The globe has seen a paradigm shift in the last few years in terms of how businesses operate. Working from home has become the new normal these days and especially post the pandemic, organizations are enforced to explore virtual communication mediums to ensure employees are connected and engaged all the time. Thankfully, there are many options available in the market for enterprises to choose from. At the end of the day, it comes down to parameters like organization size, cost, network security, features, and experience requirement that help an organization decide which option to go for.
The virtual communication market also has giants like Cisco and Microsoft with their platforms to cater to different needs of different users. You might have also witnessed the dilemma of WebEx vs Microsoft Teams while deciding which solution is the best for you. Well, each platform has the basic virtual meetings feature and along with this, each has its own set of plusses and minuses. Eventually, it depends on what is your specific requirement that decides which is your preferred solution.
1. Virtual Meetings
Microsoft Teams and WebEx, both have this basic feature as part of the solution. MS Teams, on one side, has a pretty simple interface and lets you schedule a meeting instantly or at a preferred slot. It also has cool features such as customized background and live captions which provide some edge. WebEx, on the other hand, is more preferred when your organization has a Cisco network. You can use WebEx to communicate within your organization or outside as well. It also lets you organize online webinars which comes in handy when the focus of your communication requirement is primarily consulting or sales.
2. Video Calls
Both the platforms provide a very good video conferencing experience. Teams can be used for video conferencing by up to 250 participants. It is available in both desktop and mobile app versions. WebEx can support up to 200 participants in off-the-shelf packages. It has some unique features such as real-time transcripts, voice commands, notes, and recorded transcripts, etc which are backed by WebEx’s strong AI which has evolved over the years.
3. Audio Calls
Microsoft Teams has multiple joining options for the participants for audio conferencing. It can be done via desktop, mobile app, or dial-in number in case the user is on the move and facing an unstable internet connection. On the other side, WebEx also provides state-of-the-art audio conferencing services using its PSTN feature. This helps users to connect using either smartphones or IP phones.
MS Teams and Cisco WebEx, both offer a huge range of 3rd party integrations to cater to your organization’s different communication requirements. Some popular names are Polly, Trello, ServiceNow, and Jira. These 3rd party integrations help you collaborate with different other applications and increase users’ productivity.
5. File Sharing
Microsoft Teams has all the basic features for organizing files during a session. You can share it or save it. It also collaborates with native applications like MS Word & MS PowerPoint within the platform. Cisco WebEx also has the file-sharing feature and allows the sharing of all the documents in a secured and encrypted manner.
6. Group Chats
Teams and WebEx, both allow users to chat with other users on a variety of topics. These conversations are saved on the system and can be referred to at a later date in history. Users can also organize various conversations in different categories.
Other Considerations for Decision Making
The abovementioned section of the article has talked precisely about some of the similar features that both the platforms have and we’re pretty sure it would have left you even more puzzled while comparing the two giants of the virtual communication world. That is why we suggest reading this part of the article thoroughly. It aims to give details of other dimensions and help you to decide which one to choose between the two.
1. Plans & Price
There isn’t a straightforward way you can compare Cisco WebEx and Microsoft Teams when it comes to pricing. We would give some additional points to Microsoft Teams here as it has a reasonably robust free version and provides more features in comparison to Cisco WebEx.
Microsoft Teams comes as a part of Office365 business solution and hence accessibility isn’t a concern here. The pricing of typical plans are:
- Free: Up to 300 participants & 10 Gb cloud storage
- Office365 Business Essentials: 5 USD per user per month – More cloud storage & improved security with integration to other MS office applications
- Office365 Business Premium: 12.5 USD per user per month – More cloud storage with access to outlook desktop versions
- Office365 E3: 20 USD per user per month – The mobile application can be installed on up to 5 machines per user
Cisco WebEx’s free version has more limitations and basic plans start with a minimum of $13.5 per user per month. Here are the pricing comparison of different plans WebEx has to offer:
- Free: Up to 100 participants for 50 minutes meetings & call-in audio access
- Starter: USD 13.5 per user per month, up to 50 participants, all other services of the free plan, and 1 GB cloud storage
- Plus: USD 17.95 per user per month, starter plus up to 100 participants, assign alternative hosts option, and 5 GB cloud storage
- Business: USD 26.95 per user per month, pro plus up to 200 participants, and 10 GB cloud storage
- Enterprise: Customizable and on a quote basis as per your requirement
2. Compliance & Security
Both the platforms come from two of the biggest names in the technology world. Microsoft has been developing such large-scale solutions for decades now and hence security is not optional for them. MS Teams is part of the Office365 package and hence it enjoys a similar level of security provisions. Microsoft declares that Teams is ISO 27001 and 28018 compliant. In addition to this, it is also HIPPA and SAAE 16 SOC 1 and 2 Compliant. It also complies with EU Model Clauses regulations. The platform also offers features like eDiscovery and security & compliance centers for the organizations. Teams’ architecture is backed by deep-routed protection provisions as it is integrated with Office365. There are provisions to integrate other additional applications like PowerSuite to enhance security levels.
WebEx comes from the house of Cisco which is synonymous with network security. It offers a secured web conferencing user experience using advanced encryption methods and flexible password management. One clear contrast to MS teams is that WebEx provides more empowerment to users who have more control over what, how, and when the content to be stored. While it is a beneficial proposition in case the organization has IT-trained professionals. It might become somewhat a concern if your user base is not much aware of how these things work. Similar to MS Teams, WebEx also has an eDiscovery protection tool. Additionally, Cisco comes with more secured encryption technologies and firewall capabilities. There is another cool feature of a single sign-on which adds another layer of security.
The Final Verdict: Microsoft Teams and Cisco WebEx
Eventually, both WebEx & Teams are very capable and collaborative solutions, to say the least. On one side, WebEx has an upper edge if your organization is built on Cisco infrastructure, and in such a scenario, WebEx can be leveraged upon as a native solution. On the other hand, Microsoft Teams comes as part of the Office365 suite and has its advantages of accessibility to other MS office applications which are used in almost all the organizations across the globe. This way, your organization has an access to all which is required for unified communication solutions.
Both the platforms have a lot to offer and can help your organization adopt the modern ways of working and keep the employees connected and productive even while working from home. In the battle of WebEx vs Microsoft Teams, there is no one winner. Both of them come from two of the biggest names in the world of technology and two of the most trusted brands which provide the highest level of security and reliability to the end-user. As an organization, you can take advantage of either of these collaboration platforms irrespective of which industry you come from.
Ultimately, your decision to choose the one would depend upon where you are coming from. In case you are already using Office365 in your organization, MS Teams becomes an obvious choice. If your organization uses Cisco infrastructure and relies heavily on virtual conferences, Webinars, and visual collaboration, you can easily go for WebEx. At the end of the day, when it comes to online virtual meeting applications, there are several options available other than these two as well. Most of them provide all the basic things to get anyone started but all of them are not equal. You must ask the right questions before deciding which one to go for. Your solution should be easy to use, integrating, scalable, secure, collaborative, and intelligent – all at the same time.