We ditched Slack for Microsoft Teams

With remote workers, an increasing work-from-home policy, and the need to liaison with clients from multiple time zones, all of us at FVM thought we were pretty good at virtual collaboration.

Then March happened.

Just like many companies, we were very quickly forced to rely on software 24/7 for video conferencing, chatting, and basic human interaction. Soon thereafter, we started realizing we weren’t exactly enamored with the motley mix of tools we had been using before.

So we switched to Microsoft Teams for almost everything. Now we’re more secure, more efficient, and mostly happy with what it’s been able to do for us.

More responsive than WebEx

For years, FVM relied on WebEx for remote client meetings and online presentations. And while WebEx is robust for screen sharing, we frequently encountered issues with audio quality, framerate, and a sometimes difficult call setup. The high cost of licensing didn’t help.

With Teams, we’ve actually improved on overall video and audio quality — now we can present simple animation in higher fidelity before. We were also able, with a little IT digging, to enable telephony services that generate dial-in numbers so attendees can join via phone line. As a plus, we never have to hear the WebEx welcome chime ever again.

More robust than Slack

Slack has been FVM’s chat platform for about 5 years, initially adopted to supplant email clutter and make project progress more transparent across the agency. It performed beautifully in this role, but its lackluster call features forced us to jump to other platforms (like WebEx). The size of FVM also meant finding the right balance between the base version of Slack and the premium edition was not easy. As a result, we had to live with old chat messages being auto-deleted on a regular basis.

Teams puts chat, audio calls, video calls, presentations, and file sharing into one space. Now, it’s easy for anyone at FVM to quickly turn a conversation into a meeting, record it, and share the results with the rest of the agency quickly. And while it might take an extra click to share memes in company chat channels, we’re getting by just fine.

Better integration than Zoom

When we first set up our remote infrastructure, Zoom was an easy pick for video — and significantly more user friendly than WebEx for just about everything. We still prefer Zoom for large all-hands meetings (Microsoft is still catching up on video display for huge crowds), but Teams has made setting up meetings and calls a natural extension of the way we already used Outlook.

That’s because the Teams calendar is the Outlook calendar, meaning adding a meeting to one automatically syncs it to the other. It’s a huge win for convenience (you can click “Join Meeting” for invitation reminders instead of having to find a link in your email). It’s also a bonus to security. With Teams, we don’t have to worry about wrongful access or lapsed accounts — users are automatically verified and added/administrated through the agency’s Microsoft Office master employee list.

It’s not perfect, but…

It’s fair to say that for any one feature — chat, calls, video — Teams is not necessarily the number one solution. But with so many strengths in a single, convenient package, the switch to Teams for FVM has made it easier to stay connected and secure.  As more of our clients adopt Teams, we’ve even found our external presentations are going smoother, faster, and with fewer tech hiccups than ever before. And for the low, low price of already-included-in-our-Microsoft-Office-subscription, we couldn’t ask for more.

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