Audi Business Innovation GmbH (ABI) is a subsidiary of AUDI AG dedicated to digital product development and innovation. ABI focuses on product and IT expertise with user-centric solutions for digital transformation.
Stefan Teubner is an IT project leader for ABI.
Finding a new secure communications platform
As IT project leader for Audi Business Innovation, Stefan is in charge of developing and promoting tools that facilitate collaboration across teams and projects for the Volkswagen Group. One of the key tools for collaboration is an effective and secure communication platform that allows users to communicate with both internal and external stakeholders.
Fast communication is also a key component of ChatOps: Stefan and his team need to be able to quickly flag any software issues that come up, so they can provide the best possible experience for their users.
For a long time, ABI used HipChat, both for their own communication and as a solution they offered to users across the VW Group.
But HipChat was discontinued in early 2019. Slack, the suggested alternative, didn’t fit ABI’s requirements: For security and data protection concerns, ABI could not use a SaaS product. They needed a self-hosted solution to keep the data they process secure and internal. Plus, as a security-centric organization, ABI needed the highest possible security features.
ABI also wanted to work with an open-source solution, which aligned with their values and provided the most convenient self-hosting solution.
With this list of requirements in hand, Stefan began his search for a secure communication platform.
“Slack wasn’t a real alternative for us at that time, because it was SaaS. For data privacy concerns, we needed something that we could host ourselves.”
A mature, secure communications platform with push notifications
When Stefan compared the available communications platforms, he had trouble finding a solution that fit all of their requirements: The open-source solutions weren’t mature enough and lacked the features they needed, and the SaaS options didn’t offer enough security.
With its advanced security and self-hosting options and open-source code, Rocket.Chat was the only solution that fit the bill.
At first, Stefan’s team began using Rocket.Chat as an internal communications tool for ABI. Rocket.Chat’s push notifications were valuable for ChatOps, and allowed ABI to continuously monitor downtimes and latency in their tools in order to solve problems faster.
Stefan and his team quickly realized that Rocket.Chat could also be a valuable communication solution for other teams and companies within the VW Group. Rocket.Chat allows different teams to communicate with external partners much more quickly, easily, and securely than other options.
Before Rocket.Chat, teams needed to request a user and set up a virtual desktop environment in order to collaborate with an external partner, which could take weeks. Now, teams can set up external partners as users in Rocket.Chat and start collaborating immediately.
To accommodate the large number of users on different teams, ABI decided to set up Rocket.Chat in cluster mode, with several servers running the software when usage peaks during the day. In the evening, when usage goes down, they can scale down easily, saving on infrastructure and cloud storage costs.
Rocket.Chat helped them with every step of the setup. Their ongoing support made ABI feel valued as a customer, Stefan says.
1/3 cloud costs saved, faster setups, and double the users
Thanks to Rocket.Chat’s cluster setup, Stefan estimates that ABI saves 1/3 on cloud costs—they can scale Rocket.Chat’s server usage up or down very easily, based on the number of active users.
It’s been valuable for ChatOps, too: The speed and open communication allows them to be alerted to any issues with their tools instantly, which in turn improves the quality of the service they offer.
Rocket.Chat saves time for everyone who uses it, including teams outside ABI. Now, when teams in the VW Group want to set up external collaborators in Rocket.Chat, it takes them around 30 minutes, compared to the 2+ weeks it took to set them up and begin collaborating before. That’s probably part of why outside of ABI, Stefan has seen the number of Rocket.Chat users across VW Group double in a short amount of time.
Across the board, Stefan says Rocket.Chat has made communication easier, faster, and more secure.
“Rocket.Chat really speeds up the process of collaborating with our external partners, as well as internally. It allows us to share information really fast, very effectively, and in different ways.”