TAG | IBM
Over the years working in the field of IT I’ve seen many products come and go. Some weren’t all that good in the first place, while others were very promising but ultimately failed to deliver on expectations. When I was working in the large enterprise world, we (those of us who cared) compared notes on what small companies were ripe for takeover and which of the much bigger software companies would buy and ultimately ruin their product. Basically we were betting that some software giant (usually companies with 2 or 3 letter acronyms) would buy a useful product and kill it over time.
How Do You Kill Software?
What do I mean by “kill it”? It’s not like software is a living, aware entity (yet). Here is what it means to me to “kill” a software product:
- Let it stagnate so that it falls behind the times and becomes outdated
- “Integrate” it with your other products in a loose (i.e. crappy) way such that it is a pain to configure and provides little value anyway
- Ignore the needs (new features and functionality) of the majority of your customers and focus solely on the needs of a few large customers who spend the most money and scream the loudest
- Provide poor customer service after the sale (slow response to issues, unresolved support calls, etc…)
Time to take a trip down memory lane…
- Remember Cyanea? They were founded in 2001, bought by IBM and rename ITCam in 2004. Currently a high ranking member of my “Promising Tools that Went Nowhere” list. Thanks IBM!
- And who can forget Mercury and HPs brutalization of Performant Diagnostics? So very young. So very sad.
- Then there was the absolutely horrific beat down of Precise i3. Precise was bought by Veritas, who was then bought by Symantec. Then when Symantec had brought i3 to the brink of death they sold it to a VC company which brought back the Precise name but did little to revive i3. Another promising tool ruined.
There have been other similar acquisitions in the past few years and only time will tell if the trend of large companies snuffing out promising tools will continue. You can see a list here.
Why does it always seem to happen? Why can’t a large software vendor keep a product they purchased relevant? I really believe that it is not so much a case of “can’t” as “won’t”. “Can’t” implies that the company is incapable from a technical perspective. “Won’t” has a much worse connotation. “Won’t” is a calculated decision that the company can realize more net profit by selling a product based upon what it once was than by investing and keeping that product current and relevant (more risk). “Won’t” is about putting Wall Street expectations for your next quarter ahead of the needs of your paying customers. “Won’t” seems like a good idea in the short term but ultimately leads to the death of a product in the long term.
I really hope your favorite software products are not in the process of being killed by a giant software company. It’s really a shame to watch it happen over and over again.
When you’re deciding which software products to purchase it is important to understand what type of company you are dealing with. Look at their history, look at their customer satisfaction and Net Promoter scores, ask about their corporate goals and direction. If you choose the wrong company to do business with your new favorite software product might be headed toward an early demise.Link to this post:
It’s been almost two years since I joined AppDynamics and it’s been one of the best career moves I’ve ever made. I used to work at a competitor, and quickly realized I was working for the wrong company. Sometimes you just have to trust your gut feeling when it comes to technology–you’ve either got a product that’s special or you don’t, and I know what it’s like to experience both feelings.
At AppDynamics the technology is definitely special, but I also joined a group of like-minded people who shared the same passion as I did for application monitoring. The no-compromise approach to figuring out new ways of doing things that couldn’t be done previously, along with a laser-focus on solving real world problems for customers, is pretty inspiring. Things are never perfect at any company but the passion to make our customers successful, and the will to win business professionally, is unique at AppDynamics. We really believe that enterprise software doesn’t have to suck, it should never be shelfware, and it should be affordable by everyone–which is one of the reasons why we created a free product AppDynamics Lite that now has over 100,000 users and our commercial product AppDynamics Pro is reasonably priced.
In just two years we’ve disrupted an application monitoring market that was previously dominated by expensive complex solutions that quite frankly sucked. This disruption was one of the reasons why Gartner recognized AppDynamics as a Leader in their 2012 APM Magic Quadrant, and we’ve only been selling our product for two years! This speaks volumes for what we’ve achieved in such a short period of time. What’s also great is that our customers are very vocal about their success; our case study page is packed with customer success stories, with several customers willing to publish actual ROI results from their AppDynamics deployments. How many real customer ROI stories have you read recently from any vendor? My guess is not many.
One online community that provides an accurate inside look at companies is Glassdoor.com. It basically lets employees rate different aspects of the company they work for, from compensation all the way through to culture and leadership. If you search for all the APM companies on Glassdoor.com that are currently recognized in the Gartner’s APM Magic Quadrant, here is what the top 10 looks like:
*Glassdoor ratings correct as of 1/10/2013
I’m pretty proud to work for a company where employees are very satisfied and give their CEO 100% approval. That says a lot about the success and leadership of the company–happy employees also means a happy place to work and trust me, this is pretty important when you spend most of your life at work!
One company that didn’t score well was Compuware. Only 38% of employees would recommend a friend and only 68% approve of their CEO. Not particularly encouraging when you need your employees to innovate, run through walls, and beat the competition. A hedge fund recently put an offer on the table to take Compuware private–let’s hope those guys can get the employees jazzed.
If you’re looking for the next challenge, cool technology and a great place to work, you should consider joining AppDynamics. We’ve got 21 positions currently open and we need great people to help scale the great company we’re building!
With customers like Netflix, Orbitz, Fox News, Vodafone and Yahoo you’ll experience the ins and outs of monitoring some of the largest applications in the world.
Oh, and you get to work with a superhero like me!
Appman.Link to this post:
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Last week a performance engineer called Ben Bramley published a blog entitled “APM Market Disruptors – AppDynamics and New Relic“. The purpose of his article was to provide an overview of AppDynamics and New Relic, whilst also summarizing the key approaches each vendor/solution has taken to simplify and disrupt the APM marketplace.
Firstly, we’re thrilled to be recognized by a blogger, who in this case, had previous hands on experience with Application Performance Management (APM) products like OpTier, CA Wily, HP and dynaTrace. Secondly, whilst it was obviously good (and slightly nerving at times) to read our features and capabilities compared with another vendor (and the APM market in general), it was actually nice to see our freemium and SaaS based go-to-market strategy being recognized as well. I guess these things were actually the main reason why a blogger could access, compare and contrast two next generation APM solutions in the first place. It’s not like IBM, CA or Compuware would make their APM solution available to the masses for evaluation, let alone welcome an independent opinion.
You can read Ben’s blog article in full here.
Update: HP does in fact offer their solution (HP Diagnostics v9) via trial, but you’ve got to download and install 4GB of their software. In the time it takes to do this you could already be up and running with AppDynamics Lite.Link to this post: