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Proposed Use Case - Incident Management

Who to contact

PMM PM
@supadhyaya @kbychu

The Market Viewpoint

Incident Management

Downtime is expensive. The cost of downtime also compounds because customers lose trust every time your product is not available or is unreliable. It behooves organizations to not just build resilient applications that are available 24x7, but also enable an incident response capability that is efficient and reliable.

Because downtime is expensive. There is high pressure for the team responsible for incident management. When the team lacks the right tools to respond to incidents, their jobs become unnecessarily stressful and burn-out occurs. This snowballs into more outages leading to poor business outcomes.

Incident Management is a critical tool in your DevOps toolbox. The right incident management tool helps incident responders to be notified, streamlines communication and coordination, assists in diagnosing problems, facilitates remediation, and helps your entire organization to learn and to improve.

Personas

User Persona

Buyer Personas

Buyers are going to be Senior Managers or Directors of engineering, infrastructure, operations, or reliability teams. They typically lead 10-100 people depending on the set up of the company.

Industry Analyst Resources

Incident Management is frequently referred to as Incident Response from the analyst perspective. Sometimes it is categorized under ITSM (IT Service Management)

Market Requirements

Integrate alerting sources

Ability to integrate with any alerting source and consume alerts for IT service disruptions or outages. Alerts can be received in HTTP or email formats. Often tools will provide proprietary

Alert Triage

All incoming alerts are aggregated in a list to streamline triage. Each alert has a detail page that shows the payload and an audit trail of actions taken on the alert. The status of an alert can be changed to show state and progress and alerts can be assigned to demonstrate ownship.

Incident Response

All incidents are aggregated in a list to streamline triage. They also show up in Issue lits and on issue boards to fit the unique workflows of different teams. Incidents can be created manually or automatically from an alert. When an incident is created from an alert, it contains all of the alerts details. Incidents coordinate response and collboration.

On-call Schedule Management

Set-up schedules for responding on-call. Admins have flexible options for creating schedules and adding responders to the schedules. Schedules are used in Escalation policies to identify who is on-call when an alert is triggered. Responders get to set up paging policies with preferred paging methods.

Post Incident Review

Review what happened during a fire-fight in a blameless setting. Walk through the incident timeline and notate it with learnings, places to improve, and things to investigate. Create after action items to continuously improve.

The GitLab Solution

How GitLab Meets the Market Requirements

Market Requirements How GitLab Delivers Today Demos
Integrate alerting sources We offer the ability to create HTTP endpoints for customers to send alert to. We offer a proprietary Prometheus integrations that recieves alerts from AlertManager TBD
Alert Triage Users can triage alerts in the alerts list with column sorting capabilities to filter to the most important ones. Clicking on an alert takes the user to the alert details where the user can view the payload, change the status, and assign it to someone. All actions taken on the alert appear as a system note in the audit trail for the alert. TBD
Incident Response Users can create incident manually or set up a project to have them created automatically for all alerts that are created in GitLab. Incidents contain alert details, an editable description, and comments so users can collaborate during a fire fight. A user can promote the incident to an externally facing status page to communicate with external stakeholders. TBD
On-call schedule management On-call schedule management MVC is planned to release in 13.10. The MVC will enable users to create a single schedule in a project that contains multiple rotations. All alerts received to that project will email the on-call responder in the scehdule. TBD
Post Incident Review Users can create an issue and link it to a closed Incident to execute the Post Incident Review. After action items can be created as additional issues. TBD

Top 3 Differentiators and Key Features

Differentiator Value Proof Point
On-call schedule management integrated with your dev platform Easily transition your development to being on-call for the code that they write TBD
Triage alerts and incidents in the same platform where you will deploy the fix Shorten time to resolution. Easily associate incidents and patches + after actions items TBD

Competitive Comparison

Competitor Market Position Strengths Weaknesses
PagerDuty Stand-alone incident management tool. Entrenched in the enterprise. We are starting to see them lose their foothold as the market shifts towards workflow tools including incident management versus companies relying on one specific tool. Came into market on the right wave. Has a large customer base that is entrenched in the tool and it is hard to get a company to switch incident management platforms. Robust feature set. Cloud based HA solution. Considered very expensive. Stand alone tool that does nothing else. Must be integrated with everything. Has a rap for poor customer service/success.
Opsgenie Part of the Atlassian product suite - acquired in 2018. Less market share than PagerDuty - we rarely hear of GitLab customers using it. Considered "more progressive". One example of an Incident Management company becoming an offering of a workflow tool. Very flexible tool with an intutive interface. Strong brand. TBD
ServiceNow Huge workflow tool that is entrenched in the enterprise. Has been slowly developing out-of-the-box incident management workflows for the last several years. Leans towards enabling traditional ITSM/ITL workflows. Very flexible tool that offers users options to customize everything. Can easily expand to on-call teams because it is likely being used in other parts of the business. Requires a lot of set up. People are not going to purchase it just for Incident Management. Lacks Incident Management specialized experience and features.
Splunk On-call Formed by the VictorOps acquisition in 2018. Rebranded to Splunk On-call at the end of 2020. Is one part of three that makes up the Splunk Observability suite. Has a small marketshare. VictorOps & Splunk have a very strong brand and a following. Splunk has divested in Splunk on-call and reduced team responsible for it. Users are not going to purchase Splunk just fo Splunk on-call. Splunk itself is very expensive. Tool is inflexible and is difficult for large teams to use.
Xmatters      
DataDog Incident Management A relatively new addition to DataDog's observability platform, introduced in 2020. It has the advantage of having monitoring and incident response all housed within one integrated application. DataDog is a market leader in the Monitoring space and has a large pre-existing customer base to expand into. Relatively new. Does not have on-call schedule management meaning that someone would also need an incident management tool to use it. Is proprietary to DataDog.

Enablement & Training

Use Cases

This table shows the recommended use cases to adopt, links to product documentation, the respective subscription tier for the use case, and product analytics metrics.

Use Case Description Links to documentation Applicable Subscription Tier Metrics
SRE team This is a team of 10-30 people at a progressive company. In addition to responding on-call to incidents, they are involved in the architecture and maintenance of the infrastructure of the cloud-native services their company provides. They are agile and effective. They are committed to continuous improvement and have post-incident reviews built into their regular practices. They evangelize DevOps throughout their organization. They try to automate as much of their workfflows as possible. This type of team will be the ones submitting the most feaure requests and really pushing us (GitLab) to be more innovative. Ultimate TBD  
Development team This team can range from 10-500 people. This is a team of engineers who are responsible for developing the software. They have recently been asked to be on-call as their organization moves through the DevOps transformation. They will rarely solve an incident themselves, they are much more likely to be paged to join a fire-fight with operations team members. More progressive organizations will have figured out a way to page engineers based on the area of the code-base they contribute to. In these teams it is common to find a lot of single points of failure (i.e. Senior team members that has a lot of domain knowledge) Premium, Ultimate TBD  
Support team This team is typically 5-20 people and usually belongs to a much larger Support department. Support teams are reactive to customer reported outages and are the liasion between the company and the customer during a fire-fight. They handle stakeholder communication. We find these teams as traditional and progressive companies alike. Support teams are going to be satisfied with a "just-good-enough" solution. Premium, Ultimate TBD  

Discovery Questions

|Opening Question|Answer|Response & Follow-up Questions|Things to listen for| |—————-|——|——————————|——————–| |What tools are you using for Incident Management today?|"Home-grown. We built and maintain our own solution."|Wow! Seems like a lot of work to create an maintain. Tell me about your system.|Maintenance is time consuming and unreliable, we couldn't afford a real tool| ||"We use PagerDuty/Opsgenie/ServiceNow."|Tell me about your experience using that tool.|It's expensive, we are using the free or cheapest tier, customer support is poor, it is missing feature X|

Key Value (at tiers)

Premium

Ultimate

Customer Proof Points

Quotes and reviews

Case Studies

References to help you close

Resources

Direction

Check out the Incident Management category direction page for future vision and plans.

Documentation

Incident Management documentation

Presentations

Whitepapers and infographics

Videos (including basic demo videos)

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