What is Workstream Collaboration?
Workstream Collaboration combines messaging, notifications, files, bots, and other application integrations into a unified service within a single chat interface. Examples include Google Chat and Microsoft Teams. These tools provide an alternative to email and allow for work to be done by teams in a persistent, searchable, and transparent way.
Services at U-M
The following workstream collaboration services will be available to campus. The university has negotiated institutional agreements for these services, allowing them to be used for university business.
Some types of sensitive university data may not be stored or shared using these collaboration services. See the Sensitive Data Guide for details.
Google Chat is available as part of Google at U-M.
Google Chat (formerly known as "Google Hangouts Chat") is an evolution of the classic Google Hangouts chat service, adding additional features that let U-M faculty, staff, and students chat with individuals, send group messages, and engage in team-based collaboration with rooms across the entire university community and externally. For more information, visit the U-M Google Chat service site.
Google Chat is a G Suite for Education core service. It is free and covered under U-M’s agreement with Google and also can be used for certain kinds of sensitive data. It should not be used for protected health information (PHI) or HIPAA-regulated data.
Microsoft Teams is a communication and collaboration platform developed by Microsoft, as part of the Microsoft 365 family of products. Microsoft Teams incorporates a feature set similar to that of Zoom, Google Meet, and other products offering workspace chat, videoconferencing, and application integration. Microsoft Teams is available as part of Office 365 at U-M. All members of the university community with an active affiliation are able to use Microsoft Teams.
We are aware of individuals and units across the university are using other third-party workstream collaboration services, such as Slack. Some solutions are free, while others are for-fee services. These are considered personal accounts that are not covered by university agreements. They may not be used to store or share sensitive university data.
Due to the availability of Google Chat and Microsoft Teams, ITS will not offer Slack or Slack Enterprise Grid as a centralized campus service.
- Slack may not be used with sensitive university data, including data protected by FERPA.
- Slack accounts are considered to be personal accounts governed by the personal acceptance of Slack’s terms of service.
- ITS, including the ITS Service Center, does not provide Slack support to the university community.