How to Choose The Best Platform For Your Organization

With the current unprecedented (Let’s be honest: Crazy) state of the world right now, it’s no surprise that a huge portion of us are working from home. Communication tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom have dominated the conversation in the Software space for the last month as companies increasingly rely on cloud-based solutions to maintain efficient communication amongst peers and clients alike.

Microsoft Teams and Zoom, while at a high level accomplish the same objective, have vastly different feature sets and infrastructures that drive them. Here is a look at how the two compare- and why we recommend Microsoft Teams over Zoom for our clients.

Microsoft Teams and Zoom Integration Capabilities

Microsoft 365 (Formally Office 365) is currently the engine that is relied on by over 180 Million monthly active users. It’s no shock then, given the current environment, that Teams increased its daily user count from 32 Million to 44 Million in March alone.

One major benefit of Microsoft Teams is that it offers a tight integration with the rest of the office suite. The apps we use every day like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint allow users to share and collaborate live with their colleagues directly within Teams.

Not to be left out is how Teams ties into OneDrive and SharePoint. The backend engine that drives OneDrive and SharePoint is the same engine that drives Teams. That means that all your files (regardless of type) are seamlessly available from any device, any service, anywhere in the world.

Teams also offers a collaborative whiteboard that can be utilized during meetings to visually share ideas and draw out concepts. Microsoft Planner, a popular Kanban-style project management tool, is at its best within Teams; Seamlessly allowing the creation of a collaborative space to manage tasks as a group. Another key component of integration is how well these tools work with other platforms and services that we leverage every day. I know that for myself, I use products from many different “ecosystems” every day and it can be quite a hassle to keep track of everything I have running.

One thing I like about Teams is how it supports third-party tools outside of the Microsoft Ecosystem. There’s built-in support for popular third-party tools like:

  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • YouTube
  • Meural
  • Polly (A polling tool)
  • Evernote

Because of Microsoft’s large suite of services, along with their deeply engrained relationships with some of the largest technology companies in the world, Teams frequently has the upper hand on Zoom when it comes to first- and third-party offerings. Teams also allow your IT team to manage the availability of new features at a highly granular level, ensuring employees are given access to new tools at a pace appropriate for your organization.

I can add these tools to my Teams or add them to the Teams I am a member of for all my colleagues to interact with and collaborate. There are hundreds of apps available, but in the event I can’t find the one I’m looking for, I can simply enter the URL of any website I would like and interact with it directly in Teams.

Microsoft Teams and Zoom Security Capabilties

It’s no question that security is an incredibly important subject when we talk about communication within an organization. When we meet with our colleagues, we’re talking about company policies, strategies, and other sensitive information.

That’s why I was surprised to see that Zoom, a major player in the enterprise communication space, has been plagued by security issues and breaches in the last several months as usage has ramped up. Headlines like “More than 500,000 Zoom Account Credentials Sold On Dark Web” and “Zoom has a Dark Side – And an FBI Warning ” have prompted widespread concern around the safety of our calls.

Security is one of the core reasons I encourage the adoption of Teams over Zoom. Microsoft has a long history of maintaining a complex cybersecurity infrastructure that is trusted by some of the largest enterprises and governments in the world.

Microsoft Teams is a part of that comprehensive security infrastructure that is contained within Microsoft 365. Companies have robust control over guest access, user features, second-factor authentication, audits, retention policies, and more.

On top of the standard Microsoft security offering, Teams communications are encrypted in transit and at rest, ensuring your sensitive data remains safe from all manner of potential risks.

Microsoft Teams and Zoom Connection Capabilities

One point of trepidation I hear a lot about these tools is: If all our colleagues are physically apart, how do we maintain our company culture? Are we just doomed to become a corporate jargon-fueled email machine? These are real concerns that these communication platforms are evolving to accommodate.

Using Microsoft Teams as an example: Not only does Teams offer robust “formal” communication (Like one on one chats, advanced formatting, conference calls with internal and external users), it also offers social-media style features that make users feel more like people. Features like reactions, GIF integration (my favorite), whiteboards, and soon will offer custom video backgrounds during video calls.

Accessibility is important too. Services like Teams offer live captioning during conference calls for those hard of hearing, and built-in translation services for text messages for everyone around the world.

It’s easy to get caught up in a “who has the best features” discussion, but at the end of the day, it’s important to remember why these tools exist: To facilitate a human connection when we’re all apart. I’m not sure what I would do without the Virtual Happy Hours and Lunches that my team has been encouraging! Whether you’re socializing with your team or crushing that sales call, it’s no question that these communication tools are crucial in keeping our professional life moving forward.

With everything going on, the time to modernize your business was yesterday. If you are thinking about implementing a virtual communication software, connect with our team to see how we can help your organization get set-up quickly!

If you are looking to implement a new virtual communication software across your organization, our team might be able to help.

Shay Hendrick is a Sales Engineer at Affirma.

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