Open-source Mattermost expands workflow platform with 7.0 release

Since it got started as an open-source effort in 2016, Mattermost has been building out a messaging platform that has a growing number of use cases.

Today, the company announced its Mattermost 7.0 platform that brings new voice call, workflow templates and an application framework to the open-source technology. The new release builds on capabilities the company launched with its 6.0 update in October 2021. Mattermost competes against multiple large entities, including Slack, Atlassian and Asana, for a piece of the growing market for collaboration tools. Mattermost has a particular focus, however, on developer enablement, though the platform can also be used for security and IT operations as well.

“Our mission is really to replace a lot of the custom tooling that engineering and technology leaders have, which often involves a lot of spit and glue,” Mattermost cofounder and CEO Ian Tien, told VentureBeat. “One of the most powerful things about open source is to be able to solve problems once and fix them and we’re thinking about that in the collaboration space around developers.”

Collaborating around an open-source collaboration suite

Mattermost has both commercial and open-source versions of its software and both editions are now at version 7.

Tien explained that Mattermost has taken an open-core approach with its commercial platform. In the open-core model, the open-source software provides the foundation, or the core, while additional enterprise features that are proprietary are built in a commercial version. For Mattermost, the enterprise features are about compliance, scale and advanced configuration.

For small and mid-sized teams, Tien said that the open-source version is more than capable. For teams of 500 or more users, that’s where he expects that organizations will need to consider the commercial release.

For Tien, open source is also about community contributions. The Mattermost open-source project has more than 4,000 individual contributors that collectively have made over 30,000 code contributions.

“We have a lot of interaction with our community,” Tien said. “At the end of the day, as an open-core company, Mattermost as a company sets the direction and the people who want to opt in and accelerate that vision are the people that contribute to us.”

Zoom is ok, but one click to call is better

Prior to the new release, Mattermost relied on integration with third-party call services, including Zoom, to enable voice call functionality.

What’s new with 7.0 is that Mattermost now directly integrates calling functionality, by making use of the open source WebRTC protocol that is supported in all modern web browsers. The goal with directly integrating call functionality is aligned with Tien’s vision for Mattermost overall – to provide a single platform for collaboration.

With the previous versions of Mattermost, organizations still had to set up, configure, permission and license an additional third-party technology. Now it’s just one button to call, Tien said.

New features in Mattermost 7 accelerate workflow

Moving beyond just providing the integrated tools to enable collaboration, Mattermost is now also adding workflow templates to help organizations to build repeatable processes.

The workflow concept makes use of playbooks that include a list of actions and operations to take for a given type of operation. For example, an organization can build out a workflow template for incident response for a service failure or cybersecurity incident. 

“It’s essentially a checklist of things that people can go through,” Tien said.

The checklist can be connected to operations in Mattermost, such as bringing certain users into a call, and helping to generate reports. Tien said that Mattermost also provides integration with common tools used by developers and, over time, the workflow templates’ capability will expand to enable more automation with third-party tools.

“There are 30 million developers in the world, and all of them have to get faster and more efficient in how they collaborate and work together,” Tien said. “Ultimately, we want to replace a lot of the point solutions that everyone’s using really get to that vision of an integrated platform for developers to build and operate software systems and really empower them to do the best work of their careers.”

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