Everbridge IT Alerting Review

Integrates with our CMDB and enables us to quickly identify target audiences for messaging

What is our primary use case?

We use it to consolidate and remove a lot of manual processes from the enterprise notification space.

How has it helped my organization?

What it allows us to do is integrate with our CMDB. Within our CMDB, we have everything including the ownership, from the executive level down to operational. It enables us to quickly and easily identify who the target audience is through the subscription model that is embedded in Everbridge. It helps with targeted communication and accuracy and timeliness. On average, it saves us roughly five to seven minutes, when we compare all of the manual processes we used to have versus using the tool as integrated into our ticketing system. We send about 15 to 20 of these broadcast messages per day, on average. So the time savings are definitely substantial.

What is most valuable?

The most important feature, from our perspective, is the integration with our ticketing system. That eliminates wasted motion and time in drafting and sending and finding the right distribution list. It's all integrated with the ticketing system, so from the ticket itself, we manage all of the notifications that we send. We're able to manage an incident within the confines of the ticketing system at something like 70 to 80 percent accuracy. The integration feature with the ticketing system is of extreme value.

What needs improvement?

Everything could always be a little bit easier, a little bit faster, but I'm not sure that I can really name anything else off the top of my head.

For how long have I used the solution?

One to three years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

We haven't had any downtime-type problems. At some time within this calendar year, there was a temporary outage for a few minutes of some function within the system, and I'm not even sure it was one that I leverage. I get notifications from them through their communication systems telling me what the statuses are of the various components of the system, and I don't recall any point where the system was unavailable in its entirety. The stability has been excellent.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Scalability seems to be very robust. When I look at not just what we're doing with it but what it can do, if we were to put the proper amount of effort behind some of the integrations, the scalability is good.

I'm looking at changing a number of things in 2019 and there will be opportunities for more integrations so that we take better advantage of the platform. From a scalability standpoint, that headroom is there. It is just up to us to identify those opportunities and take advantage of them.

How are customer service and technical support?

Everbridge's tech support is amazing. I've been in IT for the last 20 years and I've had a lot of interaction with a lot of vendors for a lot of reasons. The Everbridge team is head-and-shoulders above virtually all of them. Their technical account manager is nothing short of amazing. They spend the time to build the relationships, which I really like. They visit every so often, we have quarterly meetings, we have weekly meetings. They're very responsive. They're really fantastic in that way.

That can be the most valuable aspect of choosing a vendor. The fact of the matter is that you can use a lot of different systems. There is always competition out there. Some do some things better than others and there are little nuances to all the systems. But at the end the day, personally, I'm not a transactional person. I like to build those relationships and build on them and I think that shows in the platform.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We had a conglomeration of a number of tools that were similar in that space but they were not being used anywhere near the way we're using Everbridge now. They were mostly for disaster-recovery types of functions. But we did not use them anywhere near to the same extent as we are now using IT Alerting. We eliminated all of those tools, as far as I know. Some of them were homegrown escalation and on-call type tools. Some were third-party competitors to Everbridge, and we eliminated all of those and consolidated on this platform.

The need for an improvement over what we had was self-evident for an operations person: What was efficient and what wasn't. We could see, fairly easily, what was taking more time than it should. If you're technologically savvy and you know what an automation opportunity looks like, it presents itself.

How was the initial setup?

The initial setup was more complex than I anticipated. Initially, we were using their UI to send our notifications. It wasn't quite integrated with the ticketing system yet, not at phase one. Phase two was the integration with the ticketing system. All of the required data integrations and the normalizing of the data and customizing it for our needs and purposes took more time than I anticipated. Perhaps that was just me, but I was anticipating that it would be a little bit less difficult than it turned out to be.

From phase one where we were using their UI, until we had phase two, which was the initial deployment with the ticketing system, it took about three to four months.

Our implementation strategy was to take a phased approach to get us to our end goal with the integration and our notifications. We had specific business goals: the original deployment, the creation of the templates, and the basic operating model of the system, through to the integration and, now, to the improvements that are in the future-state of the platform. Next is leveraging some of the features within the system that are more intelligent. For example, when you send a notification you could have it posted to the application. There are a whole bunch of more advanced functions that we're still working towards.

One of the other problems we had, which we did not anticipate, was: If we send out a notification to everybody in the enterprise, that's a significant number and, technically, those messages source from "not your domain." There had to be some fine-tuning to make that work in light of things like the spam, IronPorts, etc. on the front-end servers, the mail servers. It took a little bit of work to get that the way we needed it to be.

Including the developers on the ticketing-system side, the deployment took six to eight people on our side. They made the majority of the decisions and handled the testing and implementation. The phase we're in now is more of a business-as-usual release cycle and enhancement type phase. It doesn't require the density of attention that it did.

What about the implementation team?

We used the Everbridge TAM for most of it and then our own ticketing-system people and our own resources.

What was our ROI?

We definitely have seen ROI. When we have an incident or an outage, we can focus on what we need to do, which is fix the problem, instead of finding forms and sending emails and cobbling together inefficient manual processes. The ROI is clearly there.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We looked at xMatters and at Send Word Now. We also did an internal proof of concept to spec out what it would cost to develop our own system and run it, but for the cost we were looking at to develop it and implement it and run it on a daily basis, it was more cost-effective to use a third party.

This was something that I had actually been working on for a number of years before we adopted Everbridge. I had any number of sessions with some of my operations partners in the company where we would sit down and do a bake-off among those competing tools. As I said, there are nuances to everything, but at the end of the day, we decided we like the Everbridge user interface better. There were some other smaller decision points. Some of it was around cost, but ultimately it was the user interface. And certainly, some of it was due to the people at Everbridge. They were excellent.

What other advice do I have?

My advice would be: Do your homework. It's a matter of looking at your specific needs. To me, it's like buying a car, it's the fundamentals of the system. Does it do what you need it to do, what's important to you? And look at what the future capabilities of the system are. That's part of it as well.

My team, IT, uses the system on a day-to-day basis and the others who use it are the developers on the ticketing-system side. Our team is using it for IT support and I have about 50 or 60 individuals who are working in the system and using the integration, 24/7 and 365. But there are other slices of our organization, which are not IT, that are using it for communication. There's Customer Operations and Field Operations and others that are also using it for similar purposes but different use cases.

In terms of usage, it's integral. We use it many times every day, all day. The various organizations within the company are using it every day for communication and coordination. There are other integration possibilities in some of the existing features that we're not taking advantage of. And in the future state of the platform, there are some interesting possibilities that I see with integration with our monitoring tools and some of our other services and applications.

Everything really seems to integrate pretty well. The support from Everbridge is really excellent. When we want changes or we need improvements, we get those fairly quickly and they're very communicative with regard to the product's platform itself and the enhancements. They seem to be looking very intently at the future to see the space grow and what it's going to evolve into. They're doing a pretty good job with that.

They have helped us with some of the moving parts of the integration with the ticketing system. There are enhancements we wanted with the mobile app, any number of changes with integrations and APIs. We've actually had a lot of improvements to it, even in the last year since we deployed it.

I would rate it a good, solid eight out ten. I'm not going to give anything a ten ever. There is some room to improve the initial-rollout functions which are a little bit painful.

**Disclosure: IT Central Station contacted the reviewer to collect the review and to validate authenticity. The reviewer was referred by the vendor, but the review is not subject to editing or approval by the vendor.
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