7 Slack alternatives for team chat and collaboration

While it was Slack that kickstarted the business chat market five years ago, other options might be better suited for some companies. Here’s a look at seven Slack rivals, from big players like Microsoft Teams and Google Hangouts to lesser-knowns like Mattermost and Symphony.

Slack's launch in 2014 helped ignite demand for chat-based collaboration tools in the workplace, and, in turn, paved the way for a range of team messaging offerings that now provide a simple and effective alternative to email. 

The upstart has proved popular since its launch, attracting 10 million daily users. The secret to its success? A user-friendly and intuitive interface that encourages quick communication between team members, whether they’re in the same office or many time zones apart.

More and more, today’s collaboration tools serve as the hub for an increasingly digital office, where real-time, synchronous conversations suit the ad-hoc and informal discussions scattered teams use to collaborate on projects.

But it is not just about chat. The ability to hook into other applications has become fundamental to team chat apps, allowing them to evolve and grow beyond their original mission.

Not surprisingly, a variety of software vendors, from productivity software vendors to unified communications firms and smaller startups with standalone apps, rushed to create their own tools. The result is a fast-growing market, now worth $3.5 billion globally, and a range of options that suit the needs of different customers.

“Almost every company in the world with over 1,000 employees has at least two or three messaging apps co-existing alongside each other,” said Tom Hadfield, CEO of Mio, a provider of software that enables interoperability between chat apps. “The fragmentation of enterprise messaging is often driven by mergers and acquisitions, transitions from legacy systems, or simply accommodating engineering teams who love Slack.”

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