Office Hours Hangout: Get Savvy About New Relic Insights

Our latest Office Hours Hangout kept us on the topic of Monitoring. Last week we took a look at Rackspace Intelligence, our single pane of glass which gives customers a real-time and comprehensive overview of the health of their infrastructure at one glance. This week we invited our friends from New Relic to join us to discuss their Insights platform.

Insights is another real-time analytics tool, but unlike Rackspace Intelligence, Insights gives a look at the application, and more specifically how users are interacting with the application. This podcast was very… (I promised myself I wouldn’t make the “insightful” pun again) educational. I selected a few highlights to share in the links below, and the full video and audio versions are available below.

New Relic Insights overview

Our discussion started with a brief overview of Insights. I always appreciate having a product manager on to discuss his or her product, because they’ve spent the most time with the product, and more importantly, the users of that product. Insights Product Manager Henry Shapiro had a great explanation of Insights, and how our mutual customers are using it. He also identified three different verticals that define most of their customers: ecommerce, Software as a Service, and Digital (media sites).

Flipping the IT decision making process

Co-host Drew Cox kicked off a discussion on how Insights allows IT users, who have had the data all along, to surface that data, bring it to the correct decision makers, and effectively change the way decisions are made. Henry shared how some customers use Insights to discover an entire potential customer base that was previously unknown.

Insights also helps clarify transactional data. Henry shared an example from New Relic’s own use of Insights to assist in customer support. They’ve modified their site code to send data to Insights on many user transaction on the New Relic website. They’re now able to capture the string of events the customer performed, so when a customer creates a support ticket, that string of events can be analyzed to better understand what the customer did, was trying to do and obstacles they came up against. This means a significant reduction in the back and forth between customer and support agent, and more time spent directly solving customer issues.

Other services that pair well with Insights

New Relic has a full suite of products our mutual customers use together. Henry shared a bit about how those services best fit together, and one of most creative use cases for Insights; it turns out to be a very useful platform for gathering and using data.

Ecommerce, Black Friday and Insights

It’s already September, and that means Black Friday is only a few weeks away. We wanted to find out what features of Insights might be most useful for ecommerce sites. Henry described how to determine a baseline to measure against it, and we discussed one of our favorite topics, load testing. Henry recommended a healthy dose of load testing going into the Black Friday season, especially for new customers who might not have historical data to go off of.

Finally, Henry offered recommendations for new customers in the implementation phase he believes can provide the most return. He recommended using Insights to track usernames, and what each individual user does on the site. This can provide insight (I knew I couldn’t keep my no pun promise) into which customers have adopted new features, which continue to use older features, and how they interact with the site. This information can help provide a much more rewarding customer experience.

That’s it for this week, be sure to tune in every week, live at 1 p.m. central, or check out the on-demand audio podcasts available via iTunes, or your favorite podcasting app.

Alan is a former Racker, who also helped create the Stevie Award winning onboarding program for cloud collaboration suite Central Desktop, working directly with companies and organizations like, Sesame Workshop, and IEEE. When he's not helping customers learn how to build awesome things in the cloud, he can be found performing improv comedy with ComedySportz San Antonio, or volunteering with the Alamo Beard Club.


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