Anexia consolidates tools for more effective workflows with Mattermost
“We continue to remove superfluous internal tools and do more and more in our Mattermost workspace.”Alex Griesser Head of System Operations
Anexia is a managed hosting provider that builds customized IT solutions for organizations around the world and provides cloud services in more than 90 data center locations. The company — which was founded in 2006 and is headquartered in Klagenfurt, Austria — has more than 300 employees working out of 10 offices across Europe and the United States.
Needing a secure, reliable, feature-rich communications solution
Voice calling has always been an issue for Anexia. About a decade ago, the company relied on VoIP phones to communicate with each other, along with call bridges that were always full to the point employees would often jump on each other’s calls accidentally.
“Most of the time, it was easier to just shout through the room,” explains Alex Griesser, head of system operations at Anexia.
As time went on and Anexia continued to expand its footprint, the company added some additional office locations.
“From there on, things got a bit more tricky,” he continues. “Our customer base grew beyond our toll-free calling zone, and being on a phone call with a customer was difficult because you could not share screens, send text messages to clarify details — you all know the shortcomings of a phone call compared to an online meeting.”
To solve this challenge, Anexia tried Skype for Business.
“Just when we thought we had everything properly set up, it was canceled by Microsoft,” Alex says. “At about the same time, Atlassian also canceled our instant messaging tool Hipchat. That’s when we first got in touch with Mattermost. From there on, things got better.”
Moving more and more workloads and processes to Mattermost
After rolling out Mattermost, Anexia continued to move workloads and processes to the open source collaboration platform. In short order, Mattermost became an “essential tool” that’s “required for all team members,” Alex says.
With 100% of its employees using Mattermost, Anexia realized they could eliminate redundancies and reduce context switching by integrating more and more tools and workflows into the platform.
“One of the first things that immediately started shifting to Mattermost was notification mails, which got replaced by webhooks,” Alex continues. “Seeing the potential of noise reduction and tailored notifications here literally opened a big door to the future for us.”
Next, the team integrated Jira so they would receive notifications of new Jira issues in Mattermost, quickly create issues from within chat conversations, and even add additional information to them while collaborating on a ticket with colleagues in a Mattermost channel.
“Right now, we’re evaluating the Mattermost Apps Framework and have already created an internal application which will be the base of all future integrations around Mattermost for us,” Alex says. “The next thing on the roadmap is an even tighter integration in the daily operations workflow for our ops people, enabling them to tackle incoming incidents and notifications at much higher speeds than possible today, increasing throughput and reducing noise. They’re also starting to use ChatOps in order to quickly solve tasks directly from your chat prompt.”
“Additionally, another team is currently evaluating Playbooks to streamline their release processes of internal software,” Alex says.
“We’ve also started to evaluate Playbooks for our incident handling across the technical teams which will, once released, replace lots of internal checklists, scripts, and small tools which do the incident handling today,” he continues.
Looking ahead, the Anexia team plans to consolidate their tools and workflows as much as they can.
“We continue to remove superfluous internal tools and do more and more in our Mattermost workspace,” Alex says. “We were thrilled when we heard that we can also do audio calls and screen-sharing inside channel conversations with Calls.”
Being an early adopter of Mattermost Calls
When Anexia found out about the development of the Calls feature, Alex and his team became very excited.
“We immediately wanted to join the closed beta to see if it would be a good fit for us,” he explains. “We jumped on the beta and did a few internal test runs.”
Being part of the beta program for Mattermost Calls was a truly collaborative process.
“We worked closely with the developers, who always took the time to answer our questions in a deep technical way,” Alex says. “Together, we got everything up and running, and we also collaborated on possible feature requests and bugs we encountered.”
The decision to move to Calls for voice calls and screen-sharing proved to be a wise one.
“As of today, almost all my daily calls have shifted from Microsoft Teams to Mattermost Calls,” he says, adding that his role includes a lot of meetings. “Ad hoc 1:1 calls most of the time are continuations of chat conversations, and I can see more and more people not switching between tools anymore for such calls due to the native integration. I’m looking forward to Calls hitting the Mattermost Insights dashboard so I can track internal adoption even closer in the future.”
Looking forward to deeper partnership with Mattermost
Anexia sees potential for future collaboration and partnership beyond just using the product alone.
“The communication between Mattermost and the open source community and customers is transparent, and the roadmap even includes some of our own requested features,” Alex concludes. “Our team can’t wait for new features to get deployed on our systems so we can integrate them into our daily workflows even deeper.”