The Disadvantages of Microsoft Teams and Slack for Enterprise Messaging

In evaluations for an enterprise messaging app, customers sometimes compare Teamwire with Microsoft Teams and Slack, which are well-marketed tools from the USA.

Teamwire, Feb 21 2017
What is Microsoft Teams and Slack?


Slack is a chat-based cloud collaboration tool, which is popular among startups for its integrations. Microsoft Teams is basically a clone of Slack and has more or less the same features. (Microsoft was kind of late to the enterprise messaging market, and Teams is its move to not miss out.)


European enterprises often come to the conclusion in evaluations, that Microsoft Teams and Slack are not the right enterprise messaging apps for them.


Here is why:


1. No Whatsapp User Experience


Microsoft Teams and Slack are based on a channel user interface. This kind of user interface is popular with developers. However, the majority of employees expects an enterprise messaging app to be like Whatsapp, because this is what people know well from their personal usage. So the majority of employees want a user interface with the same features, look and feel like Whatsapp. Since Microsoft Teams and Slack cannot provide this Whatsapp user experience, during the roll-out there will be many questions on features, support cases and also reluctance by employees to use the chat tool. In general user adoption across the employee base will be questionable. Therefore in order to increase the chances of high user acceptance businesses often conclude that they require an enterprise messaging app with a Whatsapp look and feel.


2. Weak Digital Content Sharing


Microsoft Teams and Slack are good at file sharing and integrations. However, on mobile devices there is only limited digital content sharing. Again, employees except the same features like Whatsapp, and there Microsoft Teams and Slack are no fit. These chat tools have no voice and video messaging as well as no location sharing. Besides employees want read receipts for 1:1 and group chats in an enterprise messaging app, which Microsoft Teams and Slack do not provide.


3. Less Productivity with Threading


Microsoft Teams and Slack offer threading. While it can make the follow-up on certain discussions easier, overall it only complicates the user interface. With threading there is an additional notification tab to take care of, and the user interface has more elements. Employees don’t want this kind of user interface with several tabs like a social network. It reduces the transparency of the productivity tool and actually the user needs more time overall to cary out certain actions. Employees want an enterprise messaging app with the simplicity and speed of Whatsapp for maximum productivity.


4.No European Data Protection


The data protection of Microsoft Teams and Slack is based on US law and standards, which are pretty weak compared to European law and standards. Thus, these chat tools are often no fit for European enterprises because, they do not comply with strong data protection requirements, do not employ principles like data economy and minimal data usage, only offer privacy policies based on US law, focus on US regulations, lack features required for European law and are unlikely to fulfill the upcoming European General Data Protection Regulation. For European enterprises these drawbacks bear a significant risk. Sometimes one of these disadvantages alone is enough for a business to vote against Microsoft Teams and Slack and to choose a secure enterprise messaging app instead.


5. No European Cloud or On-Premise


Microsoft Teams and Slack are cloud services from the USA. Slack uses Amazon Web Services. Microsoft Teams is hosted in the Microsoft Cloud. In both cases the data of European businesses is not protected in these clouds from access by US authorities. Furthermore, there are no private cloud or on-premise hosting options for enterprises who need to be in complete control of the data. Therefore Microsoft Teams and Slack are often a no-go zone for customers like e.g. public sector, financial services, healthcare, pharmaceutical industry, law firms, professional services and manufacturing. Customers in these industries need a secure enterprise messaging app with the required hosting options in order to strongly protect confidential data and ensure compliance with European law and relevant regulations.


6. Weak Security Features


The encryption of Microsoft Teams and Slack cannot protect against man-in-the-middle attacks (e.g. in a WiFi when traveling or in a hotel). Besides these chat tools offer only minimal security and compliance policies (e.g. lack of data retention and content sharing policies). Also enterprises cannot configure communication rules for these chat tools in order to protect against distribution of confidential data.


7. Weak Mobile Application Management


Microsoft Teams and Slack do not support the leading mobile device management solutions (e.g. MobileIron or Airwatch). Thus there is no professional mobile application management for these chat tools. Businesses cannot automatically configure and install the apps on mobile devices, which results in increased administration and support efforts as well as slower roll-outs and lower user acceptance. In addition, enterprises cannot enforce security policies or tunneling to the corporate infrastructure. Furthermore, enterprises can hardly protect data in case a device gets lost or stolen. Businesses require an enterprise messaging app that ensures data loss prevention.


For more information on the secure enterprise messaging app of Teamwire, important requirements for European businesses and how to select the right enterprise messaging app for your company, please contact us.