The top 7 Slack apps for incident management and collaboration
Coordinate and resolve incidents faster and more easily by bringing your incident management into Slack
By Team Allma
Incident management is a critical part of DevOps. The tools you choose can be the key to moving quickly and resolving problems before your customers even know they happened. There are a ton of great tools out there, and we’ve collected a list of apps that not only have consistently high ratings, but also integrate seamlessly with Slack out-of-the-box, allowing your team to manage incidents without bouncing between apps. While each app has its specific set of features, all boast multiple alert channels and on-call scheduling features. Below are our top seven apps, in no specific order.
Why do you need a Slack integration?
The less you have to switch between apps to resolve your issues, the faster you can work. Bringing as much of your incident-management flow into a central space where you’re already working and communicating with your team is basically a requirement. Among the seven apps on our list, there’s broad feature parity in Slack integrations. In all cases, the integrations are bi-directional, allowing users to create, acknowledge, update, and resolve incidents from within Slack, as well as allowing the tool to do things like create custom incident channels in the users’ Slack workspace. Where you do see some distinction are the interfaces, with some incorporating UI elements like buttons and others relying more heavily on slash commands to accomplish tasks. Unique differentiators are generally correlated to the distinct features of the tools themselves rather than the specifics of the Slack integration.
Meet the apps
The first entry on our list is also at the top of a lot of incident management “best-of” lists like G2's. PagerDuty has been around since 2009 and boasts a library of over 600 integrations (including Slack and Allma) and features like escalation policies that automatically alert additional users if the first user doesn’t respond. The only consistent downside reported was difficulty setting up schedules for teams who are not all working in the same time zone.
xMatters is another tool that you’ll often find at the top of many community-sourced lists. Among the feature callouts is the ability to customize the time between alert escalations, giving your team a few minutes to see and acknowledge the issue before alerting the next person. xMatters is one of the most flexible and customizable incident-management apps out there, which is great for complex use cases but has also led some users to find it difficult to configure.
Opsgenie is part of the Atlassian suite of tools, which is one of its strongest selling points. If you are already using other Atlassian tools like Jira, adding Opsgenie can seamlessly integrate with your existing ticket ecosystem to automatically create Jira tasks from Opsgenie alerts. Some reviewers have commented that it is not as robust a tool if you are not implementing it with other Atlassian products. Even with that in mind, Opsgenie receives consistently high marks from its users.
Formerly known as VictorOps, Splunk On Call gets a lot of praise for its rules engine, which offers users a granular level of control when creating rules for issue routing. Another standout feature not seen in all the tools on this list is the ability to attach documentation to issues so alert recipients don’t need to go searching for a playbook. As has been seen with other products, users reported some difficulty creating schedules that worked well for time zone-distributed teams. Lastly, among all the tools we looked into, Splunk On Call had the most callouts for a high quality mobile app by far.
Datadog is a somewhat unique entry to this list, but well worth including. Where Datadog shines is in its event-monitoring capabilities. In addition to being alerted when there’s an issue, you get all the data on the number of occurrences, how long something occurred, etc., to better understand the scope of an issue. We included it on this list because you can use metrics around those events to trigger alerts to your team when an event becomes an issue. Compared to some of the other options on the list, Datadog does not have the on-call scheduling you’ll find with the other tools, but it does boast a number of integrations that can fill that gap.
Squadcast, first released in 2017, is one of the newer tools out there, and it gets high marks in nearly all the reviews we’ve seen. One specific feature that gets a lot of love is the on-call notification sent shortly before a user’s on call shift begins. More than a few reviewers specifically mentioned it being a useful feature. Where you find some dissatisfaction with Squadcast is with its lack of features relative to some of its competitors, such as PagerDuty). Other reviewers, however, describe the tool as satisfyingly simple. You’ll find that what Squadcast does, it does well.
AlertOps is another of the tools on this list that gets praise for being highly configurable. Users consistently report being able to configure the platform in exactly the way that suits their specific needs. As often happens, there is a learning curve that comes with the level of customization that AlertOps offers, but one of the most common comments from reviewers is that the support and transition teams are incredibly helpful with any issues new users run into.
So which one is best?
The answer to that really depends on the specific needs of your organization. All of the tools in our list cover the basics of incident management and allow users to manage incidents without leaving Slack. A tool like xMatters might be the perfect fit for an organization that needs a high level of customization, but might be too much for someone with simpler needs. Along the same lines, the simplicity of Squadcast is appealing to some users and limiting to others. The best advice we can give when choosing a tool for incident management is to compare its features to your needs and current (or ideal) resolution process, and find the one that fits best. And if cross-team collaboration is one of your needs, consider one of the apps that integrate with Allma (PagerDuty, OpsGenie, and Datadog)—and take advantage of the collaboration features that you won’t get by using one of these tools alone.