Top Microsoft Teams alternatives
Lots of teams have embraced the use of Microsoft Teams for their communication needs in recent years. With the rapid growth of the remote and distributed teams number it became necessary to use a multi-purpose tool for internal communication. Being part of the Office 365 suite of programs, MS Teams looks like a perfect and available right here and right now tool.
This collaboration platform brings team members together and includes the following features:
- Private and group chats
- Outbound calling
- Screen sharing
- Meetings recording
- Azure Active Directory identity
- Teams and Channels
However, some of these features are available only for paid business subscriptions like Microsoft 365 Business Basic and Microsoft Teams Essentials (AAD identity). In addition, there are certain limitations for files storage per user.
MS Teams' free version misses such important features as Whiteboard, Teams and Channels and single sign-on. And the only way to see how this works is to read Microsoft's user manual or upgrade to a paid version. If you are not sure about the collaboration software for your business, MS Teams is not the only one available on the market. You can consider Microsoft Teams alternatives which we described in this post.
Why do users look for Microsoft Teams alternatives?
MS Teams application is highly integrated with Microsoft ecosystem. Though this is very convenient for corporations using Microsoft 365, but for other operating systems it may be troublesome to integrate Microsoft Teams and take advantage of all its features.
Free version of MS Teams is quite limited and will suit for private communication and educational purposes. However, for business communication it lacks such important features as:
- Tasks and issues tracking
- Integration with Active Directory
- Meetings recording
Paid versions of MS Teams allow any user to create teams. Though this helps to increase collaboration, it opens the door to those who want to harm your company or steal data. For example, external devices which are not managed within the organization, can connect to Teams and steal or compromise data within channels. Moreover, employees can accidentally upload sensitive files to such "open" channels. Despite MS Teams offers an ability to manage permissions, it requires time and effort to configure everything and create secure collaboration environment.
Virola Corporate Messenger
Virola Corporate Messenger can be a great hosted on-premises alternative to Microsoft Teams. This business messenger has a wide range of features and high security standards which will keep your corporate communication protected from data leakages. Virola can be easily integrated into your environment. It does not require complicated server installation – just a couple of clicks and your business messenger is up and running. It is available for Windows, macOS and Linux. In addition, authentication with AD credentials is supported.
For many businesses Virola messenger will become a versatile tool for communication and collaboration. It has a fully featured free version and allows testing all available functionality:
- Private and group chats
- Video and audio conferencing
- Remote control and screen sharing
- Noise suppression
- Issues (tasks) tracking
- Task board (aka Scrum board or Kanban board)
- Messages to tasks conversion
- Meetings scheduler
- Unlimited files storage
- Users sign-in with Active Directory credentials
- Images preview
Though Virola messenger has limited integrations with other services, it has all needed features inside the tool. External integrations are additional security risks. If your organization has high security standards, Virola on-premises messenger is the right solution for efficient collaboration and communication.
Discord is tailored to gamers' communication. It allows creating chat servers and inviting other participants. These can be either closed servers for groups or larger servers for communities. The popularity of Discord is also growing among educational organizations. It allows sending files, sharing screenshots, chatting and streaming class sessions through video like Google Classrooms and Zoom.
Discord is secure and has multiple access verification protocols. However, with wrong permissions you can open your server to unnecessary risks. Being geared to the gaming industry Discord may be not the best solution for a professional network.
MS Teams and Slack are both designed for communication and teams' collaboration. While MS Teams is part of Microsoft ecosystem, Slack is a stand-alone tool with robust third-party integrations. Free Slack plan supports chatting, video conferencing, one-to-one calls (Huddles). However, to take advantage of group calls or group screen sharing you need to upgrade to a paid plan.
Slack does not require to submit extensive personal data unless you decide to upgrade to a paid plan. You can start with a free version to see if the tool meets your needs and then proceed to a paid version to take advantage of all collaboration tools available. Slack is a great alternative to MS Teams if you require more flexibility and a wider range of integrations. In terms of communication and collaboration both tools offer excellent features.
Troop messenger is a comprehensive collaboration tool with a wide range of features. It allows chatting, supports audio and video calls, group and private chats, file sending and screen sharing. For images it offers preview options without the necessity to download files. It can be a great alternative to MS Teams as it has a more intuitive interface and a wider range of useful chatting features and search filters. Both on-premises and cloud versions are available with Troop messenger.
However, unlike MS Teams Troop messenger does not provide a free plan. It can also be quite expensive if your team has many users. On the other side Troop messenger is very intuitive and you can easily bring teams and projects onboard with it.
Rocket.Chat is an open-source alternative to MS Teams. It is more secure and offers end-to-end encryption as well as several layers of verification. Rocket.Chat is more flexible with access to the source code. It is centered around scalability and enterprise-level customizations. While MS Teams is deeply integrated into Microsoft environment, Rocket.Chat has a wider range of integrations and APIs.
If your organization is looking for a deep integration into their workflow with additional customizations, hosting everything on-premises or on a secure cloud, Rocket.Chat will be the best alternative to MS Teams.
Selecting the right collaboration platform for your business is very important today. With so many MS Teams alternatives you can easily find the one you need. However, before you start looking for alternatives, you should know what kind of functionality is essential for your team. This will help you find the right tool and easily integrate it with your workflow.
Here is the list of questions you should answer to narrow your search down:
- What kind of features are essential?
- What kind of infrastructure do you need?
- How many users does the software support?
- What is your budget?
- How easy is to set up the service?