The Chronicles of Numerify and IT Business Analytics: 3 Years and Counting!

In Business of IT, Numerify

I remember the spring of 2014 quite vividly — we were getting ready to launch Numerify and emerge from stealth mode. It was an exciting time for the small marketing team that consisted of me, uber marketer Patrick Cava, and our newly minted designer Matt Holman. We pored over website code, introduction videos, press release drafts, the press briefing presentation, datasheets, demos, and what seems like hundreds of other small items to prepare for the launch.

At the same time we were about to launch our company, we were also feverishly preparing for our most important trade show conference: Knowledge14. We worked into the wee hours of the morning and finally finished the website at 3 am PT, days before the start of the conference. On that morning, April 23, 2014, Numerify came out of stealth mode to reveal our mission and products.
 

Our Journey to the Forefront of IT Business Analytics

Now, as we announce our fourth-time sponsorship of the Knowledge conference, I thought I would reflect on the past three years. This time has been an amazing experience of personal and professional growth for me, as I am sure it has also been for my colleagues. We’ve had a very fulfilling journey so far, and we are thrilled about the potential of the market that we identified early on. We are proud of how our solutions and products have evolved to address a burning need for modern IT leaders. Over the last three years, we have established a new segment called IT Business Analytics and emerged as the pioneer provider of a comprehensive analytics solution in this area.

We began by working with companies in our backyard, including leading and innovative high-tech organizations like Netflix, Intuit, Rambus, Aruba, and Spansion. These organizations had relatively small IT departments, but were technology-driven, agile, and — most significantly — data-driven. When we demonstrated our solution to them, understanding and adoption were swift. Over time they also gave us valuable feedback about how we could expand and enhance our solutions. Many of these early suggestions are central elements of the solutions that Numerify offers today.

We landed our first big customer, Cardinal Health, in June 2015 and set out on a path that would take us toward larger, more complicated, geographically dispersed IT organizations. We are privileged to now work with some of the largest IT teams in the world, including companies ranked within the Top 5 of their respective industry. This includes companies in technologically driven industries such as Retail, Media & Entertainment, and Healthcare. On average these companies have $36 billion in annual revenue and are recognized as strong, household names. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars on their IT infrastructure and operations, with 40,000+ employees spread across the world. Suffice it to say that the analytical use cases we started off with have evolved and become far more sophisticated.
 

What’s Driving Numerify’s Growth Among Large Companies?

1. These companies have embraced internal innovation

They realize that every company is heavily reliant on technology and therefore must better manage this source of competitive advantage. Take Cardinal Health for example — a Fortune 25 company with a bigger e-commerce business than even Amazon. In one use case, they leverage Numerify to identify the top configuration items (CI) that can cause customer-impacting events. In a complex IT operations environment with hundreds of thousands of configurations, honing in on the top 20 CIs is akin to the proverbial needle in the haystack. Except in this case, there are tons of pain-inducing needles — and each can cause an outage or service degradation that leads to unpleasant calls from IT’s business colleagues.
 

2. IT is changing from a builder to a broker of cloud and internal services

The department is simultaneously competing with and complementing cloud-based service providers. As one of our customers put it, “With infrastructure services just a credit card swipe away, our IT organization has to be the number one service provider of choice.” This durable goods company recognizes that IT needs to be a highly efficient business organization that constantly delivers a transformative service experience, but without breaking the bank. A number of grand (and expensive) ways of exist to do so, ranging from adoption of modern DevOps methodology to going bimodal. Yet practical and data-driven IT™ leaders recognize that business analytics can provide incremental, progressive insights that lead to a cumulative benefit in millions of dollars.
 

3. Simple KPI and reporting solutions are inadequate to drive business decisions

While it’s great to see a KPI trend line on a dashboard, it is more critical to understand why the line is trending up/down, what its implications are, and how to react to the situation. Even though some of these reports provide “real-time” reports, those go only so far. I like to compare real-time reports to driving a car on a treacherous mountainside road. It’s not very helpful to see in real time that the road has ended and your car is about to go over the cliff.

A true analytics solution would tell you before you get into the car that the road is windy and narrow, and predict the safest yet most efficient speed at which to navigate each turn. Only a big-data analytics platform capable of analyzing terabytes of data can provide such insights. A trained driver (or an experienced IT manager) will then use these insights to complement their expertise to “see around the corner” and navigate the road safely and confidently. Such answers aren’t found on a dashboard of KPI trend lines, instead requiring slicing and dicing, hypothesis testing, outlier identification, and pattern matching — definitely not something that slides oriented reporting solution can do.

So, that’s what I believe is driving our growth into larger IT organizations. Furthermore, I predict we are at the early stages of a trend that will make data-driven IT the most efficient, impactful, and professional organization in the company.

We are eager to share some of the most interesting use cases here on the Numerify blog, and my colleague Kristin Crosier has already unveiled a couple in a recent blog post. Stay tuned for more — we will discuss cases ranging from service accountability to justifying investments in software-defined data centers in subsequent posts.

[Photo credit: Unsplash.]

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