The three players getting the most attention in the video conferencing/telecommuting space right now are Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Zoom. Zoom, in particular, has risen to the forefront of conversation this year. So much so, that the Securities and Exchange Commission recently suspended stock trading for Zoom Technologies.
The catch is that Zoom Technologies is not the maker of Zoom video chat software – that would be Zoom Video. Confused investors have mistakenly sent Zoom Technologies’ share price up by almost 900% so far in 2020. Clearly, there is a lot of interest in this sector. Which should you choose? What are the advantages of using Microsoft Teams? Let’s take a look at how Microsoft Teams and Zoom compare.
If you’re aiming for simplicity, Zoom has it. But what it doesn’t have is a robust feature set to enable full-spectrum collaboration throughout your organization. As its name implies, Teams is designed as a tool so that your organization can work remotely. This includes video conferencing, but also direct calls, messaging, and file sharing.
Zoom offers direct calls, video chat, and messaging – but it lacks integrations with other services.
Teams is so much more than video chat. Out of the box it integrates with these Microsoft products:
- View, edit and share spreadsheets from within the interface
- View, edit and share presentations from within the interface
- View, edit and share files from within the interface
- View, edit and share documents from within the interface
- Synchronize with Outlook calendars natively
- Automate actions based on triggers (Example: When a file is uploaded to SharePoint).
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- Synchronize files to your desktop
- Connect news, tutorials, and other video content to your Teams channel for easy sharing
Last week, Slack’s CEO Stewart Butterfield announced a new calling integration between Slack and Teams users. This interoperability with another large platform is a win for usability. As Teams continues to grow (and indeed, it has already surpassed Slack in daily active users), we’ll see more collaborations like this moving forward.
When onboarding your team to a new product, you want to be assured of its long-term future. Teams is backed by Microsoft, which has a breadth of experience both in local software and cloud products.
An aggressive schedule for new Teams features has been planned. This roadmap includes new technology such as background noise suppression through artificial intelligence, as well as improvements to existing functionality, such as pop-up chat windows.
With Teams, you can be confident that the platform is supported by one of the industry’s largest companies.
Microsoft has seen a 775 percent increase in cloud services across regions that have implemented social distancing due to COVID-19. For Teams, in particular, over 900 million meetings and calling minutes were logged for the week ending March 28th. Under this load, the service has not experienced significant outages or disruptions.
Microsoft is actively monitoring performance and usage trends 24/7 to support users in the Azure cloud. Based on the additional usage, Microsoft has made changes on-the-fly to ease the load on the system. In addition, the company is expediting the deployment of new capacity.
Healthcare organizations and first responders, along with utilities and businesses, rely on Microsoft Teams. Microsoft says keeping these workers up and running is a top priority.
Large businesses utilize Zoom for its video conferencing capabilities. These names include companies such as 21st Century Fox, Atlassian, Auto Desk, Dropbox, and Delta.
Teams includes names you’ll recognize, such as BP, General Electric, and NASCAR, but also big names in the healthcare industry like Adventist Health. In addition, the underlying Azure cloud was tapped by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the recently released Coronavirus Self-Checker. These organizations depend on Teams and the Azure cloud to be there when they need it.
During the COVID-19 outbreak, Microsoft has focused on making Teams available to everyone. An Office 365 E1 license is now free for six months. This includes web-access to Outlook, Excel, and other Microsoft services – completely free. What’s not to like?
In addition, if you have an Office 365 license, you may already be paying for a Teams license. For licenses that do not have Teams already included, the cost ranges from between $5 and $20 a month per user. If you’re looking at a Teams implementation, Dynamic Consultants Group will analyze your existing licensing structure to provide the most value. If you’re not already a part of the Microsoft ecosystem, the 6-month Office 365 E1 license is a great way to see what it’s all about.
Zoom has pricing options that range from free to $19.99 a month for the enterprise plan. The free version of Zoom includes unlimited 1:1 calling. For three participants or more, meetings must remain at 40 minutes or less. The next option is the Pro plan, starting at $14.99. This enables 100 meeting participants and provides a 24-hour meeting duration limit, as well as 1 GB of cloud recording, a personal meeting ID, and additional administrative and user management features.
Zoom provides a quick way for individuals and businesses to meet quickly and without much complication. There is less of a learning curve with the software versus Teams, but it is not as future-focused. For long term collaboration, Teams offers a more robust feature set and an aggressive roadmap. In addition, many organizations are paying for Teams already as part of an Office 365 package.
For organizations that are not yet a part of Microsoft’s cloud services platform, now is a great time to start looking at the features it has to offer. Contact Dynamic Consultants Group for an evaluation of your existing setup, or to hear more about the power of Teams and the Microsoft technology portfolio.
Tony Pimpo is a CRM consultant with a background across the consulting, marketing and online media industries, aiming to facilitate successful relationships between customers and end-users. He has experience managing and contributing to successful teams and D365 projects, along with gathering, understanding and documenting business requirements.