• Amanda Sterner

5 tips to convince people using Slack to start using Microsoft Teams

Ever since Microsoft Teams entered the market around 3,5 years after Slack it’s been an ever-going discussion about Slack versus Microsoft Teams, and which is the best. The purpose of this blog post isn’t to say Microsoft Teams is better than Slack or vice versa but it’s rather to give those of you using Office 365 some arguments to get your Slack users over to Microsoft Teams.

This won't be an epic battle

For those of you who have O365 there are a lot of reasons for why it’s important to get your Slack users over to Microsoft Teams and bellow I’ll share some with you. This information was presented during the partner inspiration day at Microsoft in Stockholm a couple of weeks ago and I think it sums up the why this is important from three different points of view.


Challenges for the users – having multiple logins will both make it tricky and a bit annoying for the user, isn’t it difficult enough to keep track of all of your passwords and different usernames for your company’s supported products? An even bigger issue is the difficulty sharing and discovering information, if you have several places where you could do the same thing how would you know where to find and share information with colleagues outside your normal circle?


Challenges for IT – shadow IT leads to several issues, it makes it harder to support the users, it makes it harder for us to control our data which makes it a security risk, it’s harder to find deleted data and a lot more.


Challenges for the business – having an incomplete toolkit leads to disengaged employees, imagine going to work and there are so many tools available and a lot of tools have the same capability – not ideal. Besides that, it’s costly to pay for the same capability in more than one tool. Because if you want to get the Slack version suitable for an enterprise it costs.

So, when we want our Slack user to start using Microsoft Teams it isn’t to be mean, we just want it to be easy to collaborate, keep track of our data and be able to spend our money on something fun instead of an unnecessary license cost.


Enough with the why, let’s jump into the five tips which basically are five things you can do in Slack and how you can achieve the same result in Microsoft Teams, so you can show your Slack users that Microsoft Teams isn’t that bad 😉.


1. Working in more than one tenant

When I ask Slack users about the best thing with Slack it comes down to one thing, it’s so darn easy to work in more than one environment (tenant in O365). I will not promote Slack here but wow it’s just so simple in Slack to flip between different contexts.

If you work as a consultant you know why this is important, I feel lucky today when I only have my company and one client where I need to engage in conversations. Can you imagine having to try to juggle more than that?


Looking at the Microsoft Teams UserVoice entry for this I want to use multiple Teams accounts at the same time you can see that it’s just not me and Slack user that would like this to work. Latest comment on the entry is from 3rd of July saying “We’re working on it”, now it’s almost November. But hey let’s hope Microsoft will announce something big on Ignite in 1,5 weeks.


Meanwhile I use a couple of workarounds to handle this:


User profiles in Chrome (available in more browsers but I like Chrome), you can add user profiles where you can have separate accounts, bookmarks etc. You flip between different user profiles browser windows where you have Microsoft Teams. Big con is that the notifications will be not be gathered in one place.


Using the application Franz where you can add a lot of different services (such as Messenger, Telegram, Slack e.g. besides Microsoft Teams). Con is that in the free version you can maximum have three different accounts. Big pro is that you will get your notifications in one place.


Inviting my client account to my company team (or the opposite), in that way I can still engage in the conversation. I wouldn’t say this is the ideal situation if you have a lot of different accounts but for me it works when I only have one client.


2. Finding what you are looking for

Something else I hear from my Slack friends is that they think it’s so easy to find what you are looking for in Slack. I say nah you just don’t know about all the different ways to narrow down your search result in Microsoft Teams.


Here’s an old blog post of mine where I walk you through how you could narrow down your search result in Microsoft Teams - Tips and tricks for searching in Microsoft Teams


3. Starting and finding interesting conversations

Overall, it’s easier to create conversations, join groups etc. in Slack – an acquaintance

I want to start this tip with a quote. I think this is a little bit sad as it’s quite telling for how Microsoft Teams is being used at many companies – in a more controlled manner.


This is a funny image is from Jamie LaPorte that she tweeted a couple of months ago.

Teams sprawl is a common term used when it comes to Microsoft Teams and basically it means being scared that a loooot of teams will be created in Microsoft Teams and we will lose control so instead of enabling our users we turn it off and have some sort of order system.


Jamie’s image is a fun way of describing how the users actually feel when we make it too hard for the them to create new teams in Microsoft Teams. It is possible to create conversations and join them in Microsoft Teams but when we make it harder for our users it feels so much harder, just as the person from the quote says. What I’ve noticed from companies using Slack is that they tend to be a bit less controlling.


I won’t tell you how should control your tenant and what settings you should have, I just want to put a light on that if we make it harder to create teams it will feel hard for our users.


But how you order new teams in your organization is not something I will tell you how to do, but I will show you two “workarounds”:


Sometimes a group chat is enough, a team in Microsoft Teams in all of its glory but sometimes we just want to be able to talk without all the extra fuss that comes with a team. It’s quick and easy to create a group chat, here’s an old blog post where I write in more detail about a team vs a group chat - Should I use a Team or a group chat?


Searching for private teams in Microsoft Teams, until now you haven’t been able to search for private teams in Microsoft Teams or private channels in Slack. The difference is according to my experience companies using Slack tend to be more open while companies using Microsoft Teams tends to be more private. But soon we will be able to search for private teams in Microsoft Teams, making it easy to find interesting conversations to join! But you can of course hide private teams if there’s a real need.


4. But all our developers ask for cool integrations

Let me start with saying I’m not a developer. I’m a normal gal that just loves Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams but when I poked around who’s using Slack at my company it didn’t come as a surprise when the answer was our developers. Same everywhere I ask, always the developers.


So, for my tip number 4 I want to tell you that you can do cool integrations in Microsoft Teams as well.


Connectors are a way of connecting different services to Microsoft Teams into a channel in a team, there are a lot of different ones available not just from Microsoft. For example, you can connect Azure DevOps and every time something happens in your board a message will be posted in the channel conversations.

Microsoft Flow is a software to create and automate workflows and tasks. There are a bunch of built in flows and you can of course also build your own. Some examples of built in flows are whenever an item is marked as Done in Azure DevOps a comment will be sent in teams and ask for review and post a message in Slack every time a message is posted in Microsoft Teams.


Bots are there to help us during our day, there are built in bots in Microsoft Teams such as Who, Polly or Microsoft Forms but you can also build your own bots to fit every need.


And there are a lot of things you can develop yourself, but for that tips I’ll let you read yourself over at the Microsoft Teams Developer Platform 😊.


5. Working with files in a team

The last thing I wanted to share with you isn’t something that is so much better in Slack, I would say if you ask for one thing that makes Microsoft Teams worth it’s working with files. There is no easy out of the box way of working with files in Slack, or at least if you want to have one common version of a file.


In Microsoft Teams the files are in the cloud which makes it easy for us to have one version and working together with files. Have a look at an old blog post of mine where I write more in detail about files in Microsoft Teams - How to work with files in Microsoft Teams


Now what?

Ok now what? Let’s say you convinced your Slack users to go over to Microsoft Teams, they’re excited and ready and then somebody ask you about migration. Aha you say.


First you need to decide what you want to migrate, channels? Private messages? Apps? Then you need to decide if you want to do it manually or not. If you have few users a manual migration might be enough, then you can convert your channels to new teams and upload the Slack history as a JSON-file. For a more advanced migration I would recommend using a tool, it will be worth the cost! There are a few tools available – just Bing it! But you could also skip the automated migration and start fresh on a clean slate in Microsoft Teams.


I hope this will give you inspiration to convince your Slack users that Microsoft Teams is a nice place to be as well.

Welcome to my blog about Microsoft Teams, Office 365 and collaboration

© 2020 Amanda Sterner

amanda@amandasterner.com

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