microsoft teams or whatsapp
  • Franck van Diest

Microsoft Teams as a replacement for business groups in WhatsApp?

Many teams and colleagues have chat groups in WhatsApp that both serve the purpose of fun and sharing business information. This goes as far as the exchange of information about customers or clients, up to the sharing of passwords! To be honest, this is not OK, especially not in the context of information security and GDPR.

How do you deal with this as an organization? And is it possible to completely ban WhatsApp when it comes to business communication?

From my experience: banning WhatsApp is very difficult!

Personal experience with business groups in whatsapp

As a team we have a WhatsApp group ourselves. Here we regularly share business updates about the status of work, but above all we have a lot of fun together. Why do we use an app that is actually for private purposes if there is a nice application such as Microsoft Teams?

From WhatsApp to Microsoft Teams

I am the Prodcut Manager of the Debble team. Our team is full of skilled people who are completely raved by new technology. So you would expect that we would be the first to make the step from WhatsApp to Microsoft Teams for our joint chat. Well, that was my expectation, but nothing turned out to be less true.

Microsoft Teams, WhatsApp and Slack

This is not due to the technology. Microsoft Teams is doing very well when it comes to imitating Slack and WhatsApp. Of course, I do not mean that Microsoft is copying the competing solutions. Microsoft realizes very well that it is almost impossible to get people out of a habit. If there is an alternative, it is important that the way of working does not change or changes as little as possible unless there is a logical reason for this. And that is what Microsoft does well.

Why do we not directly move from whatsapp to microsoft teams?

So why is it so difficult to switch from WhatsApp to Microsoft Teams? Well, people generally hate change. Really dislike change. It works well right now?

Even my team, full of highly trained people who are technically at the forefront, do not just change the way they communicate without a struggle. I have tried the stick (you know, from the root and the stick) by throwing away the WhatsApp group and starting a new group chat in Microsoft Teams. They just started new chat in WhatsApp without me!

the comparison: Microsoft Teams versus WhatsApp

I noticed that they compared Microsoft Teams one-to-one with WhatsApp. "I do not have the same Gifs", "I do not get any notifications", "I am always logged out". A whole lot of excuses. I found. However, I now realize that I did not respect how much they were used to working the way they did. I must respect that if they are happy with the way they work. There is a reason WhatsApp became this big.

Attempt 2: group chat in Microsoft Teams

I am currently trying it again. Now just as a group chat in Microsoft Teams, separate from a Team or a Channel. That works much better. It works exactly the same as WhatsApp (I think even better) but without the watchful eye of Mark Zuckerberg C.S ...

Why does it work better? To begin with, all the basic requirements for a success are present. Like I said, it looks like WhatsApp. You can send images, gifs and attachments. The desktop app and especially the mobile app work perfectly. You can also immediately start a video or telephone conversation within a group chat and share your screen with the group members. In particular, the notifications are better for business use than for WhatsApp. You can mute chats so you do not get distracted during your work, set silent hours and days where you do not want to be disturbed (for example, outside working hours) and turn off notifications on your phone when the application is on your computer. Especially for business use pleasant options.

What can we learn from this experience?

Something we already knew: change is the biggest challenge of our time. In addition: you are simply NOT GDPR compliant as long as WhatsApp is used in your organization. The alternative is already there and it is incredibly good. The functions are equivalent or even better. So how do we move our people to switch? With respect and patience.

Oh yes, and not with the stick but with the root.

Will be continued

We are continuing with with this experiment and soon I will share the rest of my findings in a next blog. Maybe our Microsoft Teams groupchat has completely replaced WhatsApp. Would you like to know more about this experiment or do you have questions? Feel free to contact us via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via our contact form.