Broadridge Financial uses Mattermost for secure enterprise-grade DevOps collaboration
After moving to Mattermost, Broadridge was able to increase developer productivity and organizational alignment without compromising on security.
For years, the firm had been relying on a well-known instant messaging application for enterprise communication. Not only was the platform nearing its end-of-life, it fell short elsewhere for several reasons: conversations were slow, chat histories weren’t always persistent and compliance was difficult to achieve.
After realizing they needed a replacement, the company briefly considered two popular messaging solutions but found both to be inadequate for various reasons, including compliance and privacy concerns. Ultimately, the firm found Mattermost, the open source enterprise messaging workspace, met its needs perfectly.
Broadridge Financial Solutions traces its roots to 1962 when it began as the brokerage services division of ADP. In 2007, the company spun off from ADP, establishing itself as a publicly traded global financial services firm that provides the technology, data and analytics, and communications support clients need to get ahead in today’s challenging investing landscape. The company processes upwards of $5 trillion in trades every day.
Financial services companies operate in heavily regulated, highly competitive environments. To this end, keeping data secure is of the utmost importance both to retain competitive advantage and ensure regulatory compliance. Like other leading financial services companies, Broadridge is keenly focused on data loss prevention.
Operating on a global scale successfully starts with seamless and reliable cross-location communications and collaboration. To keep everyone on the same page, Broadridge used a well-known instant messaging application. According to Sumit Agarwal, an engineer at Broadridge, the platform fell short for several reasons:
- Users would have to be reinvited to join group chats if they went offline after one was initiated, which slowed down conversations
- Some conversation histories weren’t persistent
- At the same time, legal wanted the company to expunge conversation histories after a specific period of time; the app lacked this functionality
- Cross-geography asynchronous communication wasn’t great
In addition to these shortcomings, the platform was nearing its end-of-life.
To continue delivering best-in-class financial services to their clients, Broadridge needed a modern enterprise messaging solution that supported cross-company collaboration while ensuring all data that passed through the platform remained secure.
As Broadridge began its search for a new messaging solution, the company initially considered a popular SaaS messaging service. But since data sent through that platform is stored on third-party servers, Broadridge—with its data loss prevention priorities—needed a more secure solution, one that gave them complete control over their messaging data.
“We weren’t open to a cloud solution,” Agarwal explains.
Briefly, Broadridge experimented with a social networking platform designed for businesses. But that solution didn’t meet the company’s security requirements, and users indicated they preferred a messaging solution that was less like a social network and more like a chat room.
After searching for a secure messaging solution, the technology team at Broadridge found Mattermost. Broadridge also uses GitLab, a suite of developer productivity tools, which Mattermost is bundled with. This allowed them to set up a couple of proof of concept pilot programs using Docker to see whether the solution would meet their needs.
“After those pilots were successful, we were able to fund the Enterprise license from there,” Agarwal continues. “The proof of concepts showed value in terms of cross-location collaboration and how the platform integrates with tools like GitLab and Jenkins.”
After making their final decision, Broadridge got Mattermost Enterprise Edition up and running on a virtual machine in a few hours. To date, the platform has already delivered a number of benefits for the financial firm.
Security was top of mind for Broadridge while selecting a new messaging platform. Mattermost, which can be hosted on any cloud—or even behind a company’s firewall in their own data center—provided the control and protection Broadridge needed to secure its data and ensure compliance.
Broadridge has been thrilled with how intuitive Mattermost is, allowing for rapid adoption without the need for training.
“I keep getting feedback about how easy it is to use,” Agarwal says. “Our developers have a good experience and then recommend it to their colleagues.”
Mattermost adoption has grown organically. Currently, there are about 1,000 users on the platform, with 200–300 daily active users; Mattermost is primarily used by the engineering, development and infrastructure teams.
For Agarwal, the decision to use Mattermost has made work easier.
“We’ve cut down on email communication and improved collaboration across the organization.”
The platform has also helped him get to know more people in different business units. Recently, Agarwal was working on a project that included folks from six different departments; Mattermost made the experience much more productive and much less frustrating.
“I’m able to use Mattermost to get engineers to collaborate from within those six teams—using public channels instead of email or one-to-one instant messaging, which would have made life a lot harder,” Agarwal says. “With Mattermost, sharing information is much easier.”
Broadridge has already extended Mattermost by adding GitLab and Jenkins integrations to the platform via incoming webhooks.
“We plan on doing more integrations in the future,” Agarwal concludes. “We’ve done a proof of concept on Jira and I’d like to get a bot running.”
At Broadridge, some of the top use cases for Mattermost include:
- Streamlined release process. Mattermost is used to accelerate release times while reducing the need for meetings by bringing together dozens of release stakeholders across teams and locations—engineers, testers, analysts and product managers—into a single discussion channel integrated with build management tools where releases can be cut, tested, patched, integrated and re-released until a final build is pushed to production.
- Continuous design reviews. Broadridge uses Mattermost to develop higher quality designs in less time by bringing together a wide array of disciplines and experts to review and influence living design plans through multi-threaded, topic-based discussion channels. Engineers can continue design discussions across releases, considering previous decisions and rationales to inform future designs. Thanks to Mattermost’s persistent chat histories, new team members are able to understand previous decisions faster and share high-quality feedback in context quickly.
- Security issue escalation. Mattermost accelerates security issue responses by streamlining alerts from automated tools and responsible disclosure policy reports to security staff in special channels. Alerted staff self-organize to assign, investigate, discuss, address and verify security issues, pulling in expertise across teams and organizations, with documented histories and actions to monitor, manage and continuously improve response plans and fix times.
- Project coordination. The Broadridge engineering team uses Mattermost to coordinate DevOps workflows and collaborate across countries and timezones. Mattermost has been fully integrated into Broadridge’s development processes.
- Topic-based Q&A. Employees use Mattermost to ask each other quick questions and otherwise stay in touch over the course of the day. Broadridge relies less and less on email thanks to the platform. “We don’t have to find ways to circulate the same information over and over again,” Agarwal says.
- Continuous status updates. Instead of having to interrupt team members to ask about status updates, colleagues and managers can review the state of projects by monitoring channels where activity is ongoing. This enables them to understand where projects stand and provide help when needed without distracting or stalling ongoing operations. For example, employees post project dashboards in channels instead of sending them over email. This way, managers can see where things stand at any given point in time without having to search through cluttered inboxes.
Looking ahead, Agarwal hopes that the company can replace more meetings with asynchronous chat sessions on Mattermost—a popular use case for many organizations.
The Mattermost use cases translate into several business benefits for Broadridge:
- Increased productivity. Thanks to Mattermost’s flexibility, developers are able to get more done in less time. It’s easier than ever for teams to collaborate across geographies and move projects forward faster.
- Happier employees. Employee happiness has increased at Broadridge as workers are no longer drowning in email and don’t have to repeat themselves several times. They’re also able to easily find the information they need without having to track colleagues down.
- Improved alignment. Mattermost keeps teams on the same page. But the platform also enables managers to keep pace with their employees, too, no matter how busy they are. As a result, Broadridge enjoys increased organizational alignment and moves forward cohesively.
Mattermost provides enterprise-grade collaboration solutions for the world’s leading organizations on a vibrant open source platform. Our private, hybrid and public cloud solutions offer secure, configurable, highly scalable messaging across web, mobile and PC with archiving, search, and deep integration across in-house systems.
About Broadridge Financial Solutions
Broadridge Financial Solutions provides investor communications and technology-driven solutions to banks, broker-dealers, mutual funds and corporate issuers globally. Broadridge’s investor communications, securities processing and managed services solutions help clients reduce their capital investments in operations infrastructure, allowing them to increase their focus on core business activities. For more information, visit www.broadridge.com.