Slack alternatives: The best team messaging software

As technology evolves, more and more organisations are becoming comfortable with collaboration tools, allowing for secure instant messaging among colleagues.

Not only are these tools great for quick communication for teams based both in and outside of the office, but they are also a good way to quickly share files and information on the go.

Slack has proved extremely popular for exactly this – but it's not the only capable software out there. Here we list some of the best alternatives to Slack for those in search of something different.

Read next: The best enterprise collaboration software

Salesforce Chatter
© Salesforce

Salesforce Chatter

Salesforce Chatteris a cloud-based enterprise communication platform. It is designed to work as an employee intranet or directory so employees can easily post company news and communicate with colleagues on the go.

It also includes a social networking feature which integrates online collaboration tools in order for employees to share solutions and best practices with team members. This can be accessed across global teams, departments and various locations.

The platform, which is connected to Salesforce's CRM (customer relationship management) platform, can also be used for customer engagement with the inclusion of pools and surveys to gather real-time feedback from customers of products and services.

Salesforce Chatter is a desktop app, now available for Windows 10 devices. It costs $15 (£11.65) per user, a month with a 30-day free trial.

Cisco Webex Teams
© Cisco

Cisco Webex Teams

Cisco Webex Teamsis an enterprise app that offers secure messaging, file sharing, video meetings, conference calling and other features for team collaboration.

Available on any device, Webex Teams is built to increase employee satisfaction as meetings can be held directly from the app with the ability to share documents and information securely.

It also offers group and direct instant messaging, so employees can ensure important messages are seen and responded to on time. A unique feature it includes is whiteboarding, which enables employees to sketch diagrams and share with colleagues ahead of presentations.

Webex Teams can be integrated with various tools such as Google Drive, Trello, Twitter, Google Calendar and more.

It is available on PC, iOS and Android devices. Pricing starts from $24 (£18.64) per month for up to eight users, $49 (£38.06) a month for up to 25 people and $89 (£69.13) for up to 100 people. There is a 14-day free trial.

Zoho Cliq
© Zoho

Zoho Cliq

Zoho Cliqis a team communication app, which includes messaging and task management in real-time.

It offers file sharing, storage, audio and video chat features for easy collaboration among colleagues.

The platform includes bots that are included to automatically perform functions such as sharing information or pulling relevant reports into a chat window. It also has over 20 third-party integrations with apps such as Google Drive, Dropbox and more.

Zoho Cliq is available for free for unlimited users and 100GB storage for the enterprise. Pricing starts from $3 (£2.33) per user, a month for up to 10 users with a decrease in pricing per user for larger team deployment.

It is available on Windows, Mac and Linux desktops and iOS and Android devices.

Google Hangouts

Google Hangouts

Google Hangoutsis a communication platform available for collaboration with multiple users at once. It provides messaging, video conferencing and SMS features for Android, iOS, Chrome and other browsers with built-in Google Chrome extensions.

It is particularly useful for businesses that work solely using Google Drive as it can be easily integrated with other apps by Google.

Since the initial release in 2013, Google has updated the platform to allow chats with up to 25 users at a time for work and education usage. It is a free service available for download, although Google Chrome users will already have Hangouts installed in the browser.

Google also has a Hangouts Chat cloud platform available for G Suite users, which allows users to share Docs, Sheets and more in real-time. It also provides the ability to share calendar and access share files from a PC, phone or tablet.

Hangouts Chathas a free trial period and pricing starts from £3.30 per user per month for and 30GB storage, £6.60 per user per month for its business package of unlimited storage and £20 per user per month for the enterprise.

The Enterprise price plan also includes data loss prevention for Gmail and Google Drive.

Microsoft Teams
© Microsoft

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teamsprovides workplace chat and collaboration offerings for Microsoft Office 365. It also provides integration with other Office servers and Skype.

With Microsoft Teams, users are able to set up channels directly for communication between colleagues.

It also offers video conferencing and voice over IP (VoIP) for online meetings, and this can be done using desktop, mobile or Skype Room Systems in HD. Microsoft Teams is available on Windows, MacOS, iOS and Android.

Microsoft Teams is included with Office 365. To access the platform, Microsoft offers Office 365 ProPlus at $12 (£8.45) a month with office applications and OneDrive included.

It costs £11.30 a month, per user for Office 365 Business Premium services including OneDrive, SharePoint and Microsoft Teams.

In July 2018 Microsoft launched a free version of Teams, which supports up to 300 users and 10GB of file storage for teams and 2GB of personal storage per user.

The free version also offers unlimited chat messages and searches, as well as integrations with 140 apps which include all of Microsoft Office 365 online apps.

IBM Watson Workspace

IBM Watson Workspace

IBM's Workspace messaging tool is an AI platform powered by its Watson cognitive computing platform.

Available on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, Watson Workspace provides users with an unlimited communication platform for an instant group and direct messaging. It also allows users to share files and images across conversations.

Its 'Moments' feature creates a summary of the posts in the team channels, which makes it easier to follow up on missed conversations. This also minimises having a chunk of notifications.

IBM's Workspace has Zoom audio and video conferencing integrated, accessible to team members anywhere in the world. It also provides the opportunity to customise apps using Watson.

IBM offers its Watson Workspace platform for a free trial, with pricing plans starting from £4.80 per user per month. Its Plus plan for 25 people meetings starts at £9.59 per user per month, 50 people meetings at £11.99 per user per month and 200 people meetings at £15.99 per user per month.

Cisco Spark

Cisco Spark

Cisco's Spark includes both messaging and video chat services. The Cisco Spark app allows users to schedule meetings and perform screen share and file sharing on the go.

The shared files and messages are saved in the cloud with provided space for each conversation or project made. It can also be deployed on-premises and hybrid, with the opportunity for users to integrate third-party apps.

The Cisco Spark service also provides unified communications for users that already have a Cisco phone system; it allows the connection of the phone system with Spark hybrid services.

Cisco Spark can be trialed for free, following that there are three price plans to choose from M1, M2 and M3 which are charged based on the size of people in the meetings.

Skype for Business
© Microsoft

Skype for Business

Skype for Businessis a unified collaboration platform for calling, messaging, conferencing and file sharing. The Skype for Business tool is mainly suited for businesses that tend to hold meetings of large sizes.

Skype for Business allows a maximum of 250 people on a conference call from smartphones, tablets, PCs and meeting room devices. It also offers a reach of up to 10,000 attendees for webinars and other presentations.

The platform is integrated with Microsoft Office 365, allowing users to access Office applications such as Outlook using Skype voice, messaging and video features. This enables the easy setup of scheduling meetings and instant sharing.

Skype for Business pricing starts at £3.80 a month per user, which excludes Office applications. It is £7.90 a month per user with added applications, excluding business email. For added Office applications and business email, Skype charges £9.40 a month per user.

Read next: Skype for Business review: Should I upgrade my organisation to Skype for business?

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.