Elevating retail resilience: How Tulip slashed incident response times by 50% to 60% with Mattermost

"I’ve never seen a messaging tool taking on a mission-critical level. A messaging tool is just treated as a messaging tool; if it works, fine, if it doesn’t work, fine. But for us, Mattermost has to work. We are at that stage with this tool."
Amir Jawaid Information Technology Lead at Tulip


  • Deployed self-hosted Mattermost for data sovereignty
  • Reduced incident resolution time 50% to 60% with dedicated War Room channel
  • Improved team alignment with effective communication


  • PagerDuty logo

Tulip is a SaaS provider that builds software that accelerates digital transformation for brick-and-mortar retailers. The company aims to become a one-stop shop for retailers, engineering a cloud-based point-of-sale (POS) system and other turnkey solutions for clienteling, fulfillment, and inventory management. Founded in 2013 and headquartered in Toronto, Tulip is a remote-first organization with 133 employees spread out across the world. 

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Searching for a Slack alternative: Looking for fast adoption and granular data control

In 2018, Tulip began looking for a new messaging solution for internal communication and collaboration. The company had been using Slack but the CEO decided they needed a Slack alternative due to escalating costs and a lack of control over data retention.

“We wanted a record of all of our chats, all of our groups chats, and all of our individual chats,” says Amir Jawaid, information technology lead at Tulip.

As Tulip began researching its options, the team narrowed down its criteria. The right solution would have a similar look and feel as Slack; the company was growing rapidly at the time, and they wanted to deploy something they could be sure employees would adopt right away. Additionally, Tulip wanted a solution that could host on their own servers so they would have more control over administering the platform and their data. On top of this, the company also wanted a system that could integrate with other critical tools they relied on.

“There was the cost factor as well,” Jawaid continues. “We wanted something that was cost-effective and able to meet our needs with regards to integrations.”

Choosing Mattermost: A familiar, feature-rich, self-hosted collaboration solution that connects to mission-critical tools

As the team continued searching for a solution, they considered Skype for Business and Google Chat.

“We didn’t have any major platforms running on Microsoft and we didn’t want to go that route,” Jawaid explains. “We wanted to stay Google-centric or pick something neutral. We looked at Google Chat because our email system was there. But Google Chat was very much in its infancy; we didn’t classify it as a corporate tool.” 

Since the company continued to scale, the team was eager to make a decision. “We wanted to bite the bullet and just have an alternate solution rather than having to live with a solution that we really didn’t want,” Jawaid says.

After researching more options, Tulip came across Mattermost during a Google search. Liking what they saw — a Slack-like interface, self-hosting capabilities, and extensibility via webhooks, plugins, and integrations — the team decided to deploy Mattermost, and they haven’t looked back since.

“Mattermost was a strong candidate on our shortlist,” Jawaid continues. “It checked all the boxes and the decision was almost like a no-brainer.”

Beyond messaging: Supporting mission-critical ChatOps workflows & reducing incident resolution times

Mattermost solved Tulip’s immediate need for a self-hosted collaboration solution that was easy to learn and gave them control over their messaging data. 

“Mattermost is really helping in effective communication flow,” Jawaid explains. “This really enables us to be on the same page at any given moment in time. Thanks to Mattermost, we rarely have communication gaps because everything is disseminated to the right people at the right time.” 

While the company uses Mattermost for group chats, one-on-one-chats, and general announcements, the collaboration hub has become a foundational piece of their operations over the last six-plus years.

“Mattermost is heavily integrated into our environment,” Jawaid says, adding that the collaboration hub is integrated with Confluence, Jira, GitLab, Pingdom, and PagerDuty. “Mattermost has grown to be a mission-critical tool.”

Accelerating incident response with a dedicated War Room 

Tulip has a dedicated War Room channel, which is essential for managing real-time emergencies. As Jawaid points out, the channel is monitored continuously, ensuring that all incidents are met with a swift and coordinated response. 

“We have a War Room channel in which ongoing customer-facing emergencies are dealt with in real-time,” Jawaid explains. “It’s monitored 24/7/365. It doesn’t matter what time of day or what time of year it is. If there’s any ongoing emergency, the relevant team comes in, they collaborate, they hop on meetings. So Mattermost has become mission-critical; it’s very important for our organization right now.” 

Building on this framework, when an incident is reported — whether during working hours or in the middle of the night over a weekend — relevant stakeholders are notified immediately, and the War Room channel becomes active. No time-consuming coordination is needed when all stakeholders are already gathered in a dedicated digital space when incidents arise. 

By automating the initial part of the incident response process, Jawaid estimates the team has reduced incident response times 50% to 60%. As a result, Tulip not only meets but frequently surpasses its service-level agreements (SLAs), enhancing client satisfaction and trust, and maintaining a level of operational excellence and resilience that is required in the face of any crisis.

Troubleshooting employee IT issues

Tulip has an internal IT support channel where employees can report IT-related matters. “It’s a very busy channel,” Jawaid says. “That’s a very good place for us to quickly figure issues out and help people.” 

Since employees are likely to run into the same IT problems over time, workers can also self-service their issues by searching the channel and reading the history.

“The channel has turned into a knowledge base,” he says. “For example, if someone is having a problem connecting to our VPN, we would post the solution there. That’s not only helping them, it’s also helping the other people who have visibility on that channel.”

Tulip uses Zendesk as an internal ticketing tool. With Mattermost facilitating IT support, the team has been able to keep tickets to a minimum.

“One good success metric is that if you don’t have too many tickets in your queue, that’s a good thing,” Jawaid continues. “Mattermost directly or indirectly plays a role in that success.” 

Specific channels for specific conversations

Tulip has organized many important conversations into channels. For example, senior management has its own private channel, there’s a channel dedicated to announcements from the employee success (HR) team, and there’s a channel where employees are encouraged to share articles they’ve read.

“We have a specific channel for managers where employee success sends communication about things like setting performance goals for the upcoming year,” Jawaid continues.

A mission-critical tool Tulip can’t live without

At the other organizations he’s worked at, messaging tools were often an afterthought. With Mattermost powering ChatOps, DevSecOps, and incident response processes, the collaboration hub has evolved well beyond messaging.

“I’ve never seen a messaging tool taking on a mission-critical level,” Jawaid says. “A messaging tool is just treated as a messaging tool; if it works, fine, if it doesn’t work, fine. But for us, Mattermost has to work. We are at that stage with this tool.” 

Jawaid would recommend Mattermost to other organizations — particularly companies familiar with Slack. He does have one caveat: encouraging businesses to decide whether they want the Professional or Enterprise subscription out of the gate.

“If you see your company growing fast, you really need to switch to a better subscription tier at the time of deployment,” he concludes.