The curtains have opened on Microsoft’s Slack competitor called Microsoft Teams. Just like Slack it supports channels, group messaging and other communicative features many users of Slack have grown to love.
My first thought when I heard about this was, oh here we go, Microsoft trying to compete with the well-established and universally loved communication tool Slack with a half-baked competitor.
It seems many across the internet share similar thoughts. That is, until you dig deeper and have that oh shit moment when you see Microsoft Teams is fully HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability) compliant.
There is a whole untapped market in the healthcare industry as HIPAA compliance is notably difficult to adhere to. This is why the healthcare industry in terms of adopting technology is a lot more restrained and behind the times.
Not only is Microsoft’s offering HIPAA compliant, but it also boasts a plethora of security features and integrations. Whether or not the security aspect is enough remains to be seen. In an era with leaks, I think Microsoft who are targeting startups, businesses and so on might be onto something.
Who knows if Microsoft Teams will go anywhere. The fact it requires an Office 365 subscription means they’re probably focusing more on existing subscribers and building from there.
The integration with Skype is fantastic, as well as OneNote and all of the other various Microsoft products they offer under the 365 umbrella. It also works out to be currently cheaper per person than Slack.
While Microsoft might not be solely targeting industries which need to be HIPAA compliant, it definitely gives them an advantage over Slack. This plus the seamless integration with other Microsoft products, is it enough? Time will tell.