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Dueling Updates – WebEx Teams vs. Microsoft Teams

Both Microsoft Teams and Cisco WebEx Teams released updates at the end of June. Microsoft’s most notable update changes the way Teams is deployed to some users, while WebEx Teams updates focus on feature parity with Microsoft and increased compatibility with Cisco hardware.

Microsoft’s update informs us that starting July 9, the Teams client will be added automatically to existing installations of Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus via monthly installations. Previously Microsoft Teams installed only to new users of those applications. For IT admins that use Office 365 but don’t want Teams to be automatically deployed and added to their users’ startup process, it can be excluded using Group Policy.

Other notable updates to Teams includes:

  • Information Barriers designed to prevent communication between executives in your company that must limit their contact due to ethical compliance requirements.
  • Announcements in Team channels include a headline and image to make an important post stand out.
  • Private teams can now be made discoverable by the group admin.
  • New integrations with GitHub and Azure pipelines.
  • New features specific to education users to help teachers track grades and communicate with students’ parents.

Cisco’s updates to WebEx Meetings will allow cloud-registered WebEx Teams users to connect to WebEx Devices on the same Wi-Fi network. Basically, Cisco doesn’t want its users to be worrying about how they’re accessing WebEx (cloud or on-prem), and this update takes more friction out of the experience. Other updates look to be answers to some perks offered by Microsoft Teams:

  • “People Insights” displays relevant and useful information about your colleagues when you mouse-over their avatar or click on their profile.
  • Threading is now introduced, allowing users to reply directly to a message.
  • The mobile app has now been redesigned to have the same code base as the desktop app. This should enable better feature similarity between the form factors in the future.

Microsoft Teams now allows for “Announcements” in Team chat, as seen above.

Source: Microsoft Blog, Article Published June 2019

Our Take

Our SoftwareReviews reviewers often rate Microsoft Teams poorly for its “ease of implementation” and “ease of IT administration.” Microsoft may be trying to curtail those sentiments by pushing its software out to more users in an automatic fashion. At the same time, it may aggravate IT departments choosing to run a competitive product to Microsoft Teams, and don’t want two different web conferencing / collaboration apps launching on startup. If that describes your IT organization, take action now to exclude Teams from Office 365 deployments or at least to prevent it from running on Windows startup. Otherwise, your Service Desk is bound to be dealing with some confused users soon.

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