The Slack integrations, apps, and bots we use to run GoSquared

All the Slack integrations that make our lives easier and our work more efficient

arrows crossing each other in the slack colours

We first switched to using Slack for our internal team communication several years ago.

A lot has changed since then (including Slack’s valuation), but we still use Slack day-to-day. The way we’ve used Slack on a daily basis has evolved over time, but one thing has been pretty constant: our reliance on Slack integrations.

For those new to Slack, it doesn’t just enable human-to-human conversation among a team. In fact, most of the real power we’ve found from Slack comes from the ability to link it to third-party services, apps and bots, putting information directly in front of the team in a single place, and enabling them to get their job done more effectively without digging into dozens of external tools.

We have an incredible number of apps and integrations set up on our Slack workspace. In fact, humans are outnumbered by bots approximately five-to-one.

These integrations enable us to be more efficient in a number of ways:

  • Managing the technical development of our own service and apps.
  • Keeping tabs on security operations.
  • Managing HR within the company.
  • Upping our game on sales to win new customers.
  • Being as efficient and effective as possible with our marketing.
  • Delivering fast, delightful customer service.
  • Tracking bugs, issues and customer feedback.
  • Having the occasional bit of fun along the way.

Here’s a brief rundown of some of the different ways we use Slack integrations to work more effectively:

Hubot

Hubot deserves a section to itself because it covers so many other aspects of how we use Slack.

We use Hubot to automatically respond to messages with useful information or to process commands such as triggering CI tests or responding to alerts. You’ll see Hubot pop up in a number of the examples below

Zapier

It would be remiss of us to post about our Slack integrations without dedicating a section to Zapier.

Many of the integrations we have set up aren’t direct, first-party integrations – either because the service in question doesn’t support it, or because we wanted slightly more control over what data we received.

Zapier makes it incredibly easy to link any service you like into pretty much any other service (not just Slack). We’re huge fans of Zapier here for building simple things like this, which would otherwise require a lot of development and maintenance work.

Building our product

a head on a dark background with the slack logo inside

We’re a technology company; our product is built on code. We use GitHub for our code repositories and have CI / CD in place to build, test, and deploy all code as soon as soon as it’s ready to ship. We use Jenkins for our internal services, driven directly from GitHub activity:

screenshot of a slack integration

… and Travis for our open-source projects:

screenshot of a slack integration being used for product development

Keeping the ops team up at night

slack logo made into a heart shape

Slack’s real-time nature makes it invaluable for keeping up to speed on all the different moving parts of our technical infrastructure.

We primarily use PagerDuty for processing alarms. When an alarm goes off, PagerDuty takes care of alerting an assigned team member via their service, but we also send the alert into Slack so everyone on the ops team knows what’s going on. If someone else is on hand, they can pick up the alert, with the help of Hubot.

screenshot of a slack integration where something has gone wrong

We also make use of our own traffic spike and dip alerts to draw our attention to when something’s gone wrong. Normally the GoSquared site and apps have a few hundred people concurrently online at any given moment, so when something goes wrong…

when there are a low number of visitors online we get this alert on slack

For serious incidents where we have to update the GoSquared Status Page (powered by Atlassian StatusPage), we have a StatusPage integration that posts those updates into #general (it’s one of the few integrations we have in the #general channel – if our service is experiencing issues, we want to make sure everyone on the team is aware)

a screenshot of the status page integration to slack

We also need to keep abreast of any issues or updates affecting any of the services we use, so we have a number of integrations set up to track things like the RSS feeds from AWS Status:

screenshot of the aws slack integration

Or for following GitHub status (this is actually a Twitter integration since it’s more real-time than the RSS integration)

screenshot of the GitHub status in slack

We also get updates from our security-scanning software such as Intruder:

screenshot of intruder bot as a slack integration

Shipping apps

slack interface with a heart

We have a channel dedicated to the operation and deployment of our mobile apps. In the process of developing, testing, and deployment of Android and iOS apps, there are several steps which require hitting a submit button and waiting for something to process.

We post updates from any Fastlane releases:

screenshot of fastlane integration in slack

We also track the approval and deployment status of our apps in the iOS App Store and Google Play Store:

apple store deployment slack integration

android deployment slack integration

The iTunes Connect (now App Store Connect) and Play Store updates are built using Zapier: we have an email address which receives these updates from Apple and Google and forwards these to Zapier’s Email Parser which then processes and forwards the notifications into Slack.

We also have a similar Zapier integration to forward error reports from telemetry such as Crashlytics:

crashlytics android notification as a slack integration

Selling effectively

slack colours into hearts on a dark background

For our sales team to work effectively, it’s important for them to be able to keep track of potential leads in real-time. We have a Zapier integration triggered by a GoSquared Smart Group Trigger which informs us of all new people signing up for a trial, along with some lead scoring information provided by Zapier’s Lead Score:

new trial signup slack integration

Leads are further qualified and analysed by the Russellator (named after Russell, its creator), our in-house system for detecting good-fit signups:

the russellator slack integration

And once we win a new customer, a GoSquared Smart Group notification lets us all know:

new customer notification as a slack integration

Marketing well

a star made out of slack colours and stripes

We like to keep informed of how we’re doing publicly and on social media. So we have integrations set up to post the RSS feed from the GoSquared Blog (oooh, meta), so the whole team knows when a post has gone out:

blog alert slack integration

Or when the team has posted something new on Instagram (this integration is powered by Zapier)

instagram slack integration screenshot

We also use Slack’s Twitter integration to see when someone else mentions @GoSquared

twitter slack integration

… or elsewhere on the internet via Mention and Zapier

screenshot of mentionbot as a slack integration

Providing excellent customer service

a group of 4 slack branded ticks

We pride ourselves on being able to provide great customer support, so we have a number of Slack integrations that help us manage accounts.

Whenever someone sends us a chat message via GoSquared Assistant, if it’s not responded to within a few seconds, it’ll get posted to Slack for everyone to see:

screenshott of a customer query integration

If we need to dive into more information about a customer while discussing how to resolve a support case, Hubot is on hand with the relevant information whenever we mention an account ID or link to our internal management tools:

hubot slack integration

We also use GoSquared Smart Group notifications to alert us to important events on someone’s account, so if someone looks like they might be likely to cancel, we can reach out and make sure they’re happy.

churn risk alert as a slack integration

We also actively gather feedback from our customers using Promoter, and pipe that back into Slack via Zapier:

promoter slack integration

Working as a team

multi coloured cogs on a dark background

We have a few integrations that help us work better together as a team. For HR management we use CharlieHR, and their integration helps us keep track of who’s in and out of the office:

charlieHR holiday notification

… or helps us remember when someone has a birthday coming up:

charlieHR birthday reminder in slack integration

Another very simple integration we have set up is one to remind us all to take lunch. We all work in the same time zone so it’s useful for us all to remember to take lunch at the same time. And occasionally it’ll switch up its avatar to give us some food-inspiration:

lunch bot slack integration

Keeping an eye on things

slack branded star

Dotted throughout the office, we have a number of screens showing dashboards and important metrics for the team to see at a glance.

GoSquared office screens with graphs

Each of these screens runs on a Raspberry Pi using a small Electron app and each has its own Slack bot persona which we use to control what is displayed where.

We chose to name them after Star Wars characters, because we’re nerds like that. Simply @mention a screen in the #screens channel with a URL and it will display that URL for all to see. We added a few other commands, like saying “sup” to quickly check what every screen is displaying:

screen set up slack integration

Having a bit of fun

a tick made with the slack brand colours

The GoSquared team is (mostly) human. We like to have a bit of fun. And we also like building Slack bots. So when someone says “crikey” a few too many times, Steve Irwin might jump into the conversation:

crikey slack integration

Jony Ive occasionally pokes his head in if we’re saying very Apple-esque things like “all-new” or “completely redesigned”

Jony Ive slack integration

Or when someone cracks a terrible joke, they might be met by the Face of Disapproval:

pun bot slack integration

(We haven’t yet figured out how to build an automatic terrible-humour detector. Disapprovalbot is mostly manual – for now)

That’s all folks. For now at least.

That’s a brief summary of our favourite Slack integrations. There are plenty more we use that I didn’t touch on here, and a whole universe of other apps that we haven’t even tried.

Do you have a favourite Slack integration that we didn’t mention? Let us know on twitter!

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