Head of Insight AccountingWEB
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Microsoft Teams emerges as rival to Slack

18th Jul 2019
Head of Insight AccountingWEB
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Microsoft Teams
Microsoft Teams

Global tech-watchers have been gossiping in recent weeks about lively growth figures for Microsoft Teams, a corporate communications platform that attracted the label “Slack-killer”.

Industry analyst ETR went against optimistic projections surrounding Slack’s June public offering with a survey of global IT executives that showed a 45% drop in buying intentions for Slack compared to the same period last year, while Microsoft Teams was 8% better.

In terms of user numbers, Microsoft is claiming that Teams now has more than 13m daily users (19m if counted weekly) versus the 10m daily users Slack cited in its IPO filing papers.

Microsoft Teams enjoyed this remarkable growth rate thanks to its launch into the Microsoft Office 365 portfolio back in late 2018, putting it into the hands of anyone paying the monthly subscription for Office 365 Business Premium (£9.40/month/user in the UK).

As well as being able to instant message other users in shared corporate communication channels, Teams gives them access to a folder of shared Office files (Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Visio) for each channel that can be viewed and edited simultaneously.

As an online collaboration platform, Microsoft Teams is not available to those who remain on the older one-off licence fee for the Office products, including Excel 2019.

As AccountingWEB Excel writer Liam Bastick noted, Microsoft is adding new functions and features like Teams to the Office 365 package. This is designed to encourage old-style perpetual licence holders into the brave, new cloud version of Office – thus increasing the software developer’s monthly recurring revenues.

Some users may be reluctant to expose themselves to too many new features, but those like David Ringstrom, who have a taste for the cutting edge, can opt into Microsoft’s Office Insider programme to try them out as soon as the code is deemed viable.

Ringstrom reported some beta test experiences but found the early sight of new dynamic array capabilities very useful for his training work.

“In the coming months, every Office 365 user will have access to functions such as SORT, FILTER, UNIQUE, SEQUENCE, and RANDARRAY. Further, functions that have long been part of Excel will have dynamic capabilities as well. Your spreadsheets will recalculate faster to boot,” he wrote.

In contrast to the “frozen” perpetual editions, Ringstrom concluded: “Office 365 users have a living, breathing version of Excel that is going to see ever more artificial intelligence features integrated, as well as new worksheet functions and capabilities… Office 365 is clearly the place to be if you rely on Excel for your job.”

And with the addition of Microsoft Teams, it looks like sharing and collaborating on those files will be easier too.

Do you have any experience with Microsoft Teams or Slack? What do they bring to the typical accountant’s daily workflow? Let us know what you think by commenting below.

Replies (4)

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By SteLacca
19th Jul 2019 10:56

Conversely, for those of us who don't want, you need to be comfortable diving into the system settings just to disable the daily popups extolling its virtues.

A simple "I don't want this" check box would have been most helpful.

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By johnt27
19th Jul 2019 14:27

If you're a Slack user there's little incentive to switch to Teams until Microsoft turn off the integration taps with Slack which might push more people over to G-Suite.

Microsoft also need to deal with winding down Yammer and transition users to Teams.

Finally, Teams needs to up the integrations it has to compete with Slack including a focus on Zapier/IFTTT rather than Flow (which is the Sage BCA to Xero/QBO).

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By schocca
22nd Jul 2019 10:51

Considering that Skype for business was forcibly transferred to Teams (and still does not work correctly) should be the real telling point to MS Teams.

It has a very confusing interface and working with clients who still use Skype for Business (old MS Office versions) but we cannot communicate correctly with them should be an indicator of how MS supports their products... Avoid....

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By Tickers
22nd Jul 2019 14:24

We use Teams in an office of 4 people but I'm not sure what is the best way to use this. You have the chat function which is fine for one 2 one chats and then you have channels where you create a channel for a specific department, project or client and then you invite team members to that channel. Outside of instant message, it's difficult to know what is the best way to use teams. For example, if I get an email from a client and I want to discuss the contents of that email with a colleague, I can't forward that email as a chat in MS teams which means I have to create a channel, forward the email to the channel and we can have a conversation in there. Just seems a bit clunky moving from one application to another to have a chat.

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