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ChatOps encompasses a large range of functions and use cases. Whether you’re using manual chat applications, automated chatbots, or both to run scripts, escalate issues, or collaborate around problems, ChatOps is a large part of managing group operations. So, we ran a survey on Twitter to learn more about how ChatOps is benefitting people’s teams and processes:
The responses to the poll were particularly interesting because they showed a very strong focus on using ChatOps for incident response. However, nobody responded to the poll stating that ticket tracking or human collaboration would benefit the most from ChatOps. And only 25% of respondent voted for the ability to run commands or automation through native chat.
But, when we take a step back to think about the question and the multiple choice options that were available, it starts to make sense. ChatOps tools and automated chatbots should be able to help with ticket tracking, running commands in-line with chat, and human collaboration–all of which help you manage and respond to incidents. So, when given a choice as to the biggest benefit of ChatOps, it makes sense that the people have chosen incident response.
Ever since the creation of email and digital chat applications, people have been using these tools to communicate more frequently and more in depth. You can share files, track and search chat history to improve collaboration, and create actionable to-do lists. Now, with the rise of chatbots and automation, you can also leverage ChatOps to automate processes, run scripts in-line with chat, and centralize workflows.
If you’ve ever used Slack or any other type of chat application, you know the chaos that breaks out if they go down. Especially for distributed teams, ChatOps tools often act as the primary method of communication between teammates. So, services need to be highly available in order to drive efficiency in your own workflows and communication.
Your primary chat applications and bots should not only be highly available, but you should implement failover and backup options in case of an outage or service interruption.
Every team works differently. Chatbots and manual chat applications should integrate with each other and work bi-directionally as often as possible. Flexible ChatOps setups allow you to optimize both automated and manual operations. ChatOps applications should also integrate easily with other communication outlets such as SMS, email, and phone in order to reduce context switching.
ChatOps functionality should include a number of the following: file sharing, process automation, integration with other methods of communication, tagging capabilities, and command capabilities via bots or scripts. A hybrid of automation and manual operations management will be core to a well-adjusted ChatOps incident management setup. Only automate that which needs to be automated to make human workflows more efficient.
As we mentioned above, everyone will use ChatOps tools differently. Highly customizable applications and chatbots will allow you to structure your communication and actions around the way your team works–not the other way around. ChatOps applications should allow tagging, the capability to run scripts and chatbots in-line with chat, and customizable notification policies.
Always keep in mind that any ChatOps automation should improve workflows for your people, processes, and/or technology. Never implement chatbots or automation for the sake of adding automation. Every function in ChatOps, whether manual or automated, needs to tie back to improving human collaboration during outages and speeding up incident response and remediation.
ChatOps makes on-call suck less. Download our free guide, ChatOps - Managing Operations in Group Chat, to learn more about managing group operations, improving incident response, and building a collaborative culture with ChatOps.