The BCDevExchange is a professional technology community within the Government of British Columbia that works with many different teams to help them control the deployment of their applications and deliver better digital service.
Justin Hewitt is the Senior Director of DevOps Platform Services for the Office of the Chief Information Officer of the Government of British Columbia.
Finding a secure communications platform for developers and vendors
Justin Hewitt values fast, open communication: he knows that the key to successful DevOps is encouraging culture change by breaking down silos, leanifying bureaucratic processes, and sharing information holistically and openly, all leading to finding and solving issues as soon as they come up.
Most of his work with the BC Government revolves around the BCDevExchange, which includes a substantial network of developers made up of both internal BC Government employees and outside vendors, who often work on solutions in tandem.
The BC Government needed a secure communication platform where all of these developers could communicate and collaborate in one place. Otherwise, communication and information sharing risked being siloed, slowing down problem-solving and DevOps.
Cloud-based tools didn’t meet the BC Government’s legislative requirements at the time of implementation in 2016. They needed a flexible solution with self-managed deployment that gave them control over their own data and ecosystem.
Other tools encouraged the separation of people into teams and channels, which didn’t fit the BCDevExchange’s requirement of working in the open by default. They found that it could encourage office cultures to create siloed workspaces that didn’t easily communicate across organizational sectors.
Re-architecturing the implementation of one of those tools to create a more collaborative and open access work structure would have been expensive and time-consuming.
As an additional consideration, the BCDevExchange and its community also wanted to work with an open-source solution, which fit with the values and digital principles of the Province. They needed a communications solution that fit all of their requirements for security, flexibility, and open access structure, so that they could build the collaborative community they envisioned.
"We couldn’t use a cloud-based solution because of legislative, policy, and security requirements we faced in 2016. We needed to find something else that was very similar, but more secure."
A secure communications platform that prevents silos
Rocket.Chat provides the Government of BC with the perfect secure and open-source platform for open access, collaborative communication.
Rocket.Chat’s ease-of-use made it easy for the BCDevExchange to implement, and easy to scale: they were able to create integration points so that Rocket.Chat could scale naturally based on audience size. It’s API-driven, so integrating it with the other products in their private cloud was seamless.
The self-managed deployment allowed the BCDevExchange to easily set it up on the Government of BC’s private cloud, which gives them full control over where their data sits at rest.
Now, both BC Government developers and external vendors across many different projects and departments can communicate and collaborate together instantly. Important information can reach the whole BCDevExchange at once. When a problem pops up, any member can flag it and work with the entire developer team to solve it.
"When you talk about Rocket.Chat’s ability to scale, the biggest selling point is its ease-of-use. Integrating it with the other products in our private cloud was seamless."
10x faster resolutions and better communication
Today, over 2,000 developers working for the Government of British Columbia use Rocket.Chat to communicate, exchange ideas, and problem-solve: they’ve been able to build the positive, collaborative community that they were hoping to create.
But most importantly, Rocket.Chat has allowed the BCDevExchange to flag DevOps issues much faster than before, and find solutions in a matter of days, instead of weeks or months. Justin estimates that in some cases, having a single, non-siloed, secure communications platform has allowed them to solve issues as much as 10x faster by tapping into the group’s collective resources instantly.
"We have a much shorter time to detection. When an issue comes up we can reach a solution much faster, because all of the external vendors and internal developers who are on those Rocket.Chat channels will already have seen it, and acted on it together."