Meet Stride, a Microsoft Teams competitor from Atlassian

Welcome everyone to Stride, a new product currently in preview from Atlassian.

It boasts features like group chat & direct messaging, voice & video conferencing, and built-in collaboration tools.

Sound familiar? That’s because it is squarely aimed to compete with Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Workplace by Facebook.

One thing I noted immediately that differs in their approach is the use of the term “Rooms” instead of “Teams” because I guess their view is that a room is a place you go to discuss and do work. While you can appear to leave a room easily enough, I’m uncertain as to what happens with the files and conversations left in there.

I’ve only used for a short time today so my experience is limited, but I’ve already found a few things that I both like and dislike.

What I like about it:

  • Ability to put tasks and decisions straight into the conversation
  • Mobile client supports uploading pictures

What I don’t like about it:

  • No conversational threading
  • No GIFs or memes
  • Can’t like a post in group chat
  • No channels
  • No desktop client

The lack of channels or similar functionality is the most alarming aspect, as I could see the list of rooms growing quite quickly. Already with Microsoft Teams and Office 365 Groups, sprawl is a common issue when users are left to their own devices.

Ultimately this is still in preview and will appeal to those who are in the anti-Microsoft camp. I suspect the integration of other Atlassian products Confluence (SharePoint competitor) and recently-acquired Trello (task & project management competitor) will make it compelling enough for some.

It was only 4-5 years ago where the cloud productivity battlefront was between Google Apps and Office 365. While the dust has somewhat settled on that front, the new battleground appears to be the user experience wrapper – where users don’t have to switch between multiple products to get their work done and can largely stay within the one productivity interface.

Microsoft already has its work cut out for it with Teams competing against Slack and Workplace by Facebook, and like Facebook. Seeing these new relatively new tech giants having the same focus tells me two big things:

  • Email’s time as a mainstay of communication is drawing to a near
  • Organisations and users need to embrace that this is a new way of working, and not just for the hipsters & start-ups

For those organisations who want to stay within the Microsoft camp and haven’t looked at Teams yet: now is the time. And if they are still at the early stages of their Office 365 journey, it’s time to get a move on!

Microsoft Teams integration with Skype for Business

The voice/video/meeting component of Microsoft Teams is built on the next generation of Skype for Business infrastructure (which is touted to bring about the unification of the Skype consumer and Skype for Business platforms).

There is a number of integration differences when looking at Microsoft Teams as well as Skype for Business Server vs. Skype for Business Online. In short Microsoft Teams does not talk to Skype for Business Server, only the Online version as part of Office 365. This is documented so should not come as a surprise, and hopefully will be addressed when the product is fully released sometime early this year, if not in the near future.

However, it is important to note with the below screenshots that I am using Skype for Business Online, but the other users are on-premises.

The presence display carries between both systems:

Users in Microsoft Teams are presented with a feature limitation warning on talking to someone on Skype for Business:

There is a nice icon in Teams to show the user that the other person is using Skype for Business:

Users receive a toast notifications from both Skype for Business & Microsoft Teams:

Where the conversation continues depends on which toast notification you click.

Skype for Business meetings show up in Teams:

If the user clicks on the Join button on a Skype Meeting from the Teams client – it will re-direct them to the web interface of Skype for Business and from there launch the client.

A more in-depth look at the integrations is available on Richard Brynteson’s blog.