Logic at the Event Layer – Techstrong TV

Alan and Michael discuss the latest release. The new solutions inject control and logic at the event layer instantly to drive real-time behaviors and workflows. Uniquely integrating this new event management into operations automation reduces manual processes and toil, automates work, and drives best practices across distributed teams. The video and a transcript of the conversation are below.


Alan Shimel:            Hey everyone. Welcome to another episode here on Techstrong TV.  I’ve got, well, he’s a first time guest on Tech Strong TV, but his company certainly has been here many times. I want to introduce you to Michael Cucchi. Michael is VP product, in charge of product marketing partner, more bunch of other stuff over at our friends at PagerDuty. Hey Michael, how are you?


Michael Cucchi:            Alan. Thanks for having I’m doing great and excited to be here. Thanks.


Shimel:            It’s a pleasure to have you on. Michael, I covered a whole bunch of sins up in your title, but why don’t you clear it up for the audience? What do you?


Cucchi:            I basically just focus on taking the product out to the market. You know, both through our field and through our partners and our ecosystem. And I make sure that we’re focused on addressing the most, you know, pressing pains for our customer base and our prospects, positioning the products, making sure they’re easy to understand.


Shimel:            Excellent. And look, Michael PagerDuty needs no introduction to our audience. We we’ve been following PagerDuty, I think since I started devops.com, but on top of that, well, up until a few months ago, we always had kind of regular interviews with the PagerDuty exec team. But we were talking a little bit off camera and, you know, recently you guys did a kind of a virtual event webinar with some recent news and announcements. For those in our audience who maybe didn’t catch that why don’t you, can we give a recap?


Cucchi:            Yeah, sure. So like you said, I think for over a decade we’ve been serving the DevOps community really focused on urgent work and critical moments and time and helping to connect developers with their applications. For the past five years, we’ve been adding machine learning to the platform and we’ve started adding flexibility so that we can address more and more user challenges. So this launch really focused on three places. We acquired a company called Rundeck, which does automation to actually go out and try and solve problems for humans. And we wanted to insert automation at multiple points on our operations cloud. So today what we announced last week actually was the ability as a message as an event is coming into the platform in real time, we’re able to use machine learning and scope out what it’s connected to and what dependencies exist. And then if something’s going wrong in real time, we can actually fire off automation to try and solve the problem. We also took Rundec’sk technology and we’ve fully integrated it into PagerDuty’s operations cloud. So now when, if a human is needed, so if we’ll try to solve it first, but if a human’s needed, we want to arm them with automation to make problem, you know, problem solving much, much faster.


Shimel:            Sure. And of course Rundeck is our friends, Alex and Damon Edwards. And Alex Jonor, I believe


Cucchi:            Yep.


Shimel:            You know, they’re company. And again, a company that our DevOps a is familiar with and folks they’re familiar with they’ve appeared on many, many webinars and events with. You know, Michael, this pattern of first sort of seeing there’s a problem alerting there’s a problem. And now moving towards automating, using machine learning or AI or whatever you want to call it, I’m not into that religious war. But using, you know, machine into intelligence to automate the fixing of the problem is, I mean, that’s so to the heart of what DevOps is about, right. And it extends beyond developing software. It’s really about operations. It’s a lot about operations. It’s a lot about security. You know, I was out in Vegas last week as a callus security conference security company. They used to do just vulnerability scanning if you’re familiar with them.


Cucchi:            Yep.


Shimel:            They’re all about automating now fixing patching, right. Because it’s not enough just to say, Hey, you got a vulnerability there.


Cucchi:            Yep.


Shimel:            80% of these vulnerabilities are garden variety stuff that patch should be done. Right?


Cucchi:            Yeah. I think a couple things to say about that. I think you know, today our resources are strapped, right? We actually released something called the state of digital operations, but when the pandemic hit, you know, we didn’t get any new teams. We didn’t get more developers. We didn’t get more technical people to solve our problems. Yet, the usage of digital services just shot up. And so we actually found that the skilled people, so your best developers, your highest cost, your highest skilled are actually the ones getting hit the most. So they’re the most burnt out. We calculated about 12 extra weeks, every year for your very best people to be troubleshooting because of the increase load on this stuff. And so really it’s about trying to help offload those people. But we also find now developers will actually wrap automation around their solutions so that they get interrupted less, right? If they can enable more people at the organization to solve more problems, then the skilled people can keep coding and keep innovating.


And then to your point, a lot of the new capabilities on our release are about flexibility because you’re right. We actually see this now it’s not just about applications anymore. It’s about critical work that has to be done. You know, by the time you can send an email or write a ticket, you know, to get work done, it’s generally too late for this urgent type of work. So another example we had a major customer with a pipe burst and because they were leveraging PagerDuty, we were able to get technicians into that data center in this case in under 30 seconds, saving tens of millions of dollars of equipment.


So, you know, now everything is a digital service. Like I think our businesses are digital, our interactions with our customers, all digital. So the world has really pivoted and what we’re focused on doing is, is getting the time sensitive work done, the really critical work done. So that could be a legal contract. In some cases that could be a medical device or, you know, transporting some kind of sensitive temperature, sensitive you know, organ transplants, et cetera. So we really are getting pulled into anything that’s urgent and connected, which is just about everything today.


Shimel:            Yeah. So, and that’s another huge theme that I think we’re seeing. Spoke also last week to company big in IOT security IOT stuff. When we talk about digital transformation now, it’s not just, oh my server’s down. Or, you know, this application is not feeding into the database or not that those are trivial. They’re not trivial things, right. Server down is a lot of money to many companies. But when you look at it versus, Hey, is this organ transplant going to be viable? Because I got a guy waiting for a heart or a kidney or a liver or something over year. It takes it to a whole new level, right. To kind of mission. It means, you know, mission critical is really life or death.


Cucchi:            Yes. I agree. Also I think the world is centered on making sure customers or patients in that case, the whole entire company, the whole organization centers around delivering that service to that user. And I think that’s also changed in the last, you know, few years, basically the entire company has become customer obsessed or, you know, totally focused on customer engagement and customer satisfaction. We actually have moved our technology into customer service applications. So you can now run PagerDuty inside of Zendesk and inside of Salesforce service cloud because more and more even customer service people. So, you know, your DevOps audience, you pointed this out twice on the call has knocked down the wall to IT obviously, but has now knocked down the wall into security. But what we’re actually seeing is the interaction between out, into customer service, actually touching the customer and we’re seeing customer service want to be able to actually automate. So imagine that, giving your customer service team the ability to actually take action, like a root user, like a highly secure, highly authenticated user, but you’re giving that all the way out to the customer service rep and they can use that with your customer in real time. I mean, I think, that’s a good demonstration of how far we’ve come, you know, over the last five years.


Shimel:            Absolutely, sir. Yeah. I remember interviewing Alex about PagerDuty long, long time ago about, you know, where’d you come up with the name PagerDuty, right. Obviously, you know, where’d they come up with it. And you know, we’ve come a long way since the beeper, right. And a long way since pagers and stuff like that. But with every release is just, as you say, Michael, we we’re extending the alerting, fixing, further and further away from it. It’s software core, if you will, right. Where we were just looking after software kind of stuff. It keeps going further and further into the different layers of your business, whatever business is, whether it be medical or financial or manufacturing or whatever it is. Right. It’s really about in my mind, just expanding from that core.


Cucchi:            Even hospitality. One of my favorite examples is cruise line that uses us to make sure that VIP customers get their drink in under the three minutes. Right. Because if I order my martini at the end of the day, I want to make sure it served me quickly. So yeah. Any really any urgent, just-


Shimel:            I wonder if I can install that at home.


Cucchi:            Yeah. Think it’s a good idea.


Shimel:            Yeah, my wife [crosstalk]


Cucchi:            You have a lot of people using it, yeah, for ___ like that.


Shimel:            It’s a process. Anyway, Michael, it’s a great update, but give us a little more, what else is happening in PagerDuty if you don’t mind?


Cucchi:            Yeah. So first let me just give you very brief three big parts of this announcement. So the first is using that machine learning, we’ve announced something called this service grad. It’s a dynamic visualization of your business services. And you can see instantaneously when something’s failing. So we’re actually correlating across a whole bunch of different signals, you know, monitoring and observability is good, but you want to be able to take multiple signals to get real fidelity and figure out when something’s really broken. And so we’re now able to visualize that. It’s an awesome tool when you have very, very highly complex services or to your point, we can actually monitor a business service and see the human beings and the technical dependencies behind that. So that’s the first piece, it’s a service graph.


The next is that real time real time logic, which, which we call event orchestration. So in real time, the event comes in, we can inspect it and then we can build logic. So we can say, test it for this or check and see if this data is connected to it. And then we can add logic there. So that’s kind of real time automation because it’s happening before a human and that’s going to be huge benefit. The other thing you can do in real time, if you know, you’re going to get a human, you can start to collect diagnostics ahead of time. So that by the time a human being’s needed, they’re being handed the intelligence that they would’ve collected for the first 10 or 15 minutes of the troubleshooting session. So that’s kind of event orchestration that happens in real time.


And then the piece with, with Rundeck is just giving you this kind of easy button so that when the humans needed, you’ve got those ability to run things. To your point of where we’re going really focused on being able to assemble flexible workflows across those things that I just mentioned. So flexible workflows that can operate in real time without a human. They can also understand when and how to get a human being. And then we’ve talked a lot about this, but we want to be able to rapidly build those workflows. Is it a hospitality use case? Is it an HR use case? Is it a legal use case? And we want to enable our customers to kind of define that very quickly and apply it to their business. You know, we’ve kind of tackled and we’re kind of the champion of microservice applications, you know, built and delivered by DevOps teams. We feel like we’ve been super focused there for a decade. And now, like you’ve been talking about the enterprise has moved to become all digital and we are kind of moving to tackle just any kind of work that is time sensitive. So for us, you’ll see a lot of workflow flexibility coming in the following months.


Shimel:            Love. It was excellent stuff, Michael we’re about out of time. I want to invite you back though, because frankly it’s been too long since we’ve had PagerDuty on here. And you know, we do this three days a week, so it’s always room for more interviews.


Cucchi:            I’d love to be back. I really enjoyed the chat. I’m looking forward to our upcoming ones.


Shimel:            Excellent, man. We’ll leave it up to the teams to make it happen. Michael Cucchi, VP of product and all things outbound, as he said, right.


Cucchi:            There you go.


Shimel:            Excellent. This Alan __ for Tech Strong TV, we’ll be right back.



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