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Why your IT team should ditch legacy systems for ChatOps

ChatOps helps bridge the tasks of reporting and communications for faster, better-informed incident management

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Atlassian

As companies rely more and more on cloud-native services, parts of their infrastructure are breaking more often and causing bigger disruptions. When it comes to managing them, legacy ITSM tools simply aren't cutting it anymore. In the old world, you could get away with resolution times in days. In the world of Cloud, downtime is measured in minutes, not hours.

But there's a better way – a framework that combines real-time communications with a full "alert-triage-respond-deploy" loop, so you can dispense with wasted time and context-switching. We call it ChatOps, and it's becoming increasingly widespread as a method of incident management.

ChatOps enables IT teams to work faster and make the process of incident management smoother. Every chat room shows which team members are available to help solve a problem, share information and get feedback from all the right internal experts, and even take actions to resolve an issue from within the chat client itself via integrations and chat bots.

Of course, there are many different ways your IT team can use ChatOps to achieve different benefits. The following are just three examples: faster incident resolution (or "swarming"), reliable delivery, and feedback integration.

Faster incident resolution

You're all too familiar with the escalation model of ticket resolution: a user – or a large group of users – files a ticket, the ticket bounces around from teammate to teammate, everyone already has fifty other things on their plate, the ticket gets stuck in a queue. In the end, users get frustrated with how long it takes.

ChatOps lets you cut through the ticket ping-pong to quickly identify the right experts to assign tickets to, solicit knowledge from across departments, and create spaces for users to ask questions. For example, when an issue arises that an agent can't solve on their own, you can share it in your team room to determine who else has the right skills to help. You can also create rooms for a specific incident, or for common support issues.

When users call you in a panic about a service being broken, you'll have full visibility into the issue. Directing them to a room that pipes in a service's StatusPage alerts will empower them to become part of the process themselves, which takes a load off everyone's shoulders. It's easier to help frustrated users when they don't feel like they're shouting into the ticketing void.

A single view of your DevOps pipeline

Ops teams need to maintain a reliable infrastructure. After all, how can you possibly deploy code with confidence if you're not sure that you'll know when things go sideways? Or that you’ll be able to rectify issues with minimal impact on your users? And how can you fix or work around a problem you don't know exists? Or set reasonable expectations for your users?

ChatOps presents the opportunity to integrate all the tools in your DevOps pipeline into your dev and ops team rooms. That way, you can automatically trigger deployment environments on successful builds and proactively monitor them with simple slash commands. And when outages do happen, you can respond to them immediately and get moving quickly on a recovery plan.

Even more important, you can map those tools to all relevant rooms. That means the right people can see and respond to them. Having those alerts logged in your rooms makes it easy to see what went wrong, when. And with related conversations alongside those alerts, you to go back later to see where your processes can be improved. That quickly translates into reduced failures and faster recovery in the future.

Taking advantage of the tight integration with DevOps monitoring tools – one of the very things that defines ChatOps – will enable your team to deploy software with confidence, provide a more stable infrastructure, and continuously improve its services to drive business value. Isn't that what we all want?

CustomerOps

Once your product has shipped, communication and engagement with your customers begins through support tickets, social media, user experience surveys, and email. When feedback remains spread out among team members, it's difficult to get an integrated view of customer feedback. And identifying common problems takes forever and a half.

By putting all feedback in a single place such as group chat, that group chat becomes a customer communications command center. You can track social mentions about your service there and better understand common experiences and concerns reported by your customers. Everyone has the same insight into customer experience, and this helps your team craft the most helpful response.

This helps you identify issues and in-product errors faster, so you can fix them before they become widespread. By monitoring these components in real time and in the same place, you can shorten feedback loops and keep your stakeholders informed at every step.

ChatOps is a faster, leaner, more focused way of working. More than connecting teams via chat, it also connects all the systems you rely on in one place – so information flows at a quick yet natural pace, enables greater accountability and better analytics, and doesn't sit in an email inbox until whenever you're able to get around to it. It's how teams can do deeper, more dedicated work.

And one of the best parts about ChatOps -- besides saving you time and letting you communicate more effectively -- is that it's highly customizable. Meaning you can use it to shape your IT practices to fit your needs, instead of molding your team's practices to fit it.

Learn more about transforming your IT practice with HipChat for ChatOps.

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