Mattermost gives Bungie a central collaboration space

Game studio Bungie is the creative force behind legendary game titles Halo, Destiny, and others. Sharing game art and screenshots is part of everyday life at a game company, however Bungie’s legacy tools made such simple collaboration fragmented and siloed. Bungie migrated from Skype for Business to Mattermost for persistent messaging, allowing teams to create a dedicated workspace to not only share images and videos, but also extend team communications. Now, Bungie teams can collaborate more efficiently with team members and external partners, as well as easily access information from internal systems like Jira.

Fragmented collaboration with legacy tools

Game development is inherently visual, and many workflows depend upon sharing images and rich media across teams. Prior to adopting Mattermost, Bungie had been using Skype for Business as their primary messaging platform. However, as simply a business chat tool, Skype only supported text-based instant messaging between individuals in chat rooms, which meant that users had to supplement their conversations by sending visual files and group messages over email—resulting in fragmented collaboration and information silos. In addition, people found Skype’s user interface unintuitive and lacking in user-friendly features like gifs that allowed for rich expression in everyday communication.

Bungie’s IT team wanted to move the company to a modern messaging solution that could support robust group communications and integrated workflows. With the right platform, end users would be able to easily spin up and manage their own team channels, where they could seamlessly share images and videos, as well as access information from internal systems. In addition, users would have the ability to collaborate with their team directly from their mobile device or laptop. While most of the company works onsite in their Bellevue office, they still wanted a robust solution to make collaborating between and across teams more efficient.

The search for a modern messaging platform

The IT team looked at a wide range of options, including popular products like Slack and Webex Teams, as well as some open source technologies and those destined to sunset like Hipchat and Socialcast. Their cursory investigation weeded out products that didn’t have good security features, such as identity and access management controls, single sign-on capabilities, or compatible backend requirements. The team preferred on-premise solutions, which gave them more control over their data, but they were also open to cloud-based, SaaS platforms.

Bungie regularly holds an internal hackathon-style event called “Carnival,” where employees can work on and share their pet projects. During one Carnival, a team ran a Mattermost trial and invited users to test the platform and provide feedback. Trial users liked Mattermost for its ease of use, feature set, and extensibility. For the IT team, this feedback narrowed down their choice of messaging platform candidates to Slack and Mattermost.

Comparing the two solutions, the Bungie team found that Mattermost offered the features and capabilities that Bungie needed, as well as their on-prem preference, at a price point that fit their budget.

A smooth migration from Skype to Mattermost

Bungie chose an on-premise implementation of Mattermost, giving the IT team total control over data and permissioning behind the company firewall. The path to migrating data from Skype for Business to Mattermost was straightforward. The team first exported Skype data into an Excel spreadsheet, tweaked some of the formatting, and then saved it as JSON before importing it into Mattermost. Mattermost’s support team was able to help guide them to a successful migration.

“Mattermost’s support team was really responsive and helpful. When we ran across problems during data migration, they worked with us to resolve them quickly, so we could stay on track.”

—Jennifer Roediger, IT Engineer

After running a pilot with testing groups, the IT team rolled out Mattermost over a weekend to the entire company. Many employees were already familiar with the platform after having tried it during the internal Carnival event. Since the official rollout, employee feedback has been universally positive. 

A central collaboration space for studio staff and external partners

Users enjoy Mattermost’s rich features, like custom emojis and gifs, as well as the platform’s robust capabilities, such as private channels and rich media support. With Mattermost, everyone works together more efficiently. Product teams can share images and discuss work in the same thread. DevOps teams can monitor deployments from their mobile devices while on the go. Everyone has access to a centralized workspace that anchors team communication and creates a shared repository of information.

“Adoption of Mattermost has been widespread. We estimate that 80 to 90 percent of the company uses Mattermost on a monthly basis.”

—Dave Petty, Senior IT Engineer

An important feature of Mattermost is the ability for Bungie teams to create group channels that are private and limited to their group members. But the platform also enables those teams to give permissions to outside guests, so they can collaborate more easily with external partners and vendors from within their team channel. Bungie has combined the B2B features in Azure Active Directory with LDAP Group Sync to authenticate and route external guests to the right team seamlessly, allowing guests to log in within minutes. IT doesn’t have to provision new accounts and passwords, saving the team time and effort.

Next steps—exploring integrations

Although Mattermost’s out-of-the-box experience has been a boon to Bungie’s workforce, the platform’s extensibility offers greater opportunities for collaboration. The IT team is looking into platform integrations, like the Mattermost Jira plug-in, that allow teams to connect to internal systems within their channel and build custom workflows on the platform. People are particularly excited about the Jira integration, which gives them easy access to Jira information, so they can collaborate and resolve issues more quickly. The IT team is also using Mattermost’s web hooks to connect to other systems, such as BigPanda, so that IT alerts and incidents can be better managed in a dedicated Mattermost channel. Over time, Bungie plans to explore even more ways to get the most out of their investment in Mattermost.

“Our partnership with Mattermost has been great. The Mattermost team is open and responsive to feedback on the platform.”

—Dave Petty, Senior IT Engineer

About Bungie

Based in Bellevue, WA, Bungie is an independent, employee-owned game development studio dedicated to creating hopeful worlds that inspire passionate player communities and lifelong friendships. For more than two-and-a-half decades, that purpose has led to the creation of some of the industry’s most celebrated gaming franchises, including Marathon, Myth, Halo, and Destiny.

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