Deciding Between Mattermost and Slack: A Deep Dive Comparison

As a business leader exploring team chat apps, you likely want clarity on whether Mattermost or Slack better suits your organization‘s communication needs. With remote work accelerating reliance on digital channels, choosing the right platform pays dividends through more aligned, productive teams.

This 2800+ word guide offers a comprehensive, side-by-side analysis of core considerations when evaluating Mattermost vs Slack. You’ll gain expert insights as an experienced information security professional exploring the pros, cons, features, integrations, security, pricing and ideal use cases of both solutions.

My goal is to provide an exhaustive yet readable resource to help you determine the best fit based on your priorities around capability, configurability, ease of use and total cost of ownership. Whether needing robust data control or rapid rollout, this piece explores which platform aligns to your use case.

Let’s start by introducing both options, then compare across key decision factors.

What is Mattermost?

First up, Mattermost. As context, Mattermost is a secure, open source platform for team messaging launched in 2015 as an internal tool by game developer SpinPunch before getting open sourced.

Over 407,000+ developers at 9,000+ organizations now rely on Mattermost to centralize workplace communication across web, phone and PC. It’s designed as an extensible, self-hosted solution better serving companies managing sensitive information.

As an open source, private cloud alternative to Slack, Mattermost essentially provides an internal communication portal blending messaging, file sharing and tools. But with enterprise-grade security and control.

Capabilities go beyond just chat to enable workflow integrations, automation bots and more sophisticated coordination functionality. The platform interoperates with leading DevOps and operations tools in particular to unify systems.

So in summary, Mattermost brings together team communication and collaboration under an open, integrated architecture with security and governance versatility needed for major enterprises.

What is Slack?

If Mattermost targets large complex businesses, Slack positions itself as a simpler team communication solution for companies of any scale.

Slack exploded in popularity after its 2013 launch, amassing over 169,000 paid customers and 10+ million daily active users as of mid-2022. The intuitive, consumer-esque user experience drives accessible adoption across company roles and technical skill levels.

The platform consolidates workplace communication by letting coworkers chat, share files/tools and access other apps conveniently via mobile or desktop. While focused on public channels aligned to topics, groups or projects, one-on-one messaging is also supported.

With its vast App Directory spanning services from Zoom, Google Drive, Salesforce and more, Slack becomes the hub tying cross-functional workflows together transparently.

So in summary, Slack utilizes a user-friendly interface to centralize communication and make collaboration more streamlined via integrations. Offering a free tier but monetizing through premium upgrades, its model balances simplicity with expansions capturing wider business app ecosystems.

Now that you grasp the basic positioning of Mattermost vs Slack, let’s explore how they compare across standard evaluation criteria.

Mattermost vs Slack: Features and Capabilities

While both platforms enable channel-based team messaging with file sharing, integrations do expand their distinct approaches.

Mattermost‘s Communication Focus

Mattermost doubles down specifically on deepening team coordination functionality itself before interoperating externally. Channels thus become centers to operationalize workflows beyond just discuss topics.

You can embed interactive dialogs, automations, bots and entire task checklists called “Playbooks” to standardize processes — releasing code, troubleshooting incidents, planning sprints etc.

Beyond conversations, channels evolve more into orchestration hubs with real-time visibility facilitating action over just awareness.

And custom slash commands, webhooks and hundreds of open source drivers empower tying communication streams directly into external systems — not just centralizing through a third-party app model.

So Mattermost extends native communication utility itself, then transparently interlinks workflows bidirectionally across tools your business relies on through integration versatility.

Slack Focuses on Ease of Use and App Ecosystem

By contrast, Slack concentrates squarely on simplifying usage while connecting into common apps companies use via its App Directory.

While offering numerous productivity enhancements itself like customizable Workflow Builder automation, its value-add prioritizes user experience and convenience foremost.

Smooth accessibility translates business app benefits directly into messaging channels using pre-packaged integrations. With over 2,800 apps integrating tools like Salesforce, Microsoft Office, RingCentral and more, functionality stays robust but through easily configurable combinations.

Embedded usage guidance like prompting suggested apps assists employees adapt Slack to their context also. The priority becomes centered on fast ramp up and riding app ecosystem coattails over specialized function.

So Slack strives to transform communication through a subtler, indirect approach — digitizing conversation itself and surrounding it with external tools integrated elegantly to keep user transition frictionless.

In summary, Mattermost extends communication utility itself whereas Slack simplifies centralizing all tools into one interface.

Security, Compliance and Deployment Options

With software now underpinning enterprise operations, security and risk prevention require examination too when choosing a communication platform.

Mattermost and Slack take divergent approaches here as well, which suit some organizations better pending risk management needs and infrastructure preferences.

Mattermost‘s Security Capabilities

As open source infrastructure software designed for self-managed deployment, Mattermost offers robust controls, auditing and protection required by highly regulated industries like finance, government and healthcare.

Data ownership, visibility and risk management remain entirely in clients’ hands using internal Mattermost servers. Encryption, access controls, logging and security measures fold into existing stacks dependent on internal policy — not vendor limitations.

HIPAA, SOC 2, FedRAMP and hyper-specialized protocols all become manageable using Mattermost since capability scope resides with your IT teams exclusively.

So for max configurability essential in governance-intensive sectors or firms managing intellectual property, Mattermost‘s security posture gives you needed ownership.

Slack‘s Security & Compliance Standards

As popular commercial software, Slack undergoes regular independent audits to meet baseline compliance demands like ISO 27001, SOC 2 and GDPR readiness.

It checks foundational boxes around encryption, authentication safeguards and access controls to satisfy moderate business risk patterns. However, being multitenant shared infrastructure, protection mechanisms depend on vendor implementation not bespoke configuration.

For common cases like chat encryption or lockout guarantees, Slack fits needs. But high-stakes data exclusivity requires on-premise ownership which Slack does not yet offer natively as purely cloud-based. Its Enterprise Grid package though does enable granular DLP policies, exports and add-ons if willing to pay.

In summary, Mattermost prioritizes security configurability whereas Slack focuses on user-friendly content protection defaults.

Mattermost vs Slack: Pricing Comparison

Software costs make or break tool selection for most organizations understandably. Both Mattermost and Slack offer differing models here too — Figure A summarizes pricing across tiers.

Mattermost vs Slack Pricing

Figure A. Mattermost vs Slack Pricing Comparison

Because Mattermost gets offered as open source behind a commercial company, core functionality never expires for free tiers including:

  • User accounts
  • Message history
  • Channels
  • Voice/video chat
  • Guest access
  • Security
  • On-prem deployment

Extra features like SSO or AD/LDAP synchronization fall under Mattermost‘s $10/month per user Professional package — still affordable yet enterprise-ready.

By contrast, Slack being closed software uses a freemium model incentivizing upgrades over time by limiting storage, apps, channels and tools under free plans. Business and Enterprise packages unlock full functionality at $12.50 and $25+ per person monthly.

So Mattermost grants full communication utility forever whereas Slack nudges paying over time for real access.

Both offer enterprise pricing above for organizations with 500+ employees. And Slack does enable试用 its premium capabilities like 77GB storage or SSO authentication for 14 days free too.

But in evaluating recurring true TCO, Mattermost‘s open source backing avoids premium buy-in entirely if desired.

When To Use Mattermost vs Slack

Both platforms modernize team coordination leaps ahead of email alone. But use case nuances still position each as better fits pending needs around security, ecosystem integration, toolchain digitization breadth and workflows.

Where Mattermost Excels

Given its self-managed deployment, compliance-ready architecture and focus digitizing complex workflows themselves directly, Mattermost aligns better strengthening communication within:

Highly Regulated Industries

  • Healthcare organizations
  • Public sector agencies
  • Financial services
  • Defense agencies

Engineering & Technical Teams

  • Software development
  • IT, DevOps & SRE squads
  • Embedded and electronics

On-Premise System Stacks

  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Media production studios

Essentially any scenario requiring fine-tuned security control, infrastructure flexibility and richer integration to automate communication-dependent procedures suits Mattermost uniquely.

Where Slack Hits its Stride

By prioritizing UI simplicity and tapping into abundant apps readily, Slack naturally fits simplifying conversation for:

Fast-scaling Companies

  • Startups
  • Small business units

Non-Technical Teams

  • Marketing, sales & HR
  • Academics & students
  • General office roles

Cloud-Centric Toolsets

  • Mobile-native apps
  • Distributed web services

If quickly rolling out accessible, affordable communication is more important than advanced customization, Slack delivers smoothly.

For less complex integration needs or tighter budgets, Slack adds value conventionally. Its broader popularity does mean locating advice resources proves easier too.

So in summary, Mattermost aligns to niche enterprise uses whereas Slack suits wider commercial cases.

Key Pros and Cons Review

Let‘s recap core advantages and limitations deciding between Mattermost vs Slack as a final comparison:

Mattermost Slack
Pros Open source flexibility & customizability Pros Intuitive, easy user interface
Pros Self-managed deployment & data control Pros Huge ecosystem of app integrations
Pros Advanced security compliance & protections Pros Smooth onboarding through free plans
Pros Code & tools integrations Pros Familiarity & user advice resources
Cons Smaller prebuilt app marketplace Cons Limited workflow customization freedom
Cons Steeper learning curve to master Cons No on-premise self-hosting option

Which Team Chat Platform Is Best for You?

So in closing, is Mattermost or Slack the better choice evaluating team communication apps holistically?

For companies managing sensitive intellectual property, complex infrastructures or holding rigorous governance standards, Mattermost is likely best. You control risk factors completely with its versatility.

Otherwise for most general business purposes, Slack suffices offering intuitive functionality with enough configurability for wide adoption. Its app ecosystem also links common commercial stacks effortlessly today.

Ultimately determining use case around security sensitivity, toolchain digitization needs and workflow priorities right-sizes options for your organization.

But both Mattermost and Slack modernize team conversation immensely — streamlining coordination and unlocking productivity where legacy email falls short in the emerging remote work landscape.

So don‘t delay upgrading dated communication channels slowing business velocity! Feel free to share additional questions or needs in comments below too if helpful translating this research into your launch plans.