Last week I went camping with some friends. One of them did the shopping for all of us, so I sent him my share using a payment app. It took me less than 2 minutes to complete the transaction. A few years ago, a similar transaction would have me going to the bank to complete the task, or at a minimum, calling a bank teller and having him do it. Try to imagine a bank asking its customers to do any of these things today. It would probably lose all its customers in no time.
Ease-of-use is king
The world has changed. When interacting with our bank, going to the airport, or ordering out – self-service is the new game, and ease of use is the new standard. But what about enterprise users? Do they experience the same level of self-service as they do as private consumers? Generally speaking, I think we can safely say that they don’t. Is this situation acceptable? It’s also safe to say: “Not for long.”
That’s why I would assert that, in IT Operations, we are not very far away from the day when our AIOps products will be required to provide the same self-service, easy-to-use experience that enterprise users are used to as consumers. Otherwise, they will eventually replace us with a more modern alternative.
Self-Service is an emerging global trend
For many years now, as established in a 2016 Forester report, the majority of customers prefer self-service because it offers the least amount of interaction friction. This trend is also emerging in enterprise solutions, and has already been implemented to varying degrees in mature products on the market. Slack, for example, focuses on experience and ease of use, as they detail in their blog. They offer rich learning content to help you easily learn and onboard onto their product, and they implement a comprehensive and easy to use API that allows you to perform almost any operation. Their strategy seems to be working well, as can be seen in their active-user numbers, which are growing rapidly.
So what makes a great self-service driven product?
There are several key factors to consider when creating a self-service driven product (and let’s not confuse this with a self-service sales model. Your product can be built on a self-service model, regardless of how you sell it):
- Overall, the user experience and ease of use are front and center. Happy users will most likely return to those types of products. Remember that your product’s user experience, in many ways, is how your users experience your brand. So try to make it amazing.
- The main and most commonly used functionalities of your product are intuitive, simple to use and require no assistance.
- The product offers a flawless onboarding experience. There is no second chance to make a first impression.
- Comprehensive guides, tutorials, and how-to videos are provided to support users at different stages: beginner, intermediate and advanced.
- APIs are provided to assist advanced users in building their own solutions on top of yours.
The BigPanda way, today and looking forward
When we launched BigPanda a few years ago, ease of use and outstanding user experience were a top priority. Since then we have considered user experience to be a key factor in our success, helping us successfully partner with our customers, as opposed to simply being another vendor. That’s why, for every new feature in every release, we conduct user experience research and validation with our customer base, often spending weeks reconciling feedback and iterating on it. That helps us make sure that we consistently deliver only the best-in-class user experience to our demanding enterprise users
Looking to the future, BigPanda is focusing on self-service on all the aforementioned key factors. We are committed to transforming the main and most commonly used functionalities in BigPanda to be self-service driven, and we are adding more and more content to our learning platforms. API access is a standard for every new feature that we release going forward, so customers can build custom solutions and workflows on top of BigPanda. We are also working on providing self-service troubleshooting capabilities that provide our customers an “inside view” of internal logs and metrics, so they can troubleshoot integrations more easily, and on their own. All of these, and other still-being-planned self-service features will be released over the next 12 months, as we continuously strive to make BigPanda the most user-friendly AIOps-powered event correlation and automation platform for enterprises everywhere.
I am confident this will drive even more success for our customers: faster implementations, more customizations, added personalization, and empowered users that can help their enterprises achieve increased business velocity.