Uber needed an enterprise messaging solution that could scale to meet its needs: massive collaboration from tens of thousands of concurrent users across web, PC and phones, plus extensive workflow integration and automation, all with zero downtime. Slack couldn’t scale. HipChat wasn’t secure. Ultimately, Uber created its own solution, “uChat”, using Mattermost as the open source platform to achieve its objectives.
Uber, the global ridesharing company, has come a long way since it launched in San Francisco in 2010. Today, the company dominates the industry. It now has operations in more than 71 countries and 620 cities; Uber drivers have collectively given passengers more than 5 billion rides.
In 2015, Uber began to look for a modern messaging platform that would support the company’s explosive growth . The company tried Slack in 2016 , but when Slack failed to scale, they switched to Atlassian HipChat temporarily while they scoured the market for a long-term solution (in 2017, Atlassian’s HipChat.com service would suffered a major security breach where attackers obtained the private communications of an unknown number of their customers and would be discontinued shortly after) .
After an extended analysis, Uber realized that nothing on the market could meet its requirements.
Above: In 2016, The Guardian reported that Uber was leaving Slack after the product was unable to scale: “Recently, the ride-hailing service Uber dropped Slack because the service could not handle the thousands of Uber employees trying to communicate simultaneously, according to people who work at both companies.”
The ridesharing company decided to create its own enterprise messaging solution. It needed to be under IT control, it needed to scale to tens of thousands of simultaneous users, and it needed to adapt to the fast-changing needs of Uber’s global operations over the long term.
Uber ultimately chose to build its solution on Mattermost, the world’s largest open source project for workplace messaging. Collaborating with Mattermost, Inc., the company behind the open source project, they developed a high-scale enterprise solution. In a matter of months, Uber engineers, supported by Mattermost, designed and implemented an evolution of the Mattermost platform for Uber’s needs.
It was called uChat.
Uber’s uChat solution could deliver what no other messaging solution on the market was able to achieve:
- Modern, scalable group messaging with mentions, hashtags, personalized notifications, and a host of app integrations that scales to tens of thousands of concurrent users.
- Integration with existing workflows with granular permissions and extensive configurability to adapt to the way Uber staff wants to work.
- Complete control over every line of source code and every iota of information in the database, enabling deep customization and comprehensive white-labeling.
- 24/7 reliability from a highly available, single-tenant private cloud solution insulated from outages caused by other companies in multi-tenant SaaS services.
- Flexibility with the ability for staff to message on any connected device, regardless of underlying operating systems.
To deploy uChat smoothly, Uber pre-provisioned thousands of users on the platform and migrated 20,000 chat rooms to make the move as seamless as possible.
In 2017. Uber engineering shared their road to “uChat”, a high scale, high performance enterprise messaging solution built on open source technology to adapt to the company’s changing needs.
Overall, the uChat rollout was an impressive success. Key benefits included:
- Messaging that works at scale. Uber outgrew every other modern messaging solution. Mattermost was the only system that could deliver productivity at scale, with over a million messages sent a day, accessible from any device.
- Rapid adoption without training. Since uChat offered a familiar user experience—combining the best of Slack and HipChat, which Uber’s staff had already used—the enterprise embraced the tool in a matter of months.
- Reliability and independence. uChat users remained unaffected by availability issues Slack experienced in the first nine months of 2017, which averaged three outages and four incidents per month.
- Cost savings. Uber lowered software licensing costs by reducing the number of messaging solutions that the company was funding. It also reclaimed lost productivity that resulted from trying to run an enterprise off of multiple team-based messengers.
According to an Uber engineering team blog post, the company plans to implement even more features into its already popular uChat platform.
The unique partnership between Uber and Mattermost has been hugely beneficial on all sides. Uber’s needs are met and uChat’s contributions to the Mattermost open source project have transformed the software from a team-based messenger into an extensible, secure, highly scalable enterprise solution for the world’s largest and most groundbreaking companies.
Are you looking to increase agility, efficiency, and innovation across your enterprise? Get in touch with the Mattermost customer team to learn how.
Mattermost provides enterprise-grade collaboration solutions for the world’s leading organizations on a vibrant open source platform. Our private, hybrid and public cloud solutions offer secure, configurable, highly scalable messaging across web, mobile and PC with archiving, search, and deep integration across in-house systems.
Uber is the world’s leading ridesharing company, connecting drivers and passengers in over 620 cities around the world. The company offers different levels of service and is innovating in several transportation arenas, including driverless cars. Founded in 2009, Uber is headquartered in San Francisco and has 12,000 employees working out of its global offices.
-  The road to uChat: Building Uber’s internal chat solution, Marissa Alvarado-Lima, Stanley Chan, Chris Duarte, & Ed Wolf, July 25, 2017, Uber Engineering Blog
-  Uber ditched Slack for its employees and went to its chief rival instead, Matt Weinberger, May 2, 2016, Business Insider
-  HipChat got hacked: Here’s why it was a big deal, Matthew Hughes, August 24, 2017, TNW