Slack vs. Basecamp – The Lowdown. Or Is There Another Option?
Today, effective and efficient communication and project management are key to ensuring productivity in the workplace.
In addition to some useful tips – like how to reduce multitasking, improve communication, and maximize downtime, for instance – a whole host of tools exist, too; each with the aim of helping you improve workplace processes.
No doubt, Slack and Basecamp are two of the biggest, boasting nearly twelve million users between them. And while their popularity is a testament to their effectiveness in the workplace, you may be undecided on whether or not they’re the right solution for your enterprise. That’s because, like any tool, Slack and Basecamp come with both pros and cons.
Choosing a tool shouldn’t be based solely on name recognition or the number of users on the platform, especially when it can alter key workplace processes like communication and teamwork.
So where does that leave us then? Below we’ll do a deep dive, first looking at Slack and Basecamp, including their advantages and disadvantages.
Then we’ll have a look at a third option – Brosix Instant Messenger – finding out where it fits into the equation, if it fills any of the voids left by the others, and whether it can meet your team communication and collaboration needs.
Table of Contents
Slack vs. Basecamp – The Lowdown
Right off the bat, one of Slack’s major pros is that it offers a freemium version, albeit with restrictions like limited storage, message histories, and custom app integrations.
Beyond that, Slack operates on a two-tiered pricing plan – $6.67 per month for the Standard and $12.50 per month for the Premium.
Basecamp, on the other hand, doesn’t offer a freemium version, rather a single-tiered pricing plan at $99 per month. Interested parties, however, can try the platform for free for 30 days.
Deciding on the more cost-efficient option ultimately depends on the number of users whom you’ll be providing access to the platform.
Getting started with both tools is pretty painless. Registration is a 5-6 step process in which you start by signing in with your email address and then continue with your name, company name, and job title.
No credit card info is needed for parties interested in the freemium version of Slack or Basecamp’s thirty-day free trial.
Slack, however, will require you to check your email for a confirmation code, as well as create a workplace name. Both tools allow you to invite your teammates to join from the get-go.
From there, landing on the platforms’ homepages provides you two different onboarding experiences. Visual learners and fans of video content will appreciate Basecamp’s comprehensive and worthwhile introduction video.
While Slack won’t provide you an introduction video, it will greet you with the Slack bot. By clicking the green ‘explore Slack’ button, you’ll get to the Slack bot to which you can chat and either ask questions or query by keywords.
User Experience and Interface
The two platforms’ layouts vary quite a bit. In Basecamp, you’ll see three horizontal rows on the Home Screen — HQ, Teams, and Projects. Tasks and communication are then organized within these rows.
In contrast to Basecamp’s horizontal rows, Slack features a split screen with two main panels. The smaller panel on the left is for contact and app management while the larger one on the right is where conversations happen.
Basecamp prides itself on its quick setup, user-friendliness, and overall ease of use. Though in some instances it has been described as too simplistic, lacking basic task management features such as time tracking.
Navigating Slack, meanwhile, takes some getting used to as many of its features are hidden behind buttons. Slack does let you customize the color bar, though.
Basecamp is first and foremost a task management tool and as a result, you’d expect it to have a leg up on Slack.
Basecamp’s top feature is no doubt To-do lists, within which you can create tasks, notify assignees and due dates, and also attach notes and files. To-do lists can be created within HQ or specific teams or projects. In addition, each project is accompanied by a Schedule, or calendar plan that displays any dated tasks and projects. Basecamp, however, fails to deliver time-tracking or reporting capabilities.
As a communication-first tool, Slack doesn’t feature task tracking. It does, however, integrate with task management tools like Asana or Trello, for instance. By creating Actions, you can track tasks from initiation to completion without leaving the App.
Much in the same way Basecamp is a task management tool, Slack shines in the realm of real-time communication.
Conversations happen in channels which can be public or private and organized any way you see fit, by team, department, or project, for example. Conversations can then be further broken down by threads, which allow you to respond directly to a message in a channel. Slack also supports audio and video calls.
Slack has come under criticism for being both addictive and distracting. If you’re not careful, the endless threads, GIFS, memes, and notifications can end up hindering concentration and, as a result, communication and productivity.
While Basecamp doesn’t support audio or video calls, it does provide multiple mediums for team communication.
Campfire, or Basecamp’s group chat, allows you to chat in real time and also attach files, code snippets, audio and video files, emojis, and more with your HQ, team, or project. Basecamp also provides a platform for direct messages and message boards, as well as the ability to comment on To-dos.
Perhaps Slack’s biggest selling point is its long list of integrations. The tool integrates with over 1,500 apps and platforms, such as Jira or even Basecamp. The freemium version does limit you, however, to just ten integrations.
Basecamp, being a paid platform, doesn’t limit your integrations per se, but it does feature significantly fewer than Slack. If you want to boost the number of tools and apps to which you can connect, you’ll need a separate tool like Zapier and from there, things can start to get tricky.
Documents and Storage
Both platforms limit you on file storage. On Slack’s freemium version, you’ll get just a minuscule 5GB per team. On paid, plans you’ll get a bit more, but that’s capped at 20GB per user. What’s more, the size limit for uploading a file is 1GB.
Basecamp affords you a bigger upload limit – 2GB, as well as 500GB per team. You can also link to files from different storage platforms, color-code them, as well as sort by date and time.
With either tool, there’s no need to waste valuable time scrolling through thousands of messages,
Slack allows you to search by person, channel, time, or even by snippets of text within an attached document; though the freemium version will limit you to 10,000 messages.
In Basecamp, you more effectively define a query by searching by Team or Project and there’s no specified message history limit, but there’s no option to search by time.
Basecamp and Slack both serve as productivity centers. Basecamp is primarily a task management tool, while Slack’s main duty is to enhance communication. Both tools come with pros and cons, meeting some individual team needs while overlooking others. Ultimately the tool you choose depends on the specific needs and functions of your team(s).
That said, if you’re not keen on shelling out big bucks on tools which, let’s face it, have their share of flaws, there could just be a third option out there capable of solving your team’s communication and collaboration needs.
Brosix is a real-time communication and collaboration solution for teams of all types and sizes.
Brosix combines effective communication channels, robust IM features, and industry-leading security protocols over a private team network to streamline teamwork and safeguard company data across one central platform.
One of the more affordable solutions on the market, Brosix comes in three versions – Startup, Business, and Premium.
For just $4.00 per user per month, the Business plan offers an assortment of communication and collaboration tools like text, voice and video, as well as unlimited size file transfer, screen sharing and some limited administrative options like the ability to manage contacts and features.
At $6.00 per user per month, the Premium plan offers all the bells and whistles – the full range of communication and collaboration tools including comprehensive enterprise and administrative features.
For those looking to test drive the platform, Startup is Brosix’s freemium option – offering text chat, co-browsing, and a virtual whiteboard along with some limited enterprise features.
Like its competition, Brosix makes it easy to get started. Simply sign up on the landing page with your email address. You’ll also need to provide your name and phone number, as well as create a company or team name and a password.
Brosix doesn’t do onboarding by way of bots or a how-to video. You do get an instructional email explaining the product, key features, and how to get the most out of the service.
The site also provides both a tutorial section featuring loads of video content, as well as a comprehensive FAQ page.
How Does the Product Stack Up?
Brosix is first and foremost a communication hub. As such, it doesn’t offer the integrations of Slack. Nor does it provide task-tracking capabilities of Basecamp.
Some will undoubtedly view that as a shortcoming. But Brosix’s practical nature minimizes the learning curve that often comes with new software. That means you’ll spend more time communicating, collaborating, and delivering results; and less time figuring out complicated configurations and integrations.
So how does Brosix stack up against Basecamp and Slack?
User Experience and Interface
One of the first things you’ll notice upon signing in to Brosix is its simple yet classic interface.
When the end goal is efficient and effective communication, you can’t go wrong with straightforward and Brosix takes this to heart. The result is an intuitive user experience that’s easy to navigate for first-time users and non-techies.
Chats are organized on a user basis on the left side of the screen. In-messaging access to voice and video chats and collaboration tools ensure communication and teamwork are never more than a click away.
When it comes to real-time communication, one of the drawbacks is that you’re always just an IM away, regardless of your availability setting. Factor GIFs and memes into the equation and workplace communication can quickly spiral off-topic and out of control.
While Brosix is a communication-first platform, its emphasis on effective team communication makes it less noisy and intrusive than Slack, for instance. Make no mistake, though, by no means does the platform skimp on communication features.
You’ll get text chat for one-on-one conversations, chat rooms to organize your group communication, as well as crystal clear voice and video chat for those occasions when in-person communication is logistically impractical or impossible – for instance with your remote teams.
Another handy feature, Broadcast messages, facilitate quick knowledge and information sharing and, by removing the ambiguity of whether a response is warranted, in a way that preserves the productivity of workflows.
Top Tools and Features
Brosix provides a number of useful tools to streamline collaboration, picking up the slack where the competition falters.
Whereas Basecamp and Slack both restrict you on file size uploads, Brosix’s unlimited size file transfer never limits uploads – neither by size nor volume. What’s more, by utilizing peer-to-peer technology, Brosix better safeguards, and streamlines the process of data transfers in many instances.
Brosix does offer a storage solution, albeit at the moment for images; though there are plans to roll out more flexibility in sharing options with future updates. Upon sending an image, users have the option to share the file or transfer it directly via a peer-to-peer channel.
Brosix also provides a native whiteboard solution capable of enhancing voice or video chat and turning ordinary tasks into collaborative processes – think brainstorming sessions or revisions and editing, for example.
In addition, remote desktop and instant screenshot not only make possible remote troubleshooting, training, and support, but boost the engagement factor of presentations, demonstrations, sales pitches, and overviews. And that’s something Basecamp lacks.
Both Basecamp and Slack provide searchable message histories. Basecamp, however, doesn’t allow you to search by date, and that’s inconvenient if you only remember when the conversation took place. Slack’s freemium version, on the other hand, limits the searchable message history to 10K messages.
Brosix’s chat histories are searchable by keyword, colleague, and date, and aren’t limited based on your version of choice, unless you’re on the Startup plan. Chat history archives, meanwhile, provide important oversight of the network and keep you current with regulations.
As such, its comprehensive enterprise functionalities provide it a leg up in areas where competitors often neglect. Features control, contact management, and chat room controls allow for the delegation of features on a user basis, customization and management of contact lists, and governance of team chat spaces.
Furthermore, communication and collaboration across the platform take place over a wholly private instant messaging network utilizing industry-leading security protocols like peer-to-peer communication channels, end-to-end encryption, and anti-virus and malware integration.
Slack and Basecamp are both worthy tools. For evidence of this, look no further than their deep user bases or nifty features to enhance communication and project tracking.
That said, there are criticisms of both – Slack for its intrusive nature and Basecamp for its inability to track time or reporting.
Brosix, on the other hand, isn’t without its own flaws – for instance its lack of integrations.
Ultimately, you’ll need to examine your individual team needs. If all you’re missing is a task-tracking tool, Basecamp may be a better bet. But if your workplace communication and collaboration needs are lacking, Brosix deserves to be on your radar.
Brosix’s enterprise nature, comprehensive administrative features, and careful attention to security not only better focus and safeguard communication and collaboration, but do so without the noise, distractions, and hit to your budget.