When you think of New Relic, you might think of traditional server-side application performance monitoring, and of course New Relic does that and other monitoring tasks, but increasingly it’s moving into analytics and today at its FutureStack user conference, the company announced it has bought cloud dashboard-building tool Ducksboard as it continues to broaden its analytics platform.
Ducksboard, which is based in Barcelona, provides a way to connect to a variety of cloud services such as Salesforce.com, Zendesk and many others, and build a dashboard to see how these services are running in real time as it relates to your business. Since Ducksboard is now part of New Relic, the plan is to use this capability to give New Relic customers a much broader view of their customers beyond pure APM.
New Relic has been around for over five years and collected more than $214M in funding. CEO Lew Cirne says every good company has to move beyond its roots to keep the company growing and he sees expansion into analytics as key to his company’s growth moving forward.
That’s because he says people aren’t walking through the front door of the bank to deposit a check. They are using their smart phones to do it. Traditionally, APM monitors the performance of this process as it moves from the phone to the network to the servers and New Relic introduced analytics last year to give customers a detailed view of each step. With Ducksboard, customers will be getting much broader insight into their customers by pulling information from a variety of outside sources.
Today’s New Relic analytics tool lets IT pros see what’s happening down to the user level, but from a customer service standpoint, it doesn’t give much context beyond that. Ducksboard will enable New Relic customers to not only display that APM data to get at the root of the customer problem, it could also display Zendesk help desk tickets to see the history of other customer issues or show Salesforce.com data to see how important this customer is to the company. It expands the view of the customer in a big way and breaks through the wall of what most would consider traditional APM responsibility –and that’s precisely what Cirne wants to do.
Cirne says having this ability changes the scope of the tool to one that’s strategic and he thinks that’s key to the longer-term success of the company by giving his sales team a tool to have a second conversation with customers where they can take New Relic deeper inside a customer organization.
“Call it our second act,” he told me. Most technology companies, he explained, have a first act where they have an original idea and iterate that idea. After that, the leadership becomes less oriented toward product innovation and more toward product optimization by building on the core product, but Cirne sees a pattern of successful companies where they reinvent who they are continuously over time –and he wants to follow that.
“What successful companies have in common is a founding CEO who is never satisfied with what we built yesterday,” he said.
That’s a great attitude for any company CEO to have, but there is also some risk that you could confuse the core message when expanding beyond your roots into other areas in a broad way as New Relic appears to be doing. But Cirne believes it’s a chance worth taking to ensure his company’s success for the long term.