There has never been so much talk about team collaboration software as nowadays. The world is witnessing a new working model and improving productivity while working remotely has become a priority for most companies. But among so many options, we noticed several teams looking for Slack alternatives. With this in mind, we decided to test the main team collaboration tools and help you make the most suitable choice for your company.

Why do companies look for a Slack alternative?

As we’ve said in this blog post, more and more companies are concluding that email hinders team communication and productivity, so the demand for team collaboration tools has increased dramatically.

To have an idea, the size of the team collaboration software market is currently valued at US$ 8.53 Bn and will increase to US$ 18.30 Bn by 2026, as this survey conducted by Industry Research points out.

In this context, many tools have been gaining attention once companies realize that Slack may not be the best for all types of businesses, especially the ones that need high data security and technology flexibility. The Wall Street Journal pointed out that it was this exact lack of technology flexibility that made the company lose popularity among investors. By not investing in a native video conferencing feature, Slack didn’t follow the market’s demands. For example, screen sharing was made available only in mid-2017 and until June this year this team collaboration tool was limited to calls within a single organization. This lack of flexibility turned out to be one of the company’s downfalls.

Choosing a team collaboration software can be a difficult and time-consuming process, so in this content we have summed up our experience to guide you and help you save time.

We tested the following top Slack alternatives:

  • Rocket.Chat;
  • Mattermost;
  • Microsoft Teams;
  • Element.

This article is ideal for anyone who has used Slack and feels frustrated somehow or in the decision phase for a corporate communication tool. Here you will find the description of each of these softwares, their strengths, and vulnerabilities. Read on to learn what to look for in a team collaboration tool.

You’re not the only one looking for Slack alternatives

Slack was one of the first team collaboration tools to gain prominence in the segment, back in 2014. The platform caught on quickly between business and non-business organizations, which used Slack as a team messaging app option. Slack acquisition by Salesforce was recently announced and even though the news has been received with significant surprise by the community, the company hasn’t been very popular with investors for some time.

According to Morgan Stanley analysts, large companies had been choosing Slack alternatives and the massive demand for team collaboration tools in 2020 made Slack’s stock drop around 28%.

Even though Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield announced in March this year the milestone of 12.5 million users, many companies felt that this software may not actually be the best fit for everyone, specially for companies that need technology flexibility and require higher data privacy standards.

Read also: Remote work: 5 killer ideas to boost your team collaboration today

In order to create this article, we chatted with several people who work in big and small teams to better understand what Slack left behind and, among the many reasons that came up, we got to two aspects in the feedbacks:

Slack is a closed-source software

To put in a few words, this means their code is proprietary and nobody but the original vendors of the software have the permission to make any changes (or even actually have access to it).

In case you’re not familiar with open source or don’t really understand how it can impact your work routine, we’ll put it this way: if your team collaboration software were a vehicle, the code would be the engines. When your engines are available for everyone to see them it’s more likely that issues (like security breaches, for example) get tackled quickly and effectively.

Besides, users have been looking for open source Slack alternatives because they feel the need of having complete control of their data. In a closed source software you don’t really know how your data is being managed under the hood.

Another key point that’s making users migrate to open source is the fact that they work on the code the way they want it and fully customize the software’s interface and work on collaboration features and apps that will meet the team’s needs. That’s a big deal for companies nowadays simply because customizable solutions can speed up deployment and user adoption.

Slack requires third-party apps for crucial features

For example, Slack users complain that they need to install third party apps in order to send voice messages, so you might start wondering what happens to your data once you’re obliged to grant them access to it.

The fact that Slack is a “Software as a Service” causes some concern for users that deal with high sensitive information. As safe as SaaS can be, it can suffer from security breaches and you may have information leaks, and it has already happened with Slack.

The best way to prevent this is to place your data in an infrastructure where companies don’t share the same servers, like Rocket.Chat does. When hackers try to steal data from the cloud, they would get access to only one server instead of millions of them.

Closed-source software served as SaaS means that the data of all 12.5 million Slack users are stored together, so this data cluster becomes very attractive for hackers, which was the case in July this year when hackers were able to access Twitter internal systems through Slack and took over more than 130 high-profile Twitter accounts. 

After reading some Slack reviews and talking to many teams in the past few months, we listed four top Slack alternatives and tested them in order to help you decide which one will suit you the best.

Slack alternatives worth your consideration

1) Rocket.Chat

Currently considered as one of the most solid Slack alternatives, this team collaboration software is attractive to many companies. Founded in 2015, this tool began as a Live Chat tool built on Meteor, quickly turning into an all-in-one communication hub for all kinds of enterprises. The review platform Capterra named Rocket.Chat in the Top 5 Most Popular Live Chat Softwares and the Top 20 Most Popular Remote Work Softwares lists.

One of the great strengths of this Slack alternative is the fact that it is an open source team collaboration software, allowing endless possibilities of customizations, integrations and security. With the largest community on GitHub, over 28k developers working on their roadmap, Rocket.Chat’s innovation potential skyrocketed over the years. Nowadays, they are considered one of the only platforms made for both team collaboration and omnichannel support.

With this large number of developers checking and working on the code all the time, security is another key feature of Rocket.Chat, which offers end-to-end encryption and has on its client list several U.S. banks and federal organizations such as the U.S Navy. This video illustrates very well the multiple uses of the platform:

Read also: Slack open source: Top 3 reasons why companies adopt different platforms for team collaboration

Rocket.Chat has great native integrations for services such as GitHub, AWS, Atlassian, Zapier and many others. In fact, if your team is currently using Slack, importing all of your data will be very easy as the platform allows your data to be migrated practically and quickly.

In case you’re migrating from Slack, Rocket.Chat makes data importing very easy and even has a quick tutorial that will help you out.

To streamline your team’s communication, Rocket.Chat allows native video conferencing, so your team doesn’t need to move through screens and interface all the time. Team collaboration is very practical and easy in this platform as everything can be organized in channels, threads, group chats and direct messages. Here you can manage permissions, so you decide which pieces of information each member of your team can access.

 

For those who want to boost sales, this Slack alternative has also great omnichannel features to improve customer experience. Thanks to its complete toolset, you can support agents and managers with smart data that will help you understand better how well your team is performing.

By integrating with main social media channels and chatbots, Rocket.Chat allows your agents to work quicker and improve the response time. The highlight goes to the chat widget which allows you, with a simple code insertion on your website, to get in touch with visitors and therefore close more deals.

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A comparative analysis shows that Rocket.Chat is a more complete omnichannel platform for team collaboration than Slack.

2) Mattermost

Initially created as an internal chat app, Mattermost appeared in 2011, before Slack, but only came to the public in 2015 as an open source option.

Available in Linux, Windows, MacOS, Android and iOS, Mattermost is a team collaboration tool that differentiates itself mainly in terms of data protection. As they state in their manifesto, the developers created this platform to distance themselves from SaaS chat apps.

Mattermost is a pretty good match for large companies’ requirements and, just like Slack, it works for all sorts of industries and teams. This Slack alternative can be self-hosted or cloud-based and it’s very flexible.

When compared to Slack, the most significant difference here is in terms of security. You can run this team collaboration platform behind your organization’s firewall and be sure that instant messaging is safe. But if you are looking for end-to-end encryption, this platform does not provide that level of protection.

Another disadvantage reported by users is that Mattermost does not support voice and video calls in a native way, so if this collaboration feature is important for your team, you will need a third-party plugin.

Since its free plan has very few options, the experience with this platform might be limited, preventing you from using push notifications, permissions and any Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) feature. Last but not least: they don’t offer native Omnichannel features, only integrations.

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Even between Slack and Mattermost, Rocket.Chat is still the best omnichannel platform for team collaboration.

3) Microsoft Teams

Launched in 2017, Microsoft Teams is one of the most popular team collaboration tools in the market, mainly because of the distinction the name brings. It is a robust platform able to support all kinds of companies and teams’ needs.

One of the main advantages that this software offers is organizing team collaboration through channels, teams and private conversations. Like Slack and Rocket.Chat, this collaboration feature makes it easier to track projects and demands. With Microsoft Teams, however, there is a limit of 200 public channels and 30 private channels per person.

In addition to this, Microsoft Teams has bots to automate tasks, reminders, agenda, and more. These bots are built on the open-source Bot Framework Composer, which allows you to customize them without requiring great coding knowledge.

The customization options, however, stop right there. Microsoft Teams is not an open-source Slack alternative, which prevents further improvements such as changing personalizing the platform and leverage integrations.

Read also: Five open source alternatives to Slack

One problem with this software is the lack of a unified chat, which prevents the user from searching for specific bits of information within conversations. If you can’t remember which chat that precious information is in, get ready to spend some time looking for it in every chat window.

For those who seek major security, Microsoft Teams does not have end-to-end encryption, so you need to integrate third-party apps for this purpose. The same happens with omnichannel, which also does not have a native integration in the platform.

Maybe because it is a product that is only an extension of Microsoft 365, some features have not been worked out very well, so Microsoft Teams ends up being the ideal option only if you already have a Microsoft Office subscription and want a messaging app that is easier to integrate with other Microsoft products for which you are already paying.

In case your team needs to offer great support since this Slack alternative doesn’t offer native tools for customer experience, you’ll need to signup and pay for additional tools to fully support customers. That means extra cost, and extra-work to handle your support tickets and chats since they might be spread over a variety of unrelated tools.

Slack alternative
A comparative analysis between Mattermost, Slack, andMicrosoft Teams proves that Rocket.Chat is the best open-source platform.

4) Element (former Riot.im)

Unlike Slack and Mattermost, Element joins Rocket.Chat as one of the safest team collaboration platforms because it has end-to-end encryption. It is developed on the Matrix platform and your data gets stored in a private server.

Element sells itself as a “Nirvana for developers” and this is true once it was built by developers. This is visible in their UX, which ends up not being friendly for non-technical users and hindering the day-to-day operations of some team members.

Who seeks on-premise hosting may not consider Element the ideal platform since this feature is only available in the Platinum plan, which has a more expensive cost when compared to other team collaboration platforms.

Slack alternatives
We’ve tried 4 different Slack alternatives and Rocket.Chat proved to be the best omnichannel platform for team collaboration.

Here’s our conclusion

Team collaboration tools are shaping the way businesses see communication nowadays. As a McKinsey survey points out, users at companies expect deeper structural and organizational changes. For example, 66% of them expect day-to-day work to become more project-based instead of team or function-based, as 72% expect teams can self-organize way better.

Either way, it’s very important to check on these Slack alternatives and see which one fits best for your needs. We strongly believe Rocket.Chat is the best option due to its open-source nature and because it offers both omnichannel and team collaboration native features. Not to mention the benefit of having a huge community of developers working daily to improve the software, creating one of the most secure and comprehensive hubs in the market.

If you want to learn more about how Rocket.Chat can improve your workflow and boost your team productivity, you can always count on us! Shoot us an email!

Wondering if Rocket.Chat can be a good fit?

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