Last year, Mattermost launched its government-focused offering, opening up new opportunities for the company to serve customers like the Department of Defense. ExecutiveBiz spoke with Barry Duplantis, vice president of government solutions for Mattermost, to learn more about Mattermost’s growth and progress over the last year as well as what’s next for the company in the GovCon space.
Duplantis has been with Mattermost for over two years, and he was elevated to his current role in May 2022.
Read below for Barry Duplantis’ full Executive Spotlight interview.
Barry, this time last year, Mattermost unveiled its Government Solutions offering to deliver a unified suite of open-source collaboration tools. How has Mattermost’s work in the public sector evolved since the release of the customized offering?
Our evolution in the past year has been incredible. A year ago, we were mainly known for chat ops. Since then, we’ve added so much value to our suite, making Mattermost a critical command and control (C2) node for mission-focused teams at all impact levels (ILs). Our wide range of public sector customers has grown to include developers at Platform One, aircrews at Air Mobility Command and national police forces. We’re pleased to deliver solutions that span from DevOps incident management to command and control for real-world missions.
Last year, we delivered Mattermost Playbooks, which allows developers to digitize and centralize the entire cyber incident response process, automating real-time tasks to address a vulnerability rapidly. For the non-developer, Mattermost Playbooks also offer the ability to digitize repeatable checklists used in major training exercises. In both scenarios, Playbooks promote asynchronous collaboration and continuous process improvement.
We also took communication at the edge to the next level by adding audio and screen share functions. Developed in conjunction with the U.S. Air Force and Air Mobility Command (AMC), these functions gave warfighters a low bandwidth option to communicate more effectively from their mobile devices without having to use Zoom.gov or Microsoft Teams.
Our Boards offering brings Kanban-style project and task management to developers within software factories like Platform One and Kessel Run. Having a customizable, easy-to-procure, unified platform for agile software development leads to greater visibility and efficiency. In government, speed is the name of the game — and we enable speed.
Finally, our most recent launch delivered enhanced support for integrations with the industry leading digital workflow and DevOps platforms, ServiceNow and GitLab. With these offerings, technical teams gain the ability to reduce errors and risk in mission-critical reliability workflows while meeting strict security requirements.
Overall, Playbooks, Audio and Screenshare, Boards and the direct integrations with ServiceNow and GitLab are game-changing features that demonstrate our commitment to evolving alongside how people will collaborate in the future.
What sort of partnerships has Mattermost been pursuing to enhance its offerings?
We couldn’t do what we do without our partners. We have partnerships with a long list of systems integrators, who see the value of our platform for themselves and the government agencies they support. We also continue to work with software houses like SpaceCAMP and SkiCAMP. In fact, we’ve been seeing more dev-centric deployments of Mattermost and have gained tremendous traction with the DevSecOps community.
In the past year, we were also awarded three SBIR Phase II grants over the course of just six months. One grant, awarded through the Air Force Research Lab’s AFWERX program, is to digitize the Tanker Airlift Control Center for AMC. These grants really demonstrate the value of Mattermost to the warfighter. They see us as critical to their missions and are partnering with us to continue bringing more robust solutions to the edge.
How does Mattermost’s open source, secure collaboration offering support the Department of Defense in particular?
Rapid development is the future. There’s no doubt about it. And rapid development demands open architecture. We support the DOD by offering flexibility and personalization while maintaining military-grade security. We’ve helped the DOD centralize communication on secure channels, enabling the Navy, Space Force and Air Force to talk to one another seamlessly. The DOD also uses us for everything from onboarding to streamlining pre-flight preparations.
Mattermost is unique because it can be deployed on-premises, in air-gapped environments at all impact levels or in a secure cloud offering. An open-source approach also enhances security — something that’s of particular importance to government agencies. Our technology is hardened before it’s released, as there have been thousands of eyes on it.
Most agencies are familiar with open source. Every large integrator has an open-source practice. But there’s still a limited number of targeted open-source solutions — particularly ones that provide an open architecture for mission-critical collaboration. We are happy to fill that gap.
Automation is a hot topic across the public and private sectors. How can Mattermost users leverage automation? Could you share a use case?
Absolutely. Automation is so important, especially for incident response. The Mattermost platform offers purpose-built digital playbooks, or contingency plans, for a wide range of emergencies: active shooters, wildfires, hurricanes and more. Creating templates for repeatable processes frees up first responders to focus on the incident at hand as opposed to having to worry about workflow. With each digital playbook, the next step of the workflow is automatically triggered by specific keywords, such as ‘landfall’ for a hurricane or ‘officer down’ for a SWAT mission. Alerts are subsequently sent to relevant team members’ mobile devices, so they know the next phase of the operation. Automation takes command and control to the next level.
What are your strategic goals for the coming year? What do you hope to accomplish and are there any new markets that you’re keeping an eye on in the federal sector?
Mattermost already provides a robust product suite to technical government teams. Now, our aim is to make sure everything we are doing is mobile enabled without sacrificing security. We’ve already helped disparate agencies within the U.S. government talk to one another seamlessly and securely. Mattermost is well positioned to support DOD’s expeditionary capabilities in various theaters to enhance the mission partner environment as coalition warfare is critical for combatant commands to be successful.