What is our primary use case?
The primary use case is for us to mobilize and engage our IT workforce in response to either major incidents or critical monitoring alerts that require immediate response. We run anywhere between 150 to 180 major incidents per month. We also use this for our critical ticket management, as well, which is roughly 200 more a month.
How has it helped my organization?
Before Everbridge, it would take us anywhere between 45 minutes to an hour and a half to mobilize our IT resource teams. This was a manual call tree process where you are picking up the phone and calling everybody one by one. Now, by leveraging Everbridge, with a few clicks of a mouse, we are able to go in and request as many teams as we require to respond to an incident and bring them together to collaborate much faster. That 45 minutes to 90 minutes is now a few minutes up to maybe 15 minutes, depending on responsiveness or if the escalations have to kick in. We have seen substantial savings in manpower and a significant reduction in our time to respond and recover.
What is most valuable?
The automated escalations are the most valuable feature. We program in our escalation chains for each individual IT group. Being able to go out and request a resource from that team, and if they don't respond, that automated escalation makes it very hands off. So, our major incident managers and our network operations center can focus more on the other work that they need to do rather than chasing down those resources. They can rest assured that somebody will be answering.
Another valuable feature is the ease of integration into our ServiceNow platform, where we are doing all of our work between two teams. They are able to make requests from within the tickets that we can manage rather than having to use another portal or logging into Everbridge directly.
Reliability is their biggest value.
What needs improvement?
The IT Alerting portion of the Everbridge platform is built on all the fundamentals set by their mass notification product. Some of the specific use cases for IT response could use a little attention, in terms of changing the default behavior of the application. That would be the number one for me, which I know that they're already looking to address.
For how long have I used the solution?
I have been using the product for about four years.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
The stability is excellent. In the three years that we've been using it, there has only been one major outage. Even during that outage, there was still limited functionality available. We have definitely seen that since that event, which was a little over a year ago now, they've made some massive improvements to their infrastructure and their highly available environment. There really hasn't been any disruptions since then.
They actually advertised that they improved it. They sent communications to their customer base. They advised them that this was an event that you never really plan for, but it did happen. They made significant investments to ensure that it wouldn't happen again. There has been a series of maintenance to their back-end systems and infrastructure to ensure that they remain more resilient. Since then, we haven't seen a major disruption in service. I would classify it as a very highly available system with minimal disruptions.
They just upgrade their platform continuously, so you're always on the most recent version.
We have a part-time administrator who is doing our day-to-day maintenance. Most of that is more about further enhancements and improvements than about maintenance. Maintenance is very low-key, in terms of an administrator. In IT Alerting, the most complex part is that we have in and around 52 calendars that are being managed for all of our individual IT teams, but we allow the managers of those groups to do the management of those calendars. It's fairly hands-off. There was some work upfront to create some documentation, and we had to train them. That is more of the administration that we have to do now: the upkeep. However, this is more done on a part-time basis.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
In IT Alerting, we have around 400 users. In our Everbridge instance, we have everybody in the organization, which is close to 11,000.
When we initially started using the product, we were at around 4,500 users. We were able to more than double that with ease. I know other much larger organizations who are using the platform without issues. In the most recent user group that I attended, they were showing us a lot of improvements on their back-end and database queries, so they could continue to scale. They can pretty much handle any scale that has been presented to them, so far.
How are customer service and technical support?
The technical support is excellent. They certainly have different layers of support based on what you need and what you require. We have dealt with all levels of support throughout our journey with them. Where some of it is just a simple call into their help desk, which is more about basic troubleshooting, basic issues, maybe some how-tos, or some functions that weren't working exactly. This is right through to very hands-on technical assistance to solve some of our more challenging use cases. Where the IT Alerting platform sometimes isn't designed for the specific use case, they have been able to assign us a technical resource to give us a workaround or maybe to champion an improvement in a future release that will give us that function. We have pretty much seen that ongoing throughout our relationship with Everbridge, where they are always looking to make those enhancements or improvements for the usability of all their customers.
Typical upgrade cycle: We make a recommendation for an enhancement or an improvement, because it's not there. It gets entered on the community, where other customers can vote on it, which will push it up the scale. Or, we also have our account reps who will speak on our behalf to their development teams if there's something that we really need. Then, if there is a sense of urgency, that is where those workarounds come in, where they'll work the system to give us a configuration or rules which will give us what we require.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
We have used PagerDuty, xMatters, and one that's not quite IT alerting (Send Word Now). These are all products that we have experience with at Finastra.
How was the initial setup?
The initial setup was very complex. We did not have a very good experience with our initial deployment. Most of this was due to customizations in our ServiceNow instance. When we were using Everbridge as a standalone tool, that implementation was relatively straightforward to get some immediate value. When we went to integrate with our ServiceNow instance, we ran into a lot of challenges.
We didn't have to, but we made the decision to re-integrate at the end of this past year. That reintegration was very easy and seamless. There was a lot of upgraded functions put into the connector by Everbridge, which have been installed in ServiceNow.
The first time around, it took us a couple of months, a lot of headaches, and a lot of effort. Our second implementation was a matter of hours before we were up and running again. It was a massive improvement from our initial implementation. Half of the improvement was the connectivity capabilities and upgraded connector that Everbridge designed and had certified in the ServiceNow Store. The other half of it was the realization that a lot of our challenges the first time around were based on customizations that we had in our environment. What we did ahead of this implementation was return to the out-of-the-box configuration in our ServiceNow instance. This allowed all of that automated connectivity to just take over, so we didn't have to customize or script. It really was just plug and play. Remove the old connector and install the new one, then do a bit of configuration settings and we were good to go.
What about the implementation team?
The first time, we used a third-party to do all the development. That posed a lot of challenges. It wasn't a great experience. It wasn't just because of the challenging environment. We definitely had some challenges in dealing with that third-party organization and the deployment overall.
Initially, the third-party integrator provided us two full-time resources for six weeks since they were doing a lot of scripting, customizations, and development work.
The second time around, based on the simplicity, we were able to secure a resource from Everbridge for about 45 minutes to meet up with our ServiceNow administration team. They were able to do it all on the call in that short period of time.
On the redeployment, since it took hours, we had maybe one person for two days. That would be at most what we probably committed.
What was our ROI?
The end result is that we have driven down our MTTR by an average of about 45 minutes across all major outages. That is very substantial considering the cost of every minute of outage can be thousands of dollars lost.
We are saving probably 100 plus hours of outage time within our customer-facing products per month, which is significant. You can easily put that into an ROI of hundreds of thousands per year.
For other use cases, there is at least another 50,000 to 100,000 dollars a year of savings or cost avoidance.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
The annual cost is approximately $125,000 USD but is highly dependent on the number of licenses required.
They are one of the cheapest solutions on the market. We looked at all of the major competitors in the space. Everbridge was one of the most affordable for what they are offering.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
We switched mostly because of our internal use cases. Everbridge was the most flexible, in terms of adding on additional use cases for just the base function. Affordability was a big factor as well. When costing out the solution, they were the cheapest for the IT Alerting portion specifically. However, the biggest thing was the ability to add in those additional use cases.
For example, one of our customer support organizations was paying a third-party service to answer phone calls after hours. All they were doing was answering the call and taking some details, then they were engaging a support team who was probably sleeping at that time. Knowing what the capabilities were within IT Alerting, we said, "We could probably give you a better solution for that. We'll give you an email address that your customer can email directly. Then, you'll just maintain your calendar of support in Everbridge. Then, when your customer emails into that address, Everbridge will call you and tell you that you have an email from your customer that you need to respond to." They were able to eliminate that third-party calling service, which was fairly expensive. There was no additional cost because we were able to capture it within the licenses that we already purchase with the product.
We have about a half a dozen other use cases like that which we've been able to leverage the same platform and same licensing for with Everbridge and realize some savings, giving us better service to our internal and external customers.
What other advice do I have?
It is about ensuring that you have the organizational buy-in from the top down. This product starts with the C-level suite when you're going to implement. We struggled through having to prove that the product was worthwhile before we were able to fully implement across the organization. We found some early adopters within those IT responder teams and showed them that this is a product which would help them as well as help our organization.
We started out with three or four teams three years ago. Now, it is a standard. The organization realizes that there is value here, and that we are going to continue to use it. We have expanded it to more than 50 IT responder teams across the organization. Now, whenever we find a team who isn't using it, we onboard them pretty quickly, as it is part of the standard.
The product is pretty new for them. We were a pretty early adopter to the product. I don't know where we stand in terms of 10th or 50th (or whatever), but I know that the product itself is only about four years old, from what I understand.
We have already been able to drive a massive amount of value out of it in its current state. Anything else is what I would call finessing, or refinement. Some of that may be specific to my organization and how we use it. We already have a roadmap of how we will to continue to use it, which will be leveraging a lot more automation, but most of that is already ready on the Everbridge side. It's more our ServiceNow instance that we need to prepare for that level of automation.
All of the core function that we are looking for is already there in Everbridge. They have the connectivity into our ServiceNow instance, which is pivotal, so that we can affect workflows to automate our engagements. Today, it's our network operations center and major incident management team who are requesting resources. The intention is to have our ServiceNow instance automatically do that based on defined workflows, so we are taking the human element or delay out of it. Everbridge is already set to allow us to do this.
I would give the product a solid nine because of their support. It is how responsive that they have been between their account management, technical resources, and leadership. They knew that we had a very painful implementation the first time. Therefore, for our second implementation, they were very hands-on. We had a lot of conversations leading up to the implementation about the support that we needed and what our goals were. They were very responsive in providing us pretty much whatever we needed, just short of Professional Services and doing it for us. They were very clear that they could do all of this for us but there would be a fee. However, they are always there to help, which is the biggest thing for me. You almost consider them to be more like a partner than a vendor. If you treat them more like a partner, and they treat you as such as well, then you are likely to have a much more desirable outcome.