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How Mio Overcomes 5 Challenges When Using Both Slack and Microsoft Teams

Highlights October 28, 2019
How Mio Overcomes the 5 Biggest Challenges When Using Both Slack and Microsoft Teams
Dominic Kent

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How Mio Overcomes 5 Challenges When Using Both Slack and Microsoft Teams

How Mio Overcomes the 5 Biggest Challenges When Using Both Slack and Microsoft Teams

Imagine if your new iPhone could only communicate with people who also have the new iPhone. You would need a different phone every time you met someone new. That’s the kind of inconvenience we’re talking to customers about before they introduce interoperability in their deployments of Slack and Microsoft Teams.

Sure, iPhone users get a few unique features when connecting with other iPhone users, but the same essential features (SMS, email, phone) work regardless of what device your colleagues use. 

So why doesn’t Slack and Microsoft Teams work the same way?

Why can’t Slack users message Teams users, or share a file with everyone in their team regardless of each person’s preferred app?

Business is business and each vendor wants to increase their user count. 

But for the user…it just doesn’t make sense.

Here, we look in-depth at the 5 biggest challenges when using both Slack and Microsoft Teams.

Then we look at why interoperability must exist and how you can use messaging interoperability to sync Slack and Microsoft Teams.

Jump to:

  1. Shadow IT
  2. Bring Your Own Chat
  3. Retaining Talent
  4. Sending, Storing, and Losing Documents
  5. Digital Transformation
  6. Interop Options for Slack and Microsoft Teams
  7. Native Interop for Slack and Microsoft Teams
  8. Mio’s Unfair Advantage

What are the biggest challenges when using both Slack & Microsoft Teams?

Your business is unique.

You may use the same tools, be on the same road, or sell the same product as your competitor, but your business is unique.

Therefore, each business will have its own challenges when both Slack and Microsoft Teams are in use.

Let’s dig into the most common challenges we hear from our customers.

1 – Shadow IT

Some businesses will have both platforms sanctioned.

Others are forced to support the secondary platform.

Shadow IT is a huge contributor to IT support and must quickly become part of your IT strategy.

Even if you have a list of approved apps, you can bet there’s a break-off group of people using something else.

One survey revealed that CIOs estimated their organizations used 51 cloud services when in fact they use 730.

So, what do you do?

Take all the apps away? Block Slack and move everybody onto Teams?

Thinking of blocking Slack?
What to do with Slack users when merging with a new business

For some – that might be a reasonable strategy.

Your employees might respect your decision to switch them over. After a few weeks of training, you’ll be ready for your team to operate smoothly again. 

In that unlikely scenario, you’ll face another problem.

Some of your team members won’t want to use different apps.

Even with a comms plan informing them to use Teams, users can still choose Slack. 

And vice versa.

If you push Slack as your single platform, you’ll be upsetting the Teams advocates.

You will still have shadow IT.

You may even accelerate it.

In fact, you create an entire sub-category: shadow messaging.

When unapproved apps appear, you have no idea where information is, what’s happening with your data, or who is using which platform.

It’s a collaboration free-for-all. 

Mio removes shadow messaging by allowing employees to use the tools they love.

Users that prefer Slack choose Slack as their primary platform.

Users that prefer Microsoft Teams choose Teams as their primary platform.

We help out behind the scenes and users continue chatting on the platform of their choice.

This native experience sets Mio aside from other ways of combatting shadow IT when using Slack and Microsoft Teams.

2 – Bring Your Own Chat

Humans are creatures of habit.

We’re more productive when we’re using tools we are used to.

We’re more creative when we enjoy the look and feel of the tools we are using.

Recognizing this, we should really apply the BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) mentality to chat platforms.

If you’re letting users choose a Mac over a Windows machine, why wouldn’t you let them select their choice of Slack and Microsoft Teams?

BYOC (Bring Your Own Chat) has a nice ring to it.

And you can have that for free.

But feel free to think of something catchier or more relevant to your business.

As an enterprise product, Mio allows you to badge your BYOC program as you like.

Rather than appear intrusive or yet another app to use, you can introduce Mio’s syncing of platforms as YOUR COMPANY INTEROP or ABC COMPANY TEAM SYNC or well, whatever you’d prefer.

3 – Retaining talent

If I told you that I would leave your company because you didn’t let me use the tools I knew I was most productive on, would you believe me?

A survey conducted by Spiceworks revealed 41% of millennials and Gen X workers said they wanted to work for a company that makes IT “more of a priority,” and 34% of baby boomers said the same.

We’re entering an era where companies are having to compete for the right talent, rather than being able to rely on candidates to bend over backward for the chance of a good job. 

America is experiencing a critical level of skill shortages across many industries.

When you convince someone to join your team but they discover that you won’t let them use their preferred tools, there’s nothing to stop them from finding another company that embraces productivity – and is actively doing something about it.

Slack and Microsoft Teams are the most popular team collaboration apps on the market today.

Slack is the most used messaging app
Slack is the most used messaging app

So, by making Slack and Microsoft Teams interoperable, you boost your chances of appealing to every kind of worker, by ensuring that team members can use the collaborative tools they feel most comfortable with.

4 – Sending, storing, (and losing) documents and information

One of the significant benefits of interoperability is that it gives you a complete overview of your entire collaboration strategy. 

If your CRM tools and collaboration services are all seamlessly connected, it’s much easier to create a universal hub of information, and data. 

But, if your employees are using different tools for collaboration, the files they send via messaging and the discussions they have remain separate.

This creates silos in your workspace

Workplace silos increase the chances of information being lost, employees getting confused, and tasks being repeated. 

-1 for productivity.

With Mio, you can ensure that all the files and messages shared between connected employees are consistent across each collaboration channel. 

If a user sends a file in Slack, it appears in Microsoft Teams, and vice versa. 

Take a look at this in action.

This removes the awkward hallway conversation of:

“Weren’t you going to send me that document?”

When your colleague or even your boss ignores the chat platform that you use, you could end up sending everything twice.

Read more: Here’s what happens when you ignore 100 Slack notifications in a row

5 – Using tech to enable digital transformation, not derail it

If digital transformation isn’t explicitly on your agenda, you’ve probably got components included in your IT strategy without realizing.

Or perhaps you have realized and have broken your digital transformation into segments.

Firstly, awesome job.

Digital transformation isn’t, and can’t be, one project to magically turn your business into a digital-first organization.

It also doesn’t have to be about introducing apps or platforms to replace your existing ones.

From CRM to HR, you’ve got enough on your plate.

One key thing to think about when going through digital transformation is…

Do you need another tool? If multiple platforms already exist, your colleagues are using them and are likely used to them.

You don’t want to cause disruption, formulate an adoption plan, and drive people to another training workshop.

So if you don’t need to add platforms, can you take some away and achieve digital transformation?

Yes.

Platform consolidation is healthy – but only if you do it the right way.

Are you going to force a section of users onto a single platform they are unfamiliar with and discontinue the other?

This may seem like the right decision to make cost-wise.

But only until you realize the cost savings of an interop strategy.

By auditing where licenses are currently consumed, your team collaboration strategy could quickly be consolidated from 7 chat tools to 2 primary chat tools.

This is where platform consolidation can stop.

If users of 7 platforms become 2, you have the perfect opportunity to let your users choose which platform they wish to use.

There’s also the added benefit of not locking down your team collaboration strategy to a single platform – which comes with its own considerable disadvantages.

And that’s where interoperability becomes not just relevant, but essential.

Interoperability options for Slack and Microsoft Teams

Vendors like Microsoft have tried to reduce the need for other digital tools by embedding things like Office 365 and Microsoft Outlook into the Microsoft Teams experience. 

Slack has purchased tools to integrate email and other functionality into its operations. 

While hardware vendors are happy to create tools like cameras and surface displays that work with just about any software, software vendors aren’t natively doing so yet.

However, as you’ve no doubt discovered, it’s practically impossible to find a one-size-fits-all collaboration tool that works for everyone in the workforce. 

Thankfully, APIs and integrations open the door to interoperability.

Typically we compare Slack vs Microsoft Teams and from an outsider’s view, they are at loggerheads.

Slack vs Microsoft Teams
Slack vs Microsoft Teams

However, Slack recently began offering integrations with Office 365 to give users a more interoperable experience.

In 2018, Slack bought Astro to try and bring more enterprise productivity tools into Slack. However, they also knew that this wouldn’t stop users from wanting access to their favorite Microsoft solutions too. 

In 2019, Slack began integrating with Microsoft OneDrive, Outlook, and other Office 365 offerings. 

The only thing missing?

A way to natively connect Slack and Microsoft Teams. 

Native Slack and Microsoft Teams interoperability

Growing efforts from Slack and Microsoft to become more interoperable are beneficial for the modern workforce. 

But they aren’t enough.

They’re certainly not enough right now.

And you shouldn’t have to wait for interoperability.

Microsoft and Slack both give today’s businesses the opportunity to increase productivity by combining their collaboration tools with additional solutions like email marketing tools, CRMs, and customer service solutions. 

However, most team collaboration software still misses out on one crucial kind of interoperability – working well with other messaging apps. 

Since the average number of workplace chat apps is 3.3, collaboration software is missing a trick. 

The Workplace Messaging Report revealed alarming insights into platform overlap
The Workplace Messaging Report revealed alarming insights into platform overlap

On the one hand – it makes sense. 

Providers like Slack and Microsoft want to convince businesses to move as many of their employees into a single platform as possible. 

On the other hand – today’s workplaces just don’t operate that way

People will use the tools that they prefer, whether you like it or not. 

The good news? 

You don’t have to wait for interoperability.

Tools like Mio bridge that very gap.

With Mio, you can overcome the biggest challenges when using both Slack & Microsoft Teams.

What is interoperability, anyway?

Google “interoperability” and you get 101 definitions from healthcare companies.

But this is the age of team collaboration and interoperability has a new meaning. 

You won’t get everything you need for an advanced communication and collaboration environment from a single vendor. 

Unless every single user is happy to be forced down a single channel, forget their preferences, and be at the mercy of one provider.

The average workplace is brimming with disconnected technology. 

91% of businesses are using at least 2 messaging apps. 

Interoperability is simply the joining up of those messaging apps.

When systems are interoperable, they can share information, preserve the original context of conversations, and keep teams more consistently connected. 

Interoperability bridges the gap between the endless digital tools that we all rely on today. 

So, why Mio? What is Mio’s unfair advantage?

Mio ensures that your users do not require a change in the way they work.

Other interoperability solutions and workarounds help address the 5 challenges mentioned above but need each user to download another app or change how they chat.

Mio is invisible.

Admins have access to the Mio Hub where a one-time setup is required.

Ongoing changes can be made here too but there is no regular maintenance required – like you may be used to when managing webhooks.

Once prompted to sync their account, everyone continues chatting, sharing files, and reacting with emojis as they did before.

To recap…

  • The best way to overcome the biggest challenges faced when using both Slack and Microsoft Teams is to introduce interoperability
  • Both Slack and Microsoft Teams have options to integrate various aspects of your messaging experience
  • Interoperability solutions and workarounds do exist
  • Mio is the only interoperability solution that keeps your users experience exactly the same as if they were chatting on one platform
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    Barbara Waller

    Good article. But I would still vote for Microsoft teams. Microsoft Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform much similar to platforms like R-HUB web video conferencing servers, Polycom, Webex, etc. that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage (including collaboration on files), and application integration, all in one box.