Breaking Down Microsoft Teams vs Facebook’s Workplace Collaboration Platforms
We’ve posed this question a few times: how do you select the right workstream collaboration platform for your organization with so many different options to cover? We’ve discussed Microsoft Teams vs Cisco Webex Teams, Microsoft Teams vs Zoom, Zoom vs Skype for Business, Slack vs Microsoft Teams… the number of combinations is clearly not lacking. But now, with many large enterprises beginning to entrust their collaboration needs to Workplace from Facebook, what about the comparison of Microsoft Teams vs Workplace from Facebook?
This face-off is an interesting comparison because many IT executives and organizations perceive Workplace from Facebook only as an enterprise social network as opposed to a workstream collaboration platform. However, for the portion of the market that already positions Workplace from Facebook as a robust workstream collaboration application, there are a few areas worth comparing with Microsoft Teams. This post will help you to understand which platform makes sense for your organization, drilling down on features, user experience, telephony, security, and training and user adoption.
Microsoft Teams and Workplace from Facebook Featuresets
Using the squint test for the topline set of key functionality, Microsoft Teams vs Facebook’s Workplace come out fairly even. They both support group collaboration, chats, video calls, file sharing, and there are a series of integrations available.
Both offer the ability to communicate via workspaces (teams/channels in Microsoft Teams, and groups in Workplace), and they both allow one-to-one and one-to-few chat opportunities as well (direct messaging is done via the Workplace Chat app for Workplace from Facebook, and directly within the platform in Teams), but overall the ability to use collaboration features to aid digital transformation is readily available in both platforms.
One slight differentiation in the featureset of Workplace from Facebook is its focus on frontline workers. Workplace is not only a mobile-first platform, it also focuses on bringing deskless workers into the collaboration experience, enabling them to connect with their organizations easily. Workplace offers “Frontline Add-On” which provides customizations that can directly apply to frontline workers. While Microsoft Teams has some functionality (like scheduling) that benefits frontline/shift workers, it is still a desktop-first platform.
Understanding the User Experience Behind Workplace from Facebook and Microsoft Teams
This is where things get interesting. The UI approach for each company leads to two very different user interfaces.
With Microsoft, the company’s focus is on technology. Microsoft’s robust tech stack and the integration of that tech stack into Microsoft Teams makes it a powerful unified communications and collaboration platform. The end-user is capable of doing a large chunk of their work all in a single application – scheduling meetings, making phone calls, collaborating on documents and spreadsheets, etc.
With Facebook, the company’s focus is on people. The user experience is similar to consumer Facebook, a UI with which most end-users are familiar. And while it’s an all-in-one collaboration platform, users will still have to hop back and forth between different favorite productivity applications for getting their day-to-day work done. Workplace excels in how it brings colleagues together to build stronger relationships, which is becoming more and more critical, given current remote work trends.
Telephony – What Differences are Key Between Workplace and Teams
Another big difference in the Microsoft Teams vs Workplace from Facebook debate is how each company handles voice. Microsoft has a long history with voice environments to lean on, meaning that Microsoft Teams is built with powerful telephony features. It’s capable of internal and external conferencing and has options on calling plans, including the Microsoft Phone Calling Plan and Direct Routing. While Microsoft has strong voice features, its one-to-many solution doesn’t scale as wide as Workplace from Facebook without integration from Microsoft Stream to Teams.
Because Workplace from Facebook is less of a unified communications platform solution and more about bringing people together, it approaches voice a bit differently. Its solution to telephony does not include conferencing but solves for communication of one-to-many through its Live videos. These are often used for the leadership team to start a live video and share a company update quickly or to facilitate company-wide meetings. Workplace can also be combined with other UCaaS providers to make it a complete communication and collaboration ecosystem.
Enterprise Security Comparison
Both Microsoft Teams and Facebook’s Workplace are built with the enterprise in mind. Because security for both of these platforms is critical to adoption, both companies have continued to build-out and create secure platforms as well as provide functionality for enterprises to control their collaboration environments.
Microsoft has leaned heavily on the existing architecture of security that’s attached to both Azure and the Office 365 hyper-scale, enterprise-grade, cloud. This is an advantage of the Microsoft tech stack that provides features for organizations like a security and compliance center, eDiscovery, legal hold, compliance content search, archiving, retention, and audit logs.
Workplace also pulls from existing Facebook security infrastructure. Even though Workplace is a 100% separate platform than the consumer version of Facebook, it benefits from Facebook’s investment in security, technology, and infrastructure. They have their own Content Distribution Network (CDN), which utilizes full encryption at rest. They perform proactive validation of security controls with frequent red team exercises and a 24/7 global security operations center that facilitates regular vulnerability and penetration testing.
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For both Microsoft Teams and Workplace from Facebook, third-party tools like Unify Square’s PowerSuite are available to help provide a vendor-neutral risk assessment and monitoring process to facilitate your collaboration security initiatives.
Training and User Adoption
Proper end-user training and user adoption programs are critical to a successful deployment of any collaboration platform. With Microsoft Teams offering an intersection point for many apps in a single platform interface, training can be particularly beneficial to ensure that users can take advantage of all the different features and functionality. With Workplace, less training may be needed because it is so similar to the consumer version of Facebook. Yet both platforms do open up potential risk and accidental data leakage, meaning that proper training and policies should be put in place to ensure there is a strong collaboration security strategy in place.
The Verdict in the Microsoft Teams vs Workplace from Facebook Debate
As with any workstream collaboration platform comparison, it’s critical to keep organizational and end-user needs at the forefront of the decision process. For Microsoft Teams vs Workplace from Facebook, the verdict is particularly dependent on communication needs. Is your organization going to be bringing external users onto Workplace, or will a separate platform like Zoom be needed? Are your users heavy Office 365 users already? If that’s the case, it may make sense to have all the apps in one interface. Or maybe your team is spread out, operating across many offices and remote locations, and company culture is suffering because colleagues aren’t finding ways to connect – then your organization may benefit from the platform that puts people first.