Rise of the Chatbots
I recently attended two very engaging industry conferences. The first was Amazon Web Services re:Invent out in sunny Las Vegas. Two weeks later I flew back out to San Francisco for the DevOps Enterprise Summit. As cool as all the new technologies on display were at AWS re:Invent, DOES was my favorite. Not for the technology, but for the success stories and insight.
Anecdotes about how company ‘X’ was transforming into a DevOps shop was to be expected at a conference centered around DevOps. What was unexpected, however, was the way in which those teams were enacting change. A recurring theme in nearly every presentation was the adoption of ChatOps along with DevOps.
What is ChatOps? Let’s think of ChatOps as Conversation-Driven Delivery. The best way to collaborate is for teams to be face-to-face and be co-located. In an enterprise, that’s not always practical or possible. Keeping teams communicating with chat is the next-best thing to being there. A ChatBot is a script/program that is part of the chat and has the ability to interact with participants and execute actions on their behalf. Chat is already one of the richest forms of communication – and adding programmable ChatBots to the mix results in HIGH OCTANE DevOps.
Most of the successful DevOps teams at DOES were also doing ChatOps. The common tools included Slack as the chat software, and a bot like GitHub’s Hubot as the bot.
Imagine being in a chat session and having the ability to deploy code, create environments, or order a pizza all from sending messages to a bot. There are a number of modules already written that allow users to interact with things like Jenkins, JIRA, GitHub, Twitter, AWS, etc.
I’m genuinely excited about the possibilities – bots driving bots, self-service without a UI, workflows without a workflow engine.
Brooke Gravitt designs solutions that empower organizations to embark on successful DevOps Transformations. Brooke has been an advocate of automation and increasing quality through simplicity for over 18 years and has led Agile and DevOps and initiatives at companies including Fiserv, Macy’s, and McKesson.