Collaboration platforms have become a necessity in today's work environment, especially since remote work and distributed teams are becoming increasingly common. Among all the options that businesses are trying to procure and implement in order to help teams collaborate more efficiently, Slack is one of the most popular ones. In this blog post, we'll compare Lark with Slack and share the difference between the two products, as well as the value they provide to businesses.
Plans: Pay less and get more with Lark
While both Lark and Slack offer similar features, the actual bill you need to pay in order to get Slack up and running for your team is much larger than what's showcased on the pricing page.
To begin with, Lark offers a free plan with a lot of functions that are only available on Slack's paid plan or via integration. If you are a solopreneur or an entrepreneur with a small team, the value your business can get using the free plan exceeds a lot - you almost don't need to buy anything else to fulfill your team's daily needs.
As your team grows and starts to think about upgrading to a paid plan, the price and value difference further enlarges:
On Lark, your business does not need to buy multiple tools to fulfill the growing needs and can simplify IT management with just one paid plan on Lark. On the other hand, Slack's paid plan will likely still require you to subscribe to a couple of other tools such as Zoom, Google Workspace, etc. in order to complete a full stack for your team, and the cost of buying and managing adds up from here.
For example, in order to get a basic stack for a 100-employee, deskwork-heavy company, a business might need to pay 271% more if they buy business plans for Slack + Google Workspace + Airtable, compared with if they go ahead with Lark's pro plan to still get all the functions the teams need.
Purpose: Slack for chat, Lark for collaboration
Lark and Slack position as different products: the core of Slack is chat, while Lark aims to provide all the essential tools teams need from within one app, including chat.
Let's break it out:
Slack's idea of collaboration is about connecting people and aiding conversations, hence Slack is made into a chat-centric platform, including private messages, group chats (channels), and sometimes Slack Bot.
Businesses can organize different conversations and communicate using texts in an efficient manner when they leverage Slack the right way; however, everything beyond messages will require integration in order for the functions to work together with Slack, and companies will likely need to spend additional IT budget to procure the solutions they want to integrate. For example, to schedule and run meetings on Slack, a company will need to get the calendar app installed and subscribe to video conference solutions like Zoom in order for it to work.
Looking at Lark:
Lark's idea of collaboration is about making the everyday work tools handy from within one app, so that teams can save time and energy by reducing switches between different apps, and instead collaborate freely and efficiently. (Learn how to choose your way of collaboration based on urgency and importance here).
Therefore, Lark builds meetings, calendars, docs, tasks, no-code apps, and email on the platform for customers to access and turn on quickly, in addition to the chat functions that are interconnected with other functions already to make chat itself even more powerful. You don't need any integration to turn a message into a task on your task list, or schedule meetings directly from within group chats, or approve an out-of-office request by clicking a button on the notification card sent to you.
Mobile: Lark is the more frontline-friendly app
For businesses that run both front and back offices, being able to provide a collaboration platform that's easy to use on both large and small screens will greatly help engage with those who are on the frontline and communicate efficiently. Onsite teams usually need to rely on mobiles to submit reports, raise issues, or check numbers.
One of the advantages that Lark brings is the emphasis on mobile functionality, making it easy for frontline teams to stay connected on the go and suitable for businesses with an on-site workforce such as retail stores, construction sites, or warehouses. Unlike Slack, which is primarily designed for desktop use, Lark offers a mobile app where things like report submission, approval, and doc collaboration can all be done at your fingertips. The interface also adjusts automatically to a smaller screen.
On Slack, sharing reports and updates still relies on segmenting channels for different purposes and sending the information in the format of text messages, which makes digesting, organizing, and analyzing the information for insights challenging. To be able to build a form for information collection, businesses might need to pay extra to get Slack's workflow builder. The rooted separation between Slack and the tools it can integrate with through a connector makes the mobile experience of Slack more complicated: you might need to log in to a different platform such as Google Workspace, and constantly zoom in or out just to read through a word document someone shares.
User Interface: Lark for same-day onboarding
A user interface can play a significant role in how easy it is to onboard your teams to a collaboration platform. If the platform is not intuitive enough for teams to navigate by themselves, companies might, later on, find that no one is really using the platform and benefiting from it, despite spending a fortune (we've been there ourselves).
Despite all the features built into one app, Lark maintains a tidy interface with everything a team needs immediately accessible and displayed on the side (and can be folded, too). It usually takes the new users less than a day to know where things are in Lark and start using them, as everything is listed for easy clicking.
The flattened learning curve is especially friendly to non-tech teams who want to leverage tools to get more productive with their work without being overwhelmed by technical jargon.
While Slack has a cleaner interface at first look, functions fold under "More" and the meeting feature is labeled as Huddle in the corner. For people new to Slack, it might take more clicks to find the features they want and a longer waiting time to get the rest, as things like cloud docs, calendars, workflows, etc. all require the tech team to go to the backend and integrate. Of course, Slack is still one of the tech teams' favorite tools with its "/" command, along with other capabilities to leverage tech knowledge directly on Slack usage.
Productivity: Lark has more for distributed teams
While emojis and memes are all great fun, one potential drawback that Slack brings to some teams is distraction. Creating channels in Slack usually takes a few more steps than creating groups in Lark: you need to create a channel first, add teammates one by one to the channel or set rules for joining, and start texting as a group. Sometimes, channels might be randomly created for non-work purposes.
On Lark, group chats serve the purpose of making discussion more focused and productive. For example, a group chat can be easily created from a 1:1 chat by adding more people, with the option to select 1:1 chat histories and sync to the group at the same time.
Also, productivity hacks can help teams collaborate more efficiently by streamlining workflows or automating repetitive tasks. Both Lark and Slack have built-in productivity hacks that can help teams save time while working together; Lark's all-in-one design further saves teams time and money compared with using multiple platforms, and adds more convenience for global teams to collaborate across time zones efficiently.
Some of Larks' built-in productivity hacks:
Auto-translation: in chats, docs, and meetings (real-time transcripts, and translation on minutes) to allow collaboration across teams who might not use the same language for work
Meeting Minutes: transcript and translation in real-time during a meeting, and the ability to package meeting transcripts, the recording, and docs shared during a meeting into minutes automatically for sharing.
Smart Calendar: schedule meetings quickly by not only checking everyone's availability but also seeing their time zones, directly from a group chat
Task Management: Assign tasks directly within chats using a text message, and organize tasks into different sections
Slack's built-in productivity hacks, which are also available on Lark at no additional cost:
Reminders: Set reminders so nothing falls through the cracks
Scheduled Messages: schedule a message to be sent on a specific day and time
Customizable Chat Grouping & Notifications: Organize conversations into groups and choose what notifications you receive
Workflow Builder (paid feature on Slack): Automate repetitive tasks using pre-built templates
Compliance: both meet industry standards
All businesses want to operate safely and securely without data leakage, and such requests apply to the products they use for collaboration too. Both Lark and Slack adhere to GDPR and CCPA for customers, and acquire compliance certifications to safeguard cloud service and privacy information.
Lark complies with SOC 2 & SOC 3 standards, and has secured multiple certifications across information security, privacy information management, cloud security, and cross-border security, and Lark's data is hosted on Amazon Web Services (AWS). More information on Lark's data security and compliance can be found in Lark Trust Center.
Slack has gained a similar series of certifications, too:
Overall, Lark is able to replace most of Slack's functions and the integrations it provides; it can be used by companies from a wider range of industries with tools for everyday work in one app for a much lower price, shorter onboarding time, and friendlier interface across big and small screens.
In addition, Lark also provides a series of functions such as auto-translation, timezone-specific calendars, and more to facilitate collaboration across the globe, making it a better platform for distributed teams.