The goal of the Customer Reference Program is to provide opportunities for customers to share their story on how GitLab has helped them overcome the challenges, blockers and pain points within their organizations. The Reference Program Managers work as a conduit to help connect customers with opportunities by balancing customer requests with company demands. By providing a single point for outreach to customers, the CRP team prevents customer burnout, sales team burnout, and ensures a diversity of customer stories are shared publicly.
Who we are
Team of Experienced Customer Reference Professionals who are focused on building relationships within GitLab and with customers.
The team gathers and builds information and relationships with the purpose of distilling these impactful insights into action.
Strategic driver of the Customer Reference Program
To manage our customer reference relationships like the precious resources they are to the maximum, quantified & qualified benefit for both customers and GitLab.
Goals of the Gitlab Customer Reference Program
Credibility -Reinforce our credibility as an end-to-end DevOps solution partner.
Shorten the sales cycle - Having our advocates involved with sharing their story with potential sales, analysts and the marketplace can help potential sales close sooner
Increase Revenue - A successful Customer Reference Program helps increase revenue by attracting new clients and increasing retention rates.
Customer Advocacy - Encourage our customers to share their success stories with others who are learning about or evaluating GitLab.
Align with our customer value drivers - Our program reflects our customer values drivers of increasing operational efficiencies, delivering products faster and reducing security and compliance risk.
To create a new issue around the Customer Reference Program, open an issue on the Customer Reference Program Board.
Make sure it has the label Customer Reference Program. Feel free to add any applicable labels around the request. Assign to Reference Program Manager as needed.
Customer Case Studies
The most recent customer case studies are found on the GitLab customer's page.
When we build case studies, we need to have quantifiable metrics and business value to help describe how GitLab helped a customer achieve a significant business result. Our case studies should align with our customer value drivers. Find below a sample of the customer value drivers that we need to find in a good case study.
Increase Operational Efficiency
Improved collaboration and sharing of best practice; one integrated platform for all developers to use
Reduction in toolchain complexity
More frequent deploys - related to cycle time, but easier to measure
Reduced IT spend - We reduced budget by x. Or we saved $ with GitLab
Improved efficiency - We shipped more features in the same time…
Deliver Better Products Faster
Improved cycle time - the time it takes for an idea to reach production
Reduced defects / errors
Reduced security issues/vulnerability
Decrease of customer support calls
Increase revenue, increase in customers and in market share
Reduce Security and Compliance Risk
Increase in % of on time, on budget releases
Increase in % of critical security vulnerabilities scanned
Increase in % of code scanned
Increase in audit pass rate; time spent on audits has reduced
MTTR (Mean time to resolution) of security vulnerabilities has reduced
If a proposed customer case study doesn't have at least one metric to include, then we consider working with the account team to help identify a solid metric before building the case study.
Common Interview questions
Interview Questions: (Select the questions we should ask)
What insights do you have that might make a good case study today?
Describe what your organization does, how the software is used, and how your team helps solve business challenges.
What problem were you trying to solve when you were looking at GitLab?
What was your process before using GitLab?
Why did you choose to replace your current tooling?
What were the negative consequences of your previous environment?
What would have happened if you hadn't replaced your tooling
How was this problem affecting you?
What products were you using before using GitLab?
What were the required capabilities you were looking for?
Why did you choose GitLab?
What would have happened if you hadn't selected GitLab?
Feedback on GitLab
How did GitLab solve those problems you were suffering from?
Which teams are using GitLab?
What do users say about GitLab?
Impact of GitLab
What are the positive business outcomes of introducing GitLab?
What are some initial successes resulting from moving to GitLab?
Can you share any larger successes?
Value Driver 1 - Increasing Operational Efficiencies
Has GitLab simplified workflow?
How has GitLab enabled cross-functional relationships?
How has it helped modernize architecture?
What are some initial successes resulting from moving to GitLab?
What does your current workflow look like?
What other tools do you have plugged into GitLab?
Are you using AWS, GCP, Azure?
Can you describe how your deployments look?
How does GitLab plug into your cloud environment?
Value Driver 2 - Deliver Better Products Faster
Are your processes and tools now more streamlined? Can you describe what the process looks like now?
How does having control and visibility of the projects help with planning and governance?
Do your developer teams feel more connected and empowered?
How has detecting bugs earlier in the lifecycle impacted the output?
Value Driver 3 - Reduce Security and Compliance Risk
Are projects delivering on time and on budget?
How has the additional security testing impacted your projects?
Are audits quicker and seamless now?
Metrics of GitLab
Do you have any metrics available?
How has GitLab impacted your cycle time?
Have you measured throughput/Lead time? Can you give a before and after?
What does your deployment frequency look like?
Has there been an impact on change failure rate?
Is your MTTR (mean time to resolution) improved?
What percentage of your releases are now on time and on budget?
Are you catching bugs earlier? Are you catching bugs that would have previously been missed?
What percentage of your code is now scanned?
What percentage of critical security vulnerabilities that previously escaped development have been caught?
Has GitLab helped you achieve the KPIs you set out to solve?
Customer Use Case Questions
Source Code Management (SCM)
How does your team create, manage and protect your project artifacts. (source code, designs, configuration, etc)?
How were you managing project assets prior to GitLab?
Does having one SCM tool improve your development process (efficiency, speed, quality, etc)?
Continous Integration (CI)
How are you automating software development processes, testing and building code?
How does GitLab Continuous Integration add value to your SDLC?
How has GitLab Continuous Integration helped improve quality and speed of your delivery?
Continous Delivery (CD)
How are you improving the speed to deploy code?
Has using GitLab Continuous Delivery empowered your developers to deploy changes faster? Whats their feedback?
Has the automated delivery increased your code output while maintaining quality?
Development, Security, and Operations (DevSecOps)
How are you identifying application vulnerabilities during your development process?
How has detecting security bugs earlier impacted the SDLC?
How has GitLab helped support audits and compliance etc?
How has shifting security earlier in the delivery lifecycle impacted your speed to deliver?
Agile Project Management (Agile)
How are you managing your team's backlog, sprints, milestones, and future work?
How do you have visibility of team results?
How do you track/monitor project milestones etc?
Simplify Development Operations / End to End DevOps (DevOps)
How has collaboration across teams improved with GitLab?
How has productivity or efficiency improved using GitLab?
What other benefits have you realized with GitLab and a single application?
Cloud Native Approach to Applications Development (CloudNative)
How are you developing and managing cloud native applications?
How has GitLab helped you to manage cloud native/microservices?
What are the benefits of using GitLab's kubernetes integration?
Infrastructure as Code (GitOps)
How are your operations teams managing different versions of their automation/configuration scripts?
How are you testing and validating your infrastructure scripts?
How are you integrating with other tools to maintain IAC?
Publishing to the website
Start by opening a public issue and an Merge Request in the www-gitlab-com project.
Create a .yml file in /data/case_studies directory under Marketing site repo (www-gitlab-com project). This can be accomplished in the Web IDE.
Keep the name of file same as company name (this is not mandatory but it is easier to manage), for eg; if company name is "Foobar", create a file as /data/case_studies/foobar.yml.
Once created, add contents of the file using the sample Case Study template, or by scraping the content from an existing case study, and then update the values of each property based on case study details, remember, do NOT change property names.
Add images to the same MR. This ensures they show up in the preview app. To accomplish this, stay in your MR and on the left rail open the selected file. Upload the file to the specific directory by hovering over the file and selecting upload file. The Cover image needs to be a .jpg and put in 'source/image/blogimage' directory. The company logo needs to be a color .SVG image and is placed in the 'source/image/case_study_logos' directory.
In the Web IDE, you can view generated Case Study page in the generated App under the URL, for eg; http://localhost:4567/customers/foobar.
Once the case study is ready to publish, remove the WIP label from your MR and ask an approved publisher to post.
Customer references collection
Our written customer case studies are found on the /customers page
Our video customer case studies are found on the YouTube site on this playlist
To initiate a formal case study process, follow the process listed here
Reference Program Process
Adding a new reference customer (Note the process is currently different for SALs)
** Commercial and SMB process**
AE introduces CRM to their customer and the CRM engages with the customer with regards to the Reference program
CRM updates Referenceable customer field in SFDC with information
SAL nominates champion from the contact record from the button at the top of SFDC
SAL fills out the GitLab version customer is using, stages the customer is using and any information about the tech stack
CRM team is notified of nomination in SFDC
If additional information is needed, CRM team will outreach to SAL
Sample Interview Questions/topics for Customer joining the Reference Program
* What led you to GitLab, what problems were you trying to solve?
* Why did you choose GitLab and what other tools were you using or considering?
* What has been your experience with GitLab?
* How did you make the business case for GitLab and what metrics have you seen improve?
* What have you heard from the GitLab users, what was the adoption curve like?
* What has been the most unexpected success you have experienced? Adoption rates? Improved speed?
CRM will review the request and suggest customers for the PR activity to the requestor
CRM will partner with the AO's for the customer outreach to request their participation in the PR activity.
CRM will introduce the PR Manager to the customer to liase with them on the PR activity.
Customer Logo Permission Form
Purpose: To reflect our customer base we use customer logos to promote organizations that are using GitLab
Customer logos appear on our website and other marketing and promotional materials. To respect the intellectual property of companies that use our product, we request a signed permission form to use their logo. To request logo usage from a customer, please send the Logo permission form to the appropriate member of the customer organization.
Once we have received back the signed logo form, send the form to the Customer Reference Team.
The Customer Reference Team will attach the signed form to the account on SFDC.
The Customer Reference Team will add the customer to the Reference Edge software with logo usage selected.
The Customer Reference Team will then add the logo to the customer approved locations (including website and or promotional presentations.)
Customer anecdotes are short, "snackable" customer stories. These can be used on a call or in a meeting to share a point about GitLab by validating it with the customer story. An anecdote can be a summary of a formal, attributable case study or just an anonymous story from a conversation you had with a customer. It's important to keep customers anonymous unless we have explicit approval to use their name.
Remove the complexity of multi-tool environments
A communications company recently shared how they built their technology stack. "GitLab checks so many boxes for us that we don't need other tools." The company then explained they they are operating with a team of 2 people because GitLab makes the environment so simple. They said another organization would probably have to employ 15 people to accomplish what they can.
We hosted a dinner for customers and prospects to mingle with each other and share stories. When the topic of managing the DevOps toolchain came up, the Head of Risk at a large US bank mentioned that she had a team of 20 to keep SDLC tools running in her org. A GitLab customer, the managing director of a product group for a global investment management corporation said, "this is going to break your heart, but I have 1 guy that spends 25% time to keep GitLab up and going for my team of 1500 devs."
Deliver value faster
Pinterest is not a GitLab customer, but uses Kubernetes together with Jenkins. Because there's no native kubernetes integration for Jenkins they needed to dedicate a team of 4 spending 6 months to build a custom system to control access management and allow teams to self-serve builds. This is functionality that comes out of the box on day one with GitLab.
Adoption at an incredible pace
A large enterprise in the software space is a recent GitLab Premium customer wanting to replace Perforce. They predicted that it would take them 3 years to hit 6K active users. But, the developer experience was so superior that they ended up hitting 6K active users in only 8 months.
Security is at the center
A publishing firm is utilizing GitLab best of breed CI/CD functionality and with upcoming product advancements they have informed us that GitLab is a mission critical application for them. They also chose GitLab over the competition because security is currently the biggest aspect they want to improve on internally.
Removing the wait
A financial services company recently stated that their teams went from two week releases to six times per day using GitLab. They are able to release this quickly because they do not need to wait for infrastructure.
No babysitter required
An online gaming development house has a team of 9 looking after its toolstack for SDLC. GitLab is one of the tools in the stack, but is self-sufficient enough that they only deal with it every six months.
Providing happiness everyday
A large media company recently stated that GitLab is the best architected application they have ever used. According to this company, "This product is a joy to use. We cannot believe how much incremental value you crank out with each release."
Ticketmaster is a global event ticketing leader with one of the world's top five e-commerce sites, getting almost 27 million monthly unique visitors. Ticketmaster was using Jenkins for continuous integration. Weighed down by plug-ins and legacy development, their pipeline was taking 2 hours to complete. After getting stuck late on a friday night waiting for the build to complete, their ops team began exploring other options. They were able to run their pipeline on GitLab CI/CD in 8 minutes for a 15x increase.
Axway, is a global enterprise software company with over €300 million in yearly revenue. Axway wanted to adopt DevOps practices but their legacy Subversion toolchain was blocking them. By moving from Subversion to Git using GitLab as their Source Code Management (SCM) solution they were able to implement DevOps integrating GitLab into tools like JIRA, for issue management and Jenkins for continuous integration. They increased deployments from once-a-year to every two weeks.
Paessler AG provides the award-winning PRTG Network Monitoring software used by over 150,000 IT administrators in more than 170 countries. QA engineers were manually testing software with a routine set of tasking taking an hour to complete. By implementing GitLab pipelines they were able to automate QA tasks requiring only 3 minutes of effort for a 120x efficiency increase.
Equinix is a leading global data center company. Their client-side development teams are responsible for building software products and business critical applications, increase development speed, self-serviceability, and ship fixes and features quickly. Equinix needed a version control and continuous integration tool for distributed workflows to support globally distributed development teams.