Evaluating xMatters Alternatives (Updated)

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Seconds count when mission-critical IT systems break down. Customers are accustomed to seamless experiences, and any impact on the end-user experience due to system breakdown can drive them away. In parallel, the digital technology estate is becoming increasingly complex as organizations continue to grow their tech stack to bring efficiencies to business workflows. This builds a strong business case for companies to adopt incident response tools to accelerate incident response when IT systems experience outages.

xMatters is synonymous with incident response tools, and with some of its advanced features, it’s easy to see why. However, for certain use cases, it can be overkill and may add to the technical debt of a company. Rushed, biased decision-making during the tool’s adoption can lead to counterproductive workflows and inefficiencies.

If you’re in the market to adopt your first incident response tool or are just looking to switch vendors because of misalignments in expectations, you’re in for some luck. This blog presents a snapshot of several other feature-packed incident response tools that can keep your software systems running with minimum downtime. We’ll be comparing the following tools:

Key Takeaways (TL;DR)
  • This blog discusses several alternatives to xMatters.
  • We compare vendors including OnPage, PagerDuty, Splunk On-Call, Opsgenie, and Datadog Incident Management.
  • While some vendors offer comparable solutions, they can be prohibitively expensive or overkill for the customer’s use case.
  • Additionally, signing up for an alerting tool from a tech behemoth can sometimes be costly, as these tools may be deprioritized.
  • Given the critical nature of Incident Alert Management and On-Call solutions, vendors must have a track record of uptime innovation and stellar customer service.

xMatters

Before we dive into xMatters alternatives, it is only fair to comprehensively evaluate xMatters, discuss its value offerings, and understand why customers may want to seek other alternatives. 

xMatters is one of the providers of enterprise incident management. xMatters offers a single platform for managing an organization’s response to any major event, from IT outages to natural disasters.

xMatters’ cloud-based solution integrates with existing IT infrastructure and applications, providing a unified view of all incidents across the enterprise.

Below are some features of xMatters:

  • Full range of capabilities for managing incidents, including instant alerts and notifications, escalation rules, collaboration tools for planning and executing response actions, and analytics for measuring performance against objectives.
  • Code-free workflow builder that can help automate key incident tasks.
  • Low-code workflows automate time-sensitive tasks and proactively manage incidents, driving innovation at full speed.
  • Post-incident reports to drive continuous learning while preventing recurrences.

While the low-code workflow is a great addition for large SRE organizations, it’s an overkill and an expensive proposition for IT organizations looking to simply automate their alert workflows and on-call management. Many customers who switched from xMatters to OnPage have also shared that while they were using xMatters, they often found it unclear where they were positioned in the escalation order during on-call shifts. Specifically, they were uncertain if they were the first, second, or third person to be contacted in the event of an escalation.

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xMatters Alternatives

OnPage

The first platform we would like to showcase is our solution, OnPage. OnPage enables teams to elevate critical incidents and deliver them reliably to the on-call technician. With OnPage, silos are broken down and collaboration between cross-functional teams is facilitated to speed up incident remediation. 

OnPage drives efficiencies in incident response workflows, alleviating tech burnout and alert fatigue.

Discussed below are some standout features that OnPage offers in addition to the basic on-call and incident alerting feature with customizable on-call schedules, routing rules and escalation policies: 

  • Contextual alerts: Adding context to an alert ensures the incident is actionable. By creating actionable alerts with detailed information, IT teams can positively impact their mean time to detection (MTTD) and mean time to resolution (MTTR).
  • Distinguishable alerts: Not all alerts are created equal or need the same level of attention. Some alerts are low priority and can be handled during normal business hours, while others are high priority and require an immediate incident response. Filter low-priority alerts so they do not wake up engineers overnight.
  • Keyword-based alerting: Trigger contextual, intelligent mobile alerts based on specific words found in tickets. If a string or word matches pre-set conditions, an OnPage alert is triggered and sent to the on-call responder. If conditions are not met, the on-call responder will not be disturbed.
  • Secure two-way messaging: OnPage’s alerting app enables engineers to securely message each other. Incident teams can enhance collaboration and break down silos without security concerns.
  • Digital scheduling: Use digital on-call schedules to create an equitable after-hours workload. Based on schedule configurations, OnPage will only alert the assigned or tasked on-call engineer.
  • Reporting insights: Post-incident reports provide insight into the IT team’s incident response performance. Detailed reports allow teams to re-strategize for future IT-related incidents and prevent recurrences.
  • Visibility into on-call schedules: Gain access to your schedules and your team’s schedules on the phone app.
  • 24/7/365 customer support: Gain 24/7/365 access to US-based customer support.

Pricing

Let’s address the elephant in the room: pricing. The vendors discussed on this blog can’t match the value OnPage offers for the price. We’ve consistently delivered cutting-edge innovations without increasing our prices over the past five years. Unlike other vendors, OnPage maintains transparent pricing and subscription levels. You’ll never receive surprise invoices based on usage; what you agree to upfront is exactly what you’ll pay. Our pricing information can be found here: https://www.onpage.com/pricing/

Integrations

Additionally, OnPage offers powerful and customizable integrations with Chat Applications (Teams and Slack), IT service management/ticketing solutions (like ConnectWise, ServiceNow, Autotask etc), Salesforce cloud solutions, Cybersecurity & Monitoring applications, and also supports SSOs from several vendors in the industry. The bi-directional integrations are not only continually updated to include the latest technology solutions, versions, and capabilities, but are fully supported by our technical support team.

Product Development

We also want to highlight that OnPage is known for its exceptional flexibility when it comes to development requests. Unlike many vendors in the market, we prioritize customer needs and are committed to making meaningful enhancements to our product. If a customer requires a feature that significantly improves their process, we make it a priority in our development pipeline. Rest assured, your requests won’t be ignored—they are thoroughly considered in our weekly product strategy meetings. As OnPage is central to our operations, we consistently update and enhance it, rather than simply maintaining it as a revenue source.

We also frequently receive positive feedback from customers who have transitioned from solutions like xMatters, praising OnPage’s intuitive scheduling system. We assure our prospective clients that if you can navigate Outlook’s calendar, you’ll find OnPage easy to master.

PagerDuty

PagerDuty is an alarm aggregation and dispatching service for support teams. With PagerDuty, teams are able to aggregate alerts from monitoring tools, cybersecurity solutions and cloud solutions on a single dashboard. They gain a single pane of glass view into all their incidents and have the ability to alert the right on-duty engineer when a high-priority incident is detected.

Below are some features of PagerDuty:

  • On-call management and incident alerting with customizable schedules, routing rules and escalation policies.
  • Support Runbooks to automate common incident response tasks, actions and processes.
  • Provides real-time collaboration for incident response
  • Detailed reports on incidents, response times and team performance.
  • Popular integrations with tech tools, but doesn’t support ConnectWise

Similar to other competitors, it has all the other basic features needed to respond to an incident. 

Objectively speaking, Runbook Automation is a key feature that distinguishes PagerDuty from the rest. With Runbook Automation, cloud operation teams can safely push automated IT workflows, eliminating repetitive, toil work. Requests can be resolved in minutes by delegating self-service task automation for cloud platforms to stakeholders. This allows cloud teams to focus on delivering value rather than wasting time on less productive tasks, such as closing tickets and fulfilling cloud requests.

However, it’s impossible to overlook that a major component and basic requirement of any incident alerting solution—the on-call scheduler—seems to be less intuitive and user-friendly. The other issue with their scheduler is that it doesn’t start out as “Full”. This means that when a scheduler is populated incorrectly, the team may run into situations where incidents remain unanswered. We’ve also recently discovered through conversations with a prospect trying to switch from Pagerduty that it lacks the ability to send attachments like images, PDFs, or voice recordings with alerts. PagerDuty also doesn’t support a bi-directional integration with ConnectWisse, a key ticketing tool used by Managed IT service providers. As for pricing, it’s widely acknowledged how costs can quickly escalate with PagerDuty—an issue frequently discussed by their customers on Reddit. 

Splunk On-Call

Splunk automates key processes to reduce time taken to acknowledge and resolve incidents. With Splunk, incidents can be delivered to the right person based on their expertise. The tool also allows to streamline on-call schedules and escalation policies.

Below are some features of Splunk On-call/ VictorOps

  • Splunk on-call uses machine learning to recommend responders and identify similar incidents, helping teams have the right people and information to remediate incidents.
  • The Rule Engine adds further context to incidents by adding resources such as runbook, articles and dashboard, to accelerate incident resolution. 

However, on-call management isn’t Splunk’s core focus and hasn’t seen major development since its acquisition. Additionally, support tickets can sometimes get lost in the labyrinth of a large company, making it challenging to get timely and personalized support.

Opsgenie

Opsgenie is an incident management platform designed to ensure critical alerts are never missed. It enables teams to schedule on-call rotations, manage escalations, and quickly respond to incidents by notifying the right people at the right time. Opsgenie integrates with a variety of monitoring and collaboration tools, helping teams maintain high availability and reliability of their systems.

Below are some features of Opsgenie

  • Customizable alerting rules, escalations and on-cal schedules to ensure right people are notified
  • Detailed timeline to track incident activities and responses
  • Post-event reports to help teams improve processes
  • On-call scheduling to manage duties and rotations
  • API and webhooks to support custom integration

However, some users on Reddit have recently complained about integration issues with their observability platforms and an overall archaic feel to the system. There are also reports of cumbersome holiday overrides and the complexity of adding new people to the rotation, which can sometimes break existing setups. While it might be a cheaper alternative to some systems, for maintaining the uptime of critical systems, it begs the question: Is the cost-saving worth the potential trade-offs in efficiency and reliability?

Datadog Incident Management

Datadog Incident Management enables DevOps teams and SREs to more effectively manage their incident response workflows from start to finish, saving time and frustration when it matters most. Users can automatically detect, triage, and resolve incidents directly in the Datadog app while consulting monitoring data from across the platform. 

With Datadog, users can declare, manage and investigate incidents from multiple sources without losing any information during context switching. They can pivot from alert to chat room to timeline with no loss of information. The slack app integration presents additional collaboration opportunities for teams.  

Try OnPage for FREE! Request an enterprise free trial.

Wrap Up

We’ve demonstrated the value of adding incident response tools to one’s tech stack in order to keep their digital estate running smoothly. Now, while xMatters offers powerful features and capabilities, there are several other powerful alternatives that should be evaluated. They all offer  unique benefits and may be best suited to deliver value in certain use cases.    

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OnPage