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How Future has democratised incidents with

With, Future have found a way to make their incident management process accessible across the organization.

Key Benefits

  • Democratising incident response
  • Standardising the incident process
  • Providing visibility to stakeholders

Future is a global platform for specialist media, home to some of the world's most popular brands including GoCompare, Decanter, PC Gamer and Marie Claire. They run over 60 media websites operating on the same core software, along with Future's in-house advertising system and affiliates platforms.

If something goes wrong with these systems, multiple websites are impacted - this means incidents often involve a large number of stakeholders from different areas of the organization.

The challenge

Future’s previous approach to incident management was fairly inconsistent. There was no standardised way of managing incidents end to end.

The existing tools we had for incident management were a bit fuzzy. Sometimes we'd be doing things in PagerDuty, sometimes we'd not. Sometimes we'd raise docs in Confluence and sometimes we'd not.

Future has grown rapidly through acquisition which has meant bringing together various tech teams and stakeholders who work in different ways and use different tooling. To add to the complication, the team is globally distributed.

In combination, this led to three main pain points that they wanted to resolve:

  • Getting the right people involved in incidents
  • Clarity of incident ownership
  • Maintaining clear, consistent processes.

We were trying to align all those different teams and people, working on different projects but unified in keeping the core business up and running ... one of the major things that I was seeing, was the difficulty in bringing the right people into a conversation without it being overly noisy for those that don't need to be in there.

What were they looking for in an incident management tool?
  • An approach to incident management that anyone could follow
  • A solution that was lightweight and easy to adopt across the whole organization
  • A way to improve communications with stakeholders without overloading the response team

The solution

Democratising incident response

Given the complexity of Future’s team structure, it was important to find a lightweight solution that was easy to implement across the organization. allowed Future to resolve incidents in the one place where the whole organization already worked - in Slack. This has made it possible to get wide scale adoption.

Keeping it light allows us to just let anyone use it without being too railroaded into a particular way of working ... It was just simple, straightforward. And with that simplicity, gives us that flexibility.

Standardising the incident process

Through prompts, nudges, and workflows, provides incident best practice and routine. That means the team can focus on fixing the issues, rather than thinking about process.

It's an incident partner, not an incident tool ... There's lots of little subtle things that the tool's really helped us do ... it's like having a Butler sneaking out and filling a glass for you before you realise you need it.

Providing visibility to stakeholders

The web app has helped Future to provide visibility to the many stakeholders who can be impacted by an outage. This means everyone who needs to be aware of an incident has access to the information they need about it’s current status, whilst allowing folks who need to be actively involved in the response to focus on their work undisturbed.

It helps us to communicate with [our internal customers] - we can show we are already aware of something ... We're fixing it.

The dashboard also helps with overall incident reporting, allowing the team to quickly extract information they need to share with the senior team.

At the end of a month, when I need to give reports to the executive team about the number of incidents, I'll just go to the dashboard.

About the interviewee

Toby Jackson is the Global SRE Lead at Future PLC, providing direction to the SRE’s at Future who work to provide consistent, flexible and elegant solutions to the challenges brought through acquisition, growth and growing complexity.

Customer since
March 2021
Company size

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