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Addressing the dynamic incident communication challenges of the enterprise with CommsFlow

Alex Greer
Incident Management Process

At enterprise scale, effective flow of incident awareness requires sharing many distinct pieces of information with many unique stakeholders serving different roles in the organization at precise moments in time. The creation of these dynamic communications and their delivery is constantly put to the test by the pressure of knowing that for every minute the incident is allowed to persist, potentially hundreds or thousands of customer businesses are being harmed. 

Blameless’s CommsFlow is designed to be your flexible, precise, and consistent frontline communication partner who eliminates as many information-sharing duties as possible from your responders. Today we’re excited to announce a new feature that greatly amplifies CommsFlow’s flexibility and precision, Triggering on Tags. 

Tags are a powerful way of classifying information because they can express many unique things including incident types, severities, root causes, services impacted, teams impacted, expertise required for response, and more. Tags are also completely customizable, enabling you to adapt them however they are needed to trigger your communication at the right moments to the right audiences. Being able to trigger off of these tags opens a world of possibilities! 

You can trigger off of tags throughout the incident's life cycle, whether at creation or at any time during the incident. If you add more than one tag during creation each one will individually trigger their respective flows and as will any tags added during the incident. Filtering on tags is also supported allowing you to take advantage of existing tags for more granularly defining triggering.

Key Features:

  1. Triggering on your custom set of Blameless tags 
  2. Filtering on additional tags 
  3. Full Email, Slack, and SMS communication support 

Let’s look at the versatility of what this feature enables through the lens of a fictional enterprise called Global Financial Services (GFS). GFS as a leading FinTech Enterprise with a global footprint, multiple subsidiaries and portfolios of different services deals with the challenges of scaling incident communications daily. They see these challenges from the executive to the responder level. Here’s how they plan to take advantage of Triggering on Tags with CommsFlow to solve multiple key communications challenges.

Table showing example tag-based CommsFlow updates
Table showing example tag-based CommsFlow updates

Now that you’ve seen a few examples of the power that triggering off of tags offers, 

follow these stepwise flows to familiarize yourself with the core steps and concepts. These flows extend off of GFS’s use cases, telling the story of how they are leveraging triggering off tags in CommsFlow to effectively communicate with the right executive team in their global enterprise.

Two fundamental areas to be familiar with:

Preparing the Tags and Creating Flows 

Triggering Flows in Slack Incidents

If you prefer instructions, here is how to build a flow that triggers on tags:

1. Click “Add Comms Flow”

2. Under Condition, select “Incident Tag Added”

3. Search for and select from your predefined tags list 

4. Your selected tags will appear below

  • The tags selected here will each individually trigger the flow you’re creating as long as the rest of the remaining filter conditions that you set are met

5. Populate the flow with the appropriate filters

6. When you reach the Tag conditions field, you can select from tags to trigger off as well as filters

  • Meaning that if you only want to trigger a Flow with a “Security Team” label when certain service tags are applied you can do so by setting those tags as the filters

7. Proceed with message creation and recipient selection

8. Preview your flow and hit save. 

  • Here is an example of what GFS might give general SRE response team members to help them know who and where to get additional service information from when the Payment portal-as-a-service is down.

For more information on how to create flows with CommsFlow, please visit our documentation. We’re excited to see how you put tags to use!

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