October 30, 2017
Two of the top collaboration solutions on the market today are Cisco WebEx Teams and Slack. Both have chat, calling, and other features that help teams work more efficiently together, but the technology industry is full of solutions with overlapping functionality. At first glance, they might appear similar or even to be virtually the same. Dig a little deeper, however, and the differences between WebEx and Slack will reveal themselves.
WebEx Teams and Slack—the Similarities
Cisco WebEx Teams: Cisco WebEx is a collaboration platform with numerous features. Users can engage in chat, voice, and video communications; share files; host meetings; organize their team collaboration; use digital white boarding tools; and more. All of these messages, calls, ad shared filed occur in persistent, cloud-hosted meeting rooms, called “Spaces.” They are permanently accessible and referenceable by all members of the team. Each user can be involved in as many Spaces as they wish, and because WebEx is a cloud application, users can access their Spaces anywhere, anytime, and from any device.
Slack: Slack is also a collaboration application that revolves around persistent meeting spaces. Users can upload files, chat, and integrate other 3rd party applications into the meeting room to further enhance the experience.
WebEx Teams and Slack—the Differences
At face value, these two applications appear to be very similar. They both fill the same niche and have overlapping features and functionality. Despite their similarities, these are not two equivalent applications. Their differences still make each solution more suited to a particular use case.
- Pricing Packages: Cisco WebEx has three pricing packages: M1, M2, and M3. The main difference between these programs is the size of meetings you’ll be allowed to host. M1 allows up to three meeting participants, while M3 enables up to 200 through Webex. Slack similarly offers three plans: Free, Standard, and Plus. While the WebEx packages offer essentially the same features with limits on meetings, Slack has greater disparities between the different versions. Limits are placed on searchable messages, third-party integrations, and file storage.
- 99% Guaranteed Uptime: As cloud-based applications, uptime is almost always a sure thing. The resource requirements for the application are distributed throughout the cloud, so it is very unlikely to face downtime of any kind. WebEx guarantees 99% uptime in both M1, M2, and M3 packages, but Slack only guarantees it for their Slack Plus offer.
- Reporting an Analytics Features: Reporting and analytics are available in WebEx, but they are only available in Slack Standard and Plus versions.
- Voice and Calling: WebEx can serve as a full PBX system for a company enabling voice and video calls for the entire organization. Similarly, Slack is also capable of voice and video calls as of December 2016.
- Meeting Searches: WebEx will allow you to perform a single search across each of your meeting rooms for a specific file or topic. Conversely, searches in Slack are confined to one meeting room at a time.
- Price: In a direct comparison of prices, WebEx M2 could end up being more than 50% less expensive than Slack Enterprise.
Consumer vs. Enterprise Class Software
At the end of the day, the main difference between WebEx Teams and Slack at this time involves the class of software. WebEx is an Enterprise Class software designed and built from the ground up to be deployed in businesses large and small. Slack was built as a consumer grade software and designed for private use. These different origins dictate the subtle yet important distinctions between the two products. That being said, Slack is very well suited for private use or small teams. The free package, though limited, will still provide value for small groups or isolated projects. Unfortunately at larger scales, the pricing model and functionality of Cisco WebEx Teams edges out Slack.
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