teams is quickly catching up).
Slack’s free plan limits users to one-on-one video calls, 10 integrations, and access to 10,000 messages. Paid plans begin at $8 per month, per user ($6.67 when paid annually).
If your team uses G Suite for email and document management, you can replicate most of the functionality of Microsoft Teams by using Google tools already at your disposal. You can have individual and group chats with Google Chat (formerly Hangouts Chat), jump onto video calls with Meet, manage documents in Drive, and collaborate on documents within Docs. Of course, Mail is the hub for all email communications.
The upside for teams using G Suite is price and simplicity: The Basic G Suite plan costs $6 per user, per month, and no additional software needs to be purchased or used. However, you’re missing out on more expansive chat functionality such as channels, mentions, and more, that you get with both Teams and Slack.
In 2016, Facebook entered the enterprise collaboration market with the launch of Workplace by Facebook. Workplace uses the familiar Facebook interface for features such as the News Feed, Messenger, Groups, Video Calls, and Live video, all of which are tailored for a work setting.
Workplace has three pricing options — Essential, Advanced, and Enterprise. Workplace Essential is free, while Workplace Advanced is $4 per user, per month, and Enterprise is $8 per user, per month. The Enterprise version offers additional security and data management features.
While Workplace’s main selling point is its similarity to Facebook’s consumer product, this can be a downside to some teams, which may be why it trails behind Slack, Teams, and G Suite. According to Senior, “We rarely come across Workplace in the corporate or public sector in the U.K. Corporate organizations tend to prefer to use corporate tools. If someone like LinkedIn offered an equivalent, they might get more adoption.”
Flock is a real-time team messaging app with a range of extra features that make it a viable Microsoft Teams alternative. In addition to the expected tools like chat, voice, and video calls, Flock allows you to turn messages into tasks that you can assign and track, set reminders for your team, and run polls to get quick feedback. Unlike Teams, these built-in productivity tools allow you to manage work within the app.
As with Teams and Slack, communication is divided into channels, with the option for private channels for focused topics, public team channels, one-way channels for announcements, and “Smart channels,” which automatically add team members based on chosen criteria. Unlike Teams, Flock allows unlimited free guests, making it more suitable for projects that require collaboration with other organizations.
Flock integrates with 60+ apps and features a developer platform for custom integrations. Impressive process automation capabilities allow you to automate repetitive workflows such as employee onboarding or reimbursement claims. Users are generally happy with Flock, but its unique five-column user interface may be too busy for some.
The free version limits users to 10,000 searchable messages, video conferencing for four users for 20 minutes at a time, and 5 GB of team storage. Paid plans start from $4.50 per user, per month and unlock features such as screen sharing, unlimited message history, unlimited public and private channels, 24-7 support, group video calls, and 10 GB of file storage per user.
For large organizations that need enterprise-grade functionality and use Cisco VoIP devices, Cisco Webex Teams is a good Microsoft Teams alternative. Formerly known as Cisco Spark, Webex Teams provides the core functionality you expect, such as chat, video meetings, scheduling, and file sharing, as well as whiteboarding and powerful visual collaboration tools. Webex Teams also allows you to make voice calls from within the application and is a good choice for teams who need robust meeting and video functionality.
As you might expect from Cisco, Webex Teams features an AppHub and integrations with tools from other leading enterprise software providers such as Google, Salesforce, Dropbox, and Microsoft. Webex Teams also features bots that allow you to automate workflows along with extensive developer resources for greater customization.
Because it focuses more on enterprise video meeting functionality rather than just chat, paid Webex plans start at $13.50 per month, per host, with plans that incorporate from 50–200 participants and up to 100 host licenses.
If Microsoft Teams isn’t your cup of tea, don’t fret. There are plenty of other tools for team chat and collaboration, and many offer free options so you can try before you buy.