What is our primary use case?
We use it to alert management of priority-one incidents. The company uses it for global incidents but we have a subset of it for priority-one incidents, to let IT management know what is going on and so IT knows it's priority-one. The future is to let them know about priority-ones, twos, and threes, for the on-call schedule. But right now we're in the priority-one stage.
How has it helped my organization?
For the P1s especially, we had a lot of incidents where we got notifications that things were going down, and just the time it took to get people on the call - the bridge - and to get people to respond sometimes took as much as half-an-hour or 45 minutes. Now it's really down to 15 to 20 minutes. So the response time in getting teams together is much better, much more effective.
At this stage, which is step one - and we're going to try to get better - we have incidents once a week. On each of those incidents we have to do calls on root analysis and why it happened. From that standpoint, we get people on a call much faster to get it resolved much faster. In turn, the calls are becoming less and less. We're down to once a week. We want to get down to once a month.
A better response time helps you learn what's going on and how to prepare for the next time. For example, knowing that in January we had an incident where Asia/Far East went down because the things we were doing at night caused that slowness and lag time, we realized that we if changed things that we do at night in America, we wouldn't have the lag time going on in Asia. We realized that the things we were doing in America were affecting the next day in Asia.
It helps us get everybody involved, the first, the second, and treasury, where normally, to get even one person on the line was difficult. I work at night, from 7:00 PM to 7:00 AM, and that's the hardest time to get somebody on the line and get them actively involved. But they know that when they get that call from Everbridge - and if they don't answer it goes to their home phone, it goes to their cell phone - it is important that they get on. It's not just a call for general information. They know if it's an Everbridge call that it's something very important and that their manager is looking at it. That puts us in a better place. When there is a call, they respond.
What is most valuable?
For us, the most valuable features are the alerting and messaging, SMS messaging and text. We have a 15-minute window to get everything out and open, and without Everbridge we would never make that 15 minutes. Just the fact of who it alerts, and how it gets them on calls, is amazing.
The scheduling calendar is also very helpful and very useful. That's what we're looking to roll out. We have other incidents where we need to get people who are on-call to respond back to us and it's a very manual process right now. We call a person and keep trying until we get them. When we get this feature working in phase two, it will reach out to them and if it doesn't reach the first person it will reach out to the next one. The third call will go to the manager to let the manager know that the first ones haven't answered.
It's very customizable. For instance, if you're going on vacation this week, you go to your calendar and say, "I'm off this week, make the secondary the primary." And that's done on-the-fly. It's very responsive. It's very user-friendly. The guys don't have much training in Everbridge but they know how to go into the calendar, move their name out and move the next person up. It's very good.
The calendar is very dynamic. We use ServiceNow which has a calendar-based program, like Everbridge, but the two are night and day. Everything that I've been diving into with Everbridge is actually better than the products we have out-of-the-box. The calendar in Everbridge is much better. Your contact list is already there and that makes it customizable. With ServiceNow, it's very clunky. It's not intuitive and it's nowhere near as dynamic.
What needs improvement?
What I would like to see is vendor alerting. It's not structured to take into account that users outside of our environment, users outside of IT, may not be in the group. IBM is an outside vendor for us, and we have IBM CEs who come in on a regular basis. If there's a problem, we call those vendors in. That should be tied into the system where we can say that vendors A, B, and C have these users and we want them available to come into the office when there's an issue. We want to be able to alert them in the same way we alert internally. If this contact is not available it would move to the next and the next. It would be great if it could do that.
We have tons of vendors we use from outside of our organization that are not part of the contact list, they're not users in the firm. But if they could be a "vendor contact" and we could scale it the same way we do with individual employees, that would really be the icing on the cake.
For how long have I used the solution?
We've had it for over a year but we went live with it a few months ago.
What do I think about the stability of the solution?
It's very stable. We haven't had any problems with the system at all: Getting it in, being able to launch it from mobile devices, from inside the office, outside, websites. Everywhere we go to get into it, it works seamlessly. There has been no downtime so far.
What do I think about the scalability of the solution?
For us, the scalability is great. We're going to go larger later on, but right now it's working for us. On our scale it does 1,000 of us in IT and for that it works perfectly. As we get bigger and push it out more to more users, we'll find out more about the scalability.
How are customer service and technical support?
We used their consultant, Brandy, in the beginning. Then we started using technical support for lockout issues. What happens a lot of the time is that when you send out an invite to someone to join, they get the invite and wait too long and then the invite expires so they call tech support to get that refreshed. Tech support has been very friendly, very knowledgeable. Aside from lockout issues, we've contacted them for password expiration, for users wanting the Evergreen app for mobile. Some of them can't have it, some can, depending on who they are.
In terms of the lockout, it's fine because you get three attempts to log in and then you get locked out. It changes every 90 days and that's fine for us. That's what we do with corporate, so users are used to it. But that's why we're going to go to single-sign-on, so they don't have to remember that many passwords. When we get there we'll probably alleviate this problem.
Once our people are up to speed with it, they will be able to do it themselves.
Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?
This is our first time using this kind of solution. We were doing it manually before. We were sending out emails and WebEx conferences manually.
How was the initial setup?
In our case, it was taking what we had - because we were using it globally - and making a subset for us for alerting. The Everbridge consultant did it seamlessly. In the first meeting she set up the organization, put us in and gave us admin rights. They did most of the work. The only thing we did was add the contacts. That was manual but not complicated at all.
It took us a week to get the contacts in and the full deployment was done in two weeks easily, including testing and having users going.
The implementation strategy was designed by Everbridge. We thought we could go in and go straight to step one. But there was a lot more design to it. We had to set up the clients first, do the consulting stage, and then worry about how we were going to make a template. We thought it was going to be quick and dirty, but there was actually more of a learning curve for us. We had to set up templates first, learn how to change templates and make templates our own so that, in the future, we wouldn't have to go back and get more training. Instead of turning it around in a week, it took us a month because we wanted to be thoroughly trained in it. Now we do all our own templates, we do our own calls, we do our own updates, we do our own contacts. The month was really good for us. It was slower than we expected, but it really helped us out.
It could have been faster if we wanted things out-of-the-box. It could have been much faster. But we took the initial steps at that time to learn as much as we could so we would be independent. Now we have a much better understanding of what Everbridge does. That time was really important because we also trained our staff. The time was well spent.
Everbridge had an implementation team that worked with our company before our team was in, to set up the national implementation. Then Brandy, from Everbridge, worked with us. We had the day shift which was two supervisors, another two supervisors at night, and two managers. So it was done with a total of six on our side. Those six people are the ones who maintain it.
What about the implementation team?
We worked with one of the Everbridge consultants and she was very helpful.
What was our ROI?
Our ROI is in the response time. We have a 15-minute SLA that we were never meeting. We were physically not capable of meeting it in a manual environment. We thought it was unheard of to hit that 15 minutes. Everbridge makes it possible. From where we stood, we thought we'd never get to a half-hour SLA. Today it's 15 minutes.
What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?
As far as I'm aware, there are no costs beyond the standard licensing fees.
Which other solutions did I evaluate?
There were other options we were looking into besides this. We thought another one we looked into was going to do it, but its alerting system didn't do it. Our new manager came in and had his own options but he never showed us what they were because we were so far ahead with Everbridge.
The main deciding factor for going with Everbridge was the integration we're planning to do with ServiceNow. We knew that we wanted it to work with ServiceNow. From a ticketing standpoint, we have tickets that can now be created in ServiceNow that work with Everbridge. So if something happens it will assign an incident number to Everbridge, and we won't have to do that manually. We were also looking at replacing WhatsUp Gold. The new processes coming into place that should work well with Everbridge also.
The competitors had the same features but I think Everbridge works better because that's what they do. Everbridge is an alerting package so it's more robust.
What other advice do I have?
Take your time and look into the total package. There's so much involved in Everbridge. You think it's just alerting but the scheduling package is really phenomenal and the way it integrates. So take your time and look at it thoroughly and learn the bells and whistles before making a decision to know what the whole package is capable of doing. They also have a bridge process where they set up the bridge for you, where you don't have to use something like WebEx. They can do it internally. We didn't know that at the beginning. Look at the package of all the things they do.
We're going to integrate it with ServiceNow. That's going to be important. We haven't used single-sign-on with it, but that's something we'll be looking for later and I don't know how good it is. I would like that to work seamlessly. We don't have single-sign-on right now. Each person logs on with their AD account individually when they go into Everbridge. Single-sign-on is available but we weren't focused on that at first. We were focused on getting the alerting system working. Now that we have that working, we're going to go into the next phase of alerting with the calendar and single-sign-on. It will make it easier for people using it to be able to sign on once.
We have 450 users on the IT side. Globally, there are 15,000 but we're only in charge of the IT side. There are 1,000 people in IT, but right now 450 are in Everbridge.
I would rate Everbridge at ten out of ten.