Software that “Just Works”

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This is my first blog.  I’ve been a sales engineer for three application performance management (APM) products over the last 7 years (CA Wily Introscope, SpringSource/Hyperic, and now AppDynamics). I hadn’t really considered myself much of a “blogger” because I have alway thought that actions speak louder than words.  So I guess you are wondering why I would start now.  I guess you could say I was inspired by a recent experience at a customer site. It was quite a bit different than what I’ve been used to in my earlier APM career.

We recently had an experience with a customer who called and inquired about AppDynamics for monitoring several of their mission critical applications. As always our sales team kicked into high gear and had a conversation with the customer.  In less than 15 minutes we  agreed to start a Proof of Concept for AppDynamics running on a critical application.  Later that day, we setup an online conference with the customer and commenced an installation that took about 15 minutes.

The customer initialized a load test and:

– Business Transactions were discovered
– Dependencies between backend web services and databases were  discovered.
– Dynamic Baselines started to emerge from the new performance data
– Policies start monitoring the application

All of these functions were accomplished automatically with no human intervention. The customer asked us to come down to their office for an overview to their web operations team. We arrived at 0900 on a Friday and spent two hours answering tons of questions for eight members of their technical team.  Everyone had different questions relating to their specific role.  Everyone was satisfied with our answers and we moved forward.  Later that evening the customer informed us that we had the “technical win” and that they would move forward with the purchase.  There is a great amount of job satisfaction for me when I know I can let my software do the talking for me.  The notion that AppDynamics “just works” is nice a message to convey to a potential customer, but when you can actually prove in such a short period of time, well, that’s priceless.

I have only been at AppDynamics for a short while but the majority of the installations I have worked have occurred in a similar manner. As technologist and a sales engineer that gives me  a great deal of satisfaction and confidence. Of course it’s great because we have another potential customer, but actually it’s better because we have help another frustrated operations team get visibility into a key component of their over business strategy.   Technology needs to work for customers and not become shelf-ware.  Technology needs to work for our customers not the other way around.  Solutions need to “just work” providing business value little resource consumption from both a personnel and compute resource perspective.  I hate to close my blog with a cliche but it’s hard to avoid it.  I guess what I am really trying to say is “Put up or Shut Up”.  Software really needs to “Just Work”.