All alternatives

incident.io vs PagerDuty

Learn more about how incident.io compares to PagerDuty

incident.io as a Pagerduty alternative

Before we dive into a comparison of PagerDuty and incident.io, it’s worth taking a step back to understand incident management and the lifecycle of an incident a little more holistically. Broadly speaking, every incident follows a relatively well-defined set of stages:

  1. Something happens, and it’s something bad – let’s call it “an incident”
  2. We get hold of the right people, either manually or as part of an automated alert
  3. We respond to the incident, pulling together people from across the organization, getting them in a room (often virtually!), and have them follow a set of processes
  4. We close the incident, debrief on what happened, and extract learnings and follow-up actions to strengthen our response in future

On paper, PagerDuty covers entire lifecycle of an incident, but in our experience – and the experiences of our customers – we’ve observed it to be strongest in the alerting phases, and weaker at helping them to respond to and learn from incidents. At incident.io, we believe that we’re the most sensible incident response and management tool for companies looking to do more than just alert. We’ll explain why below.

💡 tl;dr: PagerDuty primarily focuses on one part of the incident lifecycle (alerting), while incident.io is designed to support your teams to run incidents end-to-end.

PagerDuty: an integration or an alternative?

Today, PagerDuty is both a integration with and an alternative to incident.io. We offer a powerful integration with their on-call management and alerting capabilities, allowing you to trigger incident.io incidents from PagerDuty alerts, and to escalate to other folks as necessary.

PagerDuty is great (and probably the most popular tool) for alerting engineering teams when something goes wrong. However, PagerDuty doesn’t offer as much when it comes to incident coordination, response and follow-up — arguably the most important aspects of incident management.

This is where incident.io comes in.

We take responsibility for everything that happens from the moment that you’re woken up by a PagerDuty alert, up until you close your incident and understand what went wrong, and right through until you have the last action item completed.

Most of our customers use incident.io in conjunction with PagerDuty (or an alternative alerting system). This page is designed to walk you through a typical incident response process in both PagerDuty and incident.io.

Let’s break down how incident.io compares to PagerDuty across a few steps in the incident management process.

Pagerduty vs. incident.io: Incident response and management

incident.ioPagerDuty
DeclaringWithin Slack, incidents can be declared using a simple /inc command. From here, all subsequent actions can be done using the same commandYou can either declare an incident in the PagerDuty dashboard, or within Slack using the /pd command. However, all subsequent response actions must be done in the web dashboard.
RespondingWith the /inc command in Slack, you can initiate several response actions, such as designating incident leads, severity, and much more in just a few clickBecause there are no Slack commands, all incident response actions must be communicated and raised manually. Because of this, it’s difficult to have a streamlined and highly visible incident response process.
Status updatesUsing the /inc command in Slack, you can quickly and easily provide status updates for your teamTemplated SMS or email updates can be sent by Pagerduty customers on higher-paying tiers and are not available via Slack
Follow-upsThrough our integrations with Jira, Linear, and others, follow-up actions are created and logged automatically.Incidents cannot be linked to follow-up actions.

Pagerduty vs. incident.io: user experience

incident.ioPagerDuty
Set-upSlack-based UI that allows for a seamless adoption process plus customizable fields to tailor your incident response process to your organizationSet up and declare incidents in Slack but all subsequent actions must be taken through a Web-based dashboard
AccessibilityDesigned to be accessible to everyone with minimal training, not just engineersComplex user interface requires training and up-skilling
User interfaceIntuitive interface that’s designed for ease-of-use for all roles and responsibilitiesComplex interface that’s geared towards incident response teams and incident management power users

Pagerduty vs. incident.io for incident response

At incident.io, we believe that incident management and communication go hand-in-hand. For that reason, it’s our philosophy that your incident response process should meet you where you’re communicating, which for our customer is Slack.

For a full run through of how both tools work when it comes to responding to incidents in Slack, check out the walkthrough video below.

Pagerduty vs. incident.io for declaring incidents

Starting an incident with PagerDuty

  • Head to the web site and your taken to a screen like this one. Declaring is relatively straightforward, but once you’ve done it you immediately need to leave to get to work in Slack.

"Declaring an incident with PagerDuty example"

  • If you’re wanting to start an incident from Slack, you can use the /pd command. This is a nicer entrypoint for folks who are comfortable with Slack apps, and feels more connected to the Slack channel.

Starting an incident with incident.io

  • Can declare from the website, either as a Live incident, or a retrospective one. Fully customizable forms for creating incidents so you can collect the data that matters to you.

"Declaring an incident with incident.io example"

  • Declaring through Slack is the more typical route, and again, fully customizable so you can collect data, assign roles, determine the type of incident it is.
  • Both routes direct you seamlessly to the new Slack channel where you can take control of your response.

Pagerduty vs. incident.io for response and coordination

Pagerduty incident response

Once an incident is triggered, it’s hard to take control of your incident through PagerDuty’s Slack integration. There are no Slack commands to update your incident, log follow-ups, or take actions against external systems like your public status page. Because of this, responders have to context switch between Slack for communications, and the other tools they need to use in their response process. In short, you have a relatively blank canvas to deal with the incident on your own.

For engineers who have experience dealing with incident coordination and response, this might not be a big deal. But for other folks, such as customer support, this process may be a bit more intimidating and cumbersome.

incident.io incident response

Once you declare an incident using the /inc shortcut in Slack, you can fill out all the known details about the incident. Once filled, a Slack channel will automatically be created that can be either public or private.

In that channel, you can take several actions immediately with the click of quick action buttons including: designating incident leads, updating your status page and more. To make things better, whichever action you take, you’ll be given a set of instructions to ensure that you go about that action properly – and all within Slack itself.

Throughout the response, the /inc command can be used to take control of the process, including Status updates, logging actions, escalating with PagerDuty, and managing actions and follow-ups. This simplicity makes it easy for even non-technical folks to declare incidents like a pro.

PagerDuty vs. incident.io for providing status updates

Once an incident is declared, updates are crucial to keeping everyone in the loop. Here’s what a typical update flow looks like on Pagerduty and incident.io

Pagerduty incident status updates

Nicely templated status updates via SMS and email can be sent from the PagerDuty website, but only if you’re on their Business or Digital Operations tiers – lower tiers don’t have access to this feature. None of this is available through the Slack integration.

Subscriptions can be managed from the PagerDuty UI on each incident, and on a personal level you can opt to subscribe to “Business Services” only.

incident.io incident status updates

Once again, any and all incident updates can be triggered using the /inc command.

Once triggered, you can easily update the incident severity, status as well as include any details you feel are important to share. Templates can be used to aid consistency.

With Workflows and subscriptions you’re in full control of how status updates are delivered. For example, sending updates to executives via email for all Critical severity incidents, or configuring a personal auto-subcribe rule to get Slack DM updates for incidents related to your team.

Pagerduty vs. incident.io for incident follow-ups

incident.io connects to your issue tracker (Jira, Linear, Asana, GitHub, etc) and allows you to seamlessly create actions to be picked up after the incident. Actions logged through incident.io will automatically track the status in the respective issue tracker, and our follow-ups dashboard allows you to track completion rates, define policies and perform bulk actions.

PagerDuty has no concept of linking incidents to follow-up actions.

Pagerduty vs. incident.io for incident follow-ups

incident.io connects to your issue tracker (Jira, Linear, Asana, GitHub, etc) and allows you to seamlessly create actions to be picked up after the incident. Actions logged through incident.io will automatically track the status in the respective issue tracker, and our follow-ups dashboard allows you to track completion rates, define policies and perform bulk actions.

PagerDuty has no concept of linking incidents to follow-up actions.


Why you should use incident.io as an alternative to Pagerduty for incident management and response

In short, Pagerduty has been designed with engineers in mind. Because of this, the platform can be a hard sell for non-technical teams who don’t have excess time to onboard onto a highly technical tool.

incident.io on the other hand was designed with non-technical roles in mind.

With our tool, anyone can be onboarded quickly and drop in to manage the incident response process with low friction. It’s an ideal workflow for organizations that want to standardize the use of incident management tools across all functions.


Want to see incident.io in action? Check out our demo walkthrough