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3 Alternatives To Microsoft’s Collaboration Tools

3 Alternatives To Microsoft’s Collaboration Tools

The pandemic has ushered in a new age of collaborative working. In response to demand, increasing numbers of software developers are offering solutions. Some of these are excellent, and others should be given a wide berth. Here’s a critique of the three market-leading applications you’re most likely to encounter, and why the team at Fuse Collaboration think that Microsoft 365 is the winner.

1) Zoom

If there was a defining technology term for 2020, it would have to be Zoom. The reason was simple: Zoom was already well-established prior to the pandemic, and was the easiest peer-to-peer software platform for people to access.

However, it didn’t turn out to have a Hollywood ending. From the start, Zoom has been plagued by privacy issues, which were described by Forbes magazine as a “security nightmare”. Kari Paul, technology reporter for The Guardian, went as far as describing the platform as malware, hinting that the dodgy coding is deliberate. While this accusation is almost certainly false, Zoom’s platform limitations and persistent software glitches created a real headache for businesses that need to collaborate on sensitive issues, such as finance.

Microsoft’s 365 has inbuilt security features that make it a much more stable and robust platform. Companies can talk and exchange information without any concern about theft of intellectual property or finance details.

2) Google Hangouts

The name says it all with Google Hangouts. A direct competitor to Zoom, it is a casual, easily accessible app with an interface that anyone can use. To access Hangouts, companies need to create a G Suite account, and then they are free to ‘hang out’ as a collaborative team via the Meet portal.

The main critique of Hangouts is that its functionality is very basic. We saw this with the evolution of the email element of Google – Gmail – which in its early days lacked creativity in terms of its development. Although the veneer might be shiny, Google products are sometimes – although by no means always – bottom-shelf in terms of what they offer, and Hangouts is no different. This leaves organisations with major gaps to fill in order to collaborate effectively.

Microsoft 365 offers a much more comprehensive and integrated package. It provides solutions that go beyond the simple requirement for real-time chat, such as simultaneous meetings and document collaboration options.

3) Slack

Slack is a powerful addition to the collaborative software market. Its host of features include being able to pin messages, create polls, and talk in real-time. It also has the widely applauded feature of integration with other apps, making it similar to a business version of Alexa. The integration runs so deep that one user on their promotional website says: “we have a farm that speaks to the kitchen, we have a kitchen that speaks to everything.”

Good stuff, and a high five to Slack for putting together an app that is genuinely useful. However, there are a few problems. The most pressing is that Slack is so integrated that it can feel completely overwhelming. Designed for digital natives, anyone who is arriving at remote working with an entirely desk-based background can quickly become bewildered, make mistakes, and work inefficiently. An additional, squirm-making issue is that “your boss can read your DMs, and everyone can see how much you talk.”

Privacy matters in the workplace, and privacy is central to Microsoft 365. Group chats are great, but there are always going to be times when an email needs to be confidential.

Next Steps

At Fuse Collaboration, we understand that businesses are looking for the best options in an expanding ocean of choices. Our experience and feedback has convinced us that Microsoft 365 is the best out there at the moment. To hear more about why, get in touch today.

Image source: Unsplash

About the author


Fuse is a Microsoft Partner, based in Northampton. We help organisations of all sizes to maximise IT efficiencies through the use of Microsoft cloud computing solutions.

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