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Microsoft Teams is a common choice for organizations that need a unified communications (UC) solution and already rely on Microsoft’s suite of business applications.
Now that remote workplace collaboration is the norm rather than the exception, Teams' video capabilities, telephony features, and Office 365 application integrations are valuable tools to help remote employees deliver their best work.
But what if Teams simply isn't an adequate solution for your organization? Might one of the many Microsoft Teams alternatives provide what you need — and would migrating to a new platform be worth it?
As a UC platform, Microsoft Teams includes
However, Teams might not be the best choice if you aren't using Office 365, need to collaborate with many people outside your organization, or want no-download options for calls. Many organizations might also want ai product with more intuitive and granular file sharing or storage options and integrations that Teams doesn’t offer.
Let’s take a look at some of the most common alternatives to Teams to get a sense of what Teams users might be missing
Zoom offers many of the same features available in Teams, such as video conferencing and chat. However, the platform also functions as an enterprise phone system, webinar platform, and contact center.
If you've never used Zoom for business, there's a good chance you've used it for video calls with friends and family. Zoom's free plan offers meetings for up to 40 minutes, making it a popular option for consumers who want to have casual conversations via video.
In addition to meetings, phone, and chat, Zoom includes collaborative whiteboards where users can draw, add notes, and send their ideas to others for input. This feature might be handy for organizations that would have traditionally used a physical whiteboard to brainstorm ideas.
Zoom can also serve as a virtual events platform, including ticketing and registration tools. Using Zoom, event attendees can chat or exchange their contact information with others at the event. There are options for donations (if your event has a charitable purpose) and tools that help organizers track ticket revenue, audience engagement, and other metrics.
Teams and Zoom have a lot in common. Virtual meetings and video calling are flagship features for both platforms, and they offer telephony and instant messaging.
The advantages of Zoom include its wide array of integrations and simple browser add-ons. For example, If you're already using Slack for group chat and don't want to migrate to something else, Zoom offers easy integration with the application.
Aside from the free option, both offer a per-user price. Teams' cost per user is much cheaper than Zoom's price per license.
Slack is widely known as an advanced chat application. Though Slack has matured as an application over the years, chat remains the dominant feature and is where it truly shines.
But there's a bit more to Slack than you might realize. Many organizations turn to Slack because it is superior to email for internal collaboration and keeping conversations organized. Slack also offers additional features — phone calls and video chat — that might be valuable for some companies.
Among the more notable features Slack offers are its “channels.” Organizations using Slack can quickly start channels (siloed chat rooms) with certain team members to work on specific projects.
For example, in a company of 50 people, you might have one Slack channel for the entire organization, seven department-specific channels, and smaller channels for smaller teams working on different projects.
There are tools in Slack to help you keep conversations organized, and many organizations find it easier to go back and find information in Slack than they ever did with email.
How does Slack compare against Teams for video conferencing and telephony?
You can place calls to team members inside your Slack channel (voice or video). Still, Slack is not an ideal solution for larger video conferences with multiple attendees who may or may not be from within your organization. Slack integrates with other tools in the UC and UCaaS (Unified Communication as a Service) spaces, but it is not a UC application.
For Teams, video conferencing is a fundamental feature. Instead of using Slack as an alternative to Teams, it usually makes more sense to use Slack in conjunction with a more expansive UC platform.
Cisco's WebEx product is a long-established video conferencing platform. Organizations large and small use WebEx for virtual meetings, phone calls, messaging, and webinars. Because of its recognizable name and brand longevity, it's one of the most common Microsoft Teams alternatives available.
Like Teams, WebEx emphasizes enterprise-grade security for business users and the all-in-one nature of its platform. Unlike Slack, WebEx is a dedicated UC platform designed to bring remote teams together in various ways.
The overall WebEx feature set looks very similar to Teams. In addition to video calls and messaging, WebEx includes an interactive feature called Slido. Users can deploy Slido for multiple-choice polls, pop quizzes, or instant feedback about meetings or sessions.
Like Teams, WebEx is equipped with tools for workforce management, including scheduling tools and real-time monitoring of users as they perform shift management tasks.
In addition, WebEx includes event management tools. Whereas some UC apps, such as Zoom, limit events management to virtual events, organizations can also manage in-person events with WebEx's registration and ticketing features. Event attendees can also use WebEx's Mobile Event App to access event-specific content.
Though Teams and WebEx have a lot in common, there are differences. Some distinctions are subtle, but others could be deal breakers for some organizations.
First, WebEx offers support for a variety of application integrations. Teams has more limited integrations and work best for organizations committed to Microsoft's suite of business applications. Cisco also claims its security protocols are more straightforward, so enforcing your corporate security standards is easier.
WebEx also integrates with virtually any video or audio chat device, including headsets, whereas Teams' device integrations are often less consistent. Finally, a centralized Control Hub in WebEx gives users one dashboard to manage tasks. Teams lacks this centralized location for managing activities and third-party applications.
Avaya OneCloud UCaaS offers a robust Microsoft Teams alternative. The platform is comparable to Teams in that it includes video conferencing, messaging, and collaboration tools. But Avaya's offering is remarkably comprehensive, even when considering Teams' tight integration with Office 365 apps.
In addition to the capabilities you'd expect from any unified communications platform, Avaya OneCloud UCaaS is HIPAA and GDPR compliant, so you can use it to share confidential medical data. The platform also integrates seamlessly with whatever business applications you're already using, such as Office 365, Google products, Slack, or even Salesforce.
Within Avaya OneCloud UCaaS, you get two options: Avaya Spaces® and Avaya Cloud Office® by RingCentral.
Avaya Spaces is a customizable solution for engaging in conversations, beginning video conferences, and sharing information. Unlike many other UC platforms, Avaya Spaces lets you start a meeting with a single click — and people outside your organization won't have to download any software to join the conversation.
Because Avaya Spaces is a composable solution, you can tweak it to meet your company’s specific needs. For example, if you want to collaborate on a multi-faceted project, you can set up Avaya Spaces, so it's easy for everybody to see conversations, tasks, and files at a glance.
Compared to Avaya Spaces’ near-endless customizations, cloud-based business communications Avaya Cloud Office is a one-stop destination for business communications. Its quick, straightforward integration into your business systems makes it easy to collaborate with anybody inside or outside your organization via chat, voice, and video.
Analytics from Avaya Cloud Office also provide the inside scoop on meeting metrics, from the frequency of meetings to the length of time spent in meetings and beyond. Avaya Cloud Office is available via an app, but you can also access it inside your browser.
Within Avaya Cloud Office, you can also make and place VOIP calls. Avaya's platform supports one-touch dialing and directory integration. Organizations can also support multiple devices on a single number or switch seamlessly between mobile and desktop phones.
A common criticism of Teams is that the platform can feel like a wrapper for many legacy Microsoft applications. For organizations locked into those apps, it's easy to decide just to use Teams and the other Microsoft products they're accustomed to.
But for organizations that aren't locked into those apps (or for those that are but don't feel like they have to use Microsoft's UC product), a comprehensive application like Avaya OneCloud UCaaS is a compelling alternative. Integration with Office 365 is a part of Avaya’s approach to UCaaS, so it's easy to get up and running even if you're committed to those tools.
There are also features available in Avaya Spaces and Avaya Cloud Office that you can't get with Teams. For example, Avaya Spaces offers an intuitive dashboard view of all your communication spaces and tasks, which makes it easy to get the info you need at a glance. The dashboard also simplifies starting new meetings or accessing content from past ones. In addition, you can place calls directly from your browser and see all of your video calls in HD.
There are a lot of features in Avaya OneCloud UCaaS, many of which are hard to come by in other UC or collaboration tools.
Google's suite of business tools includes many of the same consumer apps you might be familiar with. There's Drive, Gmail, and Sheets. The company also offers Meet for video conferencing.
With a starting price of $6/user, Google Workspace costs more per user than Teams. However, if you're already using many of Google's other web applications, it could make more sense to use Workspace.
Workspace is more of a suite of apps than a dedicated UCaaS solution. Many of the products it includes will already be familiar to users, such as Google Docs and Drive. Since Workspace includes Chat and Meet, you can argue that Google offers a bona fide UC platform. However, Google’s solutions lack a central dashboard for managing the tasks and activities that spring from conversations on the tools themselves.
For smaller organizations, this might not be a problem. But for enterprise deployments — especially deployments where there's an expectation that workflow tools will exist within the UC platform — something like Avaya OneCloud UCaaS would likely be a better fit.
That being said, Workspace still puts several communication and collaboration tools at your fingertips. Going all-in with Workspace could make sense if you're already using Google Slides and need video conferencing tools to collaborate around your presentations.
In some ways, Workspace and Teams are similar. Among other Microsoft Teams competitors, it's the most like Teams because it has built-in integration with its sister productivity applications. Also, like Teams, many of those apps are household names (think Word and Docs).
Unlike Teams, however, Workspace lacks a central location or hub for managing the different activities and collaborations in its connected applications. Workspace also doesn’t offer Teams' workforce management and scheduling features. To mimic this functionality, you must devise schedules manually using Google Sheets.
Again, Google Workspace isn’t quite a UC platform. It’s a suite of business applications, many of which are helpful, that would become even more valuable when integrated with a more complete cloud-based UC product.
Avaya OneCloud UCaaS offers the most comprehensive suite of tools available for an all-in-one, enterprise unified communications solution. Many organizations are discovering the advantages of Avaya OneCloud as a Microsoft Teams alternative. The benefits of switching are numerous, from better security controls to a more intuitive and all-encompassing user experience.
Get in touch with the Avaya team to request a demo or ask questions about our UCaaS options.