2020 has resulted in businesses having to reshape how we collaborate and communicate at work. Businesses are trying and testing different video conferencing platforms so that, through Covid-19, they can try and stay a functioning, profitable business. You may not even have heard of Zoom this time last year, but now it’s a staple of households and businesses so they can talk to their family members, friends, and – for the purpose of this blog – colleagues.
But will Zoom replace the oh-so-popular unified communication and collaboration platform Teams in your workplace, or is Teams still the best option? We think it depends on how you’re using the platform, or how you could use a different platform for better results.
Microsoft Teams is a productivity app you can use across devices – computers, smartphones, and tablets alike (there are, however, some different features and functionalities when comparing the platforms). Enjoy enriched learning and communication in the workplace when you use Teams with real-time collaboration across cities and time zones (or, from within the same city but different houses, like right now during Covid-19). Think of the Teams app as the physical office your employees are in, and then the different channels (threads) the different rooms (groups of people working together) within the office. Of course, like many small-to-medium businesses, you will have employees who contribute across multiple teams, which Microsoft Teams makes simple and easy to navigate. Within Teams (remember, the house!!), there is an Activity Feed. In relation to our previous analogies, this could be considered the hallway of the house, where people pass each other, give updates, and exchange ideas. There are also private chats you can have (with one or more people from any parts of the business, as well as tabs, which help are there to help you find what you need. Teams can dramatically change the way we work, which can be tricky at the moment if your business was essentially forced into becoming a remote workplace. Stanfield IT have many resources to get you across using Teams in 2020.
Zoom was launched in 2011, with the goal to make video chats and conferencing seamless. Many people, though, had not heard of Zoom until we went into lockdown as a result of the current global pandemic. The purpose of zoom is more tailored than that of Teams – it is, in essence, a video and online chat communications platform. But why has Zoom recently taken off when we already have options like Skype and Hangouts? We think that the ease of use (from downloading the app to chatting to friends or colleagues) is where Zoom wins out. Although Zoom hasn’t stated just how much subscribers they’ve accrued in the first half of 2020, they have said that they made over double ($328 million this year compared to $122 million last year) in their Feb-April quarter. It hasn’t all been happy sailing, though, with this increased attention bringing scrutiny on Zoom’s security practices, causing them to freeze feature updates for 90 days and focus on security or privacy to rectify these issues. Zoom took the challenges of 2020 in their stride, with the CEO Eric Yuan saying they want to be able to provide the same experience however you’re using it – ‘our strategy is offer one service no matter what you do, no matter which device.’ Like Teams, Zoom is available across devices – iPhone, Android, Windows, and Mac.
So, what’s the difference between Microsoft Teams and Zoom?
Teams is a tool that designed for one thing: collaboration. Of course, collaboration can happen in lots of ways (video, chat, over documents, etc). It’s been designed to improve internal communication, whether people are physically in or out of the office. Zoom is more targeted, a seamless way to offer video conferencing in the office, complete with exceptional-quality video and audio. Like Microsoft Teams, Zoom video has key functionalities for your business both internally and externally.
While Zoom has the focus on video conferencing, Teams may win you over with the robust chat capabilities that let you communicate quickly, efficiently, and whether or not the receiver of you messages are online. To communicate on Zoom, a conference needs to be set up (it has chat function, but this appears as a side bar during the call). For those quick questions or – dare we say it – some office banter, Teams is the answer.
Why, then, would you choose Zoom over Teams in some cases? Well, being a more one-platform (video) service, they do video well. Very well. If your business is one that has multiple video chats/calls during the day (see why it’s been so popular in 2020) then Zoom is an easy, high-quality way to host your daily face-to-face meetings. If you have clients, stakeholders, or anyone else outside the company who needs to join the conversation, Zoom makes it very easy to do this – you don’t need to be a part of the company account. Teams has seen the potential of this, however, and you can add external users to Teams. This process still isn’t quite as simple as chatting to people from different companies on Zoom, though.
So, if you’re using the video app to talk to multiple people outside your business (maybe your business does content creation for numerous businesses or you’re in recruitment and conduct face-to-face interviews), then Zoom will stand out for you. Zoom also has cool extra features within the video chat, like multi-screen sharing for training and presentations.
Zoom vs Teams: What’s Missing?
Despite being strong in their areas of expertise, Teams and Zoom still have some gaps to fill (and seem to be learning from one another – think like Android vs iPhones). If you want a standalone product, Zoom is the option to go with. Teams, unfortunately, loses some of its appeal if purchased separately from the Microsoft Office Suite – it’s built to work used as a part of the other apps as a complementary, integrated workplace experience. The way in which Microsoft Teams is built to be used the Microsoft suite or office software means that is lacks third-party integrations. Some of the advanced conferencing features that Zoom offer businesses are lacking in Microsoft Teams, like multiple screen sharing.
While Zoom has applaudable web-conferencing features, it’s missing those advanced collaboration features that Microsoft Teams presents – like the chat feature. Teams also has been connection for international conferences. If you’d like to use Zoom for a work group conference, the free version has a time limit of 40 minutes for this (but you can always try the free version first and change you plan to one of the three paid options). The free version does, however, allow up to 45 people to join the meeting and has a great layout where you can see dozens of people across your screen (the amount of people you can see on Teams concurrently is limited).
Zoom vs Teams: Pricing
Each platform – Microsoft Teams and Zoom – offer free versions with limited functionality. You can install Teams for free if you don’t have Office 365, but the most popular, streamlined way to use it is as a part of an Office 365 subscription. This offers three pricing tiers (see below), all of which include Teams and require a one-year commitment. Zoom has three different paid options, as well as the Basic (free) option. The free option is great for personal use (think the video calls we have been having between friends and family during the Covid-19 lockdown), but paid versions offer more scope for small-to-medium businesses like ours and yours. See below for the current pricing options and inclusions for Teams and Zoom.
Zoom vs Teams: The Verdict
Both Teams and Zoom have their advantages and are great at what they do. If you already use Office 365 products, Microsoft Teams is a popular choice for businesses. It is packaged in with the Office 365 suite and you can also be confident in a streamlined workplace as it syncs up well with other Microsoft technologies. Zoom is also a platform that has great potential for your business, and should be considered by companies that are looking for high-quality video conferencing by itself, without the other features Teams offers. It’s also so easy to set up for both employees and external users. Need to chat more about Zooms and Teams? Contact us today!