If I told you a company named Confident Financial Solutions is on the front line of adopting DevOps methods to better serve their customers you might say, “Come again?” Let’s face it Confident Financial Solutions doesn’t sound like the type of company that would be stretching the envelope of technology. But don’t let the name fool you. Confident Financial Solutions is a web-based SaaS auto repair loan company and part of the Boulder startup scene. Tech is in their DNA as much as finance and cars are. So the fact they are using ChatOps to monitor and alert based on their logs should not be suprising.
What CFS does is offer consumers instant approval on auto repair loans. If your car breaks down and the bill is more than what your budget can handle right now, they allow you to finance the repair. Using a web app interface the entire process is handled online. In that regard they are no different than many other SaaS based apps. So why shouldn’t they use the latest and greatest tools.
Among the tools they use are Slack for ChatOps and Logentries for log and analytics. Using Slack really sped up the communication among the team according to Kyle Lamy, lead software engineer at CFS. So much so that the email alerts and information generated by their cloud based log management system actually slowed the team down.
Lamy says that communicating via email versus Slack was just dragging everything down. Email with its long threads and back and forth was just not operating at the speed that CFS business demands. Also switching back and forth from email to Slack was a major time drag. He lobbied both Slack and Logentries to integrate.
Slack and other ChatOps programs of course recognize that the value they deliver is tied to APIs and integrating with 3rd party tools. Otherwise they are little more than instant messengers. That is the real pay off for ChatOps. Slack is hard at work with API development as well as acquiring new features. They just announced that they have acquired Screenhero, a YCombinator spawned screen sharing app that will be integrated into Slack. At virtually the same time it was announced by Logentries that they were now integrating with Slack as well.
In my conversation with Lamy he said having Logentries alerts and analysis in Slack allowed the team to stay in one tool and more importantly put the responsiveness of his team up to warp speed compared to email.
Kyle says he sees even more ways that ChatOps applications can integrate with other tools to continue to accelerate team performance. He has already given both Slack and Logentries suggestions on things to do to make the integration even better.
Based on Kyle’s recommendation I signed up and have set Slack up here for our DevOps.com team. Being virtual and spread out ChatOps has immediately helped. I set up several different groups so as not to overload the entire team and we are already using it. For ongoing communications it is just so much more efficient than long email threads. It really is a no brainer.
So if you are not using ChatOps at your company what are you waiting for? Go download Slack for free and give it a try. If you don’t see how it helps please tell me why not.