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.
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.
AccountingWEB’s Head of Insight has been with the site since 1999 and likes to spend his time studying accountants’ technology habits. When not nerding out, you can find him exploring obscure indie music and searching for the perfect organic sourdough loaf from his base in Brighton, UK.