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Slack updates platform as Microsoft Teams doubles daily users
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

As enterprises lean on communication apps to keep their teams connected amidst “social distancing,” it’s been a busy few weeks for market leaders Slack and Teams, who have seen their daily active users explode while unveiling major solution enhancements.

On Wednesday, Mar 18, Slack unveiled the app’s largest platform redesign in nearly five years. Although the update was in the works long before the coronavirus outbreak, the goal of the overhaul was to make the platform more user-friendly for first timers – great timing, as Slack has seen “unprecedented, explosive growth in everything” over the past week, Slack co-founder and CEO Stewart Butterfield said in an interview.

“We’ve had five-plus years of kind of the same overall framework, and during that time we’ve added enormous amounts of functionality, [roughly] 80% of all the features in Slack were invented after the basic UI,” Butterfield told Protocol in an interview. “So there’s just an enormous amount of product debt and design debt that was right to be paid off.”

One feature includes a new compose button that allows Slack users to write their message in a pop-up text box before choosing the intended receiver, helping avoid the “so and so is typing…” message that can cause minor anxieties for Slack senders and receivers. Other features similarly strive to make the platform as straightforward for users outside of Slack’s Silicon Valley proving grounds – a market that has been a boon for Microsoft Teams, which has risen dramatically in popularity among users familiar with the hugely popular Office365 suite of solutions.

Microsoft more than doubles users month-over-month

The ubiquity and user-friendly experience of Microsoft Teams has surely helped the platform capitalize on workers’ unique unified communication needs during self isolation. Last Thursday, Microsoft reported a whopping 44 million daily active users on Teams – more than double November’s 20 million and up 12 million from the week before.

Microsoft is also working hard to make Teams even more user friendly, with upcoming video conferencing features like noise suppression, a “raise hand” tool, and the ability to break into side convos all on the short-term product roadmap. Microsoft is also hoping that these new functions will distract users from a platform outage on Monday, March 16, when European users logged on en masse and halted performance.

Whatever tools your team is using to stay connected as you forgo the office and set up work from home, ensuring that the network supporting your communication apps is up to the task is critical.

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Filed Under: industry insights

Tags: UCaaS, SaaS, messaging apps, Microsoft Teams, Teams, Slack, enterprise communication, communication apps, enterprise network, remote management, remote workers, remote working, remote work, working from home, work from home, network management, network performance monitoring, enterprise IT

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