Engage with your customers and solve their problems
Chellasamy Jamburajan (Chella) – Founder of AlertOps began his career selling PC’s. He completed his Masters in Computer Application in India and went to the US in 1997. There, he joined Cyber Korp’s Business Development unit and went on to become a partner for Cyber Korp in 2001. In 2010 a problem presented itself at one of Chella’s customers, a fortune 100 firm with a major online e-Commerce presence. The customer was managing global operations in multiple data centers, as well as managing all shared services. Chella and his team were providing IT support services. Whenever there was a major incident, the IT operations team had to scramble to notify the right people. Major outages required gathering large multi-functional teams in order to trouble shoot the problem. Despite their best efforts, they could not get these large teams together in less than 35 minutes which was creating a lot of losses for them. They were using a combination of Excel sheets with each person’s contact details and Exchange groups to send out emails and pages. Often times, they went through several attempts to contact team members by email, desk phone and mobile phone.
What was needed was a solution that could reach the right person, the first time. Every time. Chella went to build a product to solve the customers problem of reaching out to people and letting them know about the incident and AlertOps was born. He began to demonstrate his MVP to his customer who liked what he saw because fixed one of his broken business process – manually reaching out to the people whenever they had issues. The customer began piloting this with a few users by simulating an alert situation and trying to reach out to people. They were able to successfully reach out to the relevant people within 2 minutes because of the automated solution and the customer became very happy. But the customer heading one of the divisions wanted Chella and team to be able to reach out to other stakeholders and get their go ahead also because this involved running the operations of other departments using servers for which IT was only managing the severs.
Chella and team went out to multiple stakeholders and began explaining the business benefits of this product and began demonstrating. There was a bit of initial resistance because the other division stakeholders were used to the 30 minute delay in reaching out to people and were not sure if this automated solution would really work. They managed to get hold of one stakeholder who was willing to try it and gave them a 40 user trial order which they converted to a confirmed Purchase Order. Chella and team took the success of this initial product to other departments and began demonstrating that to the other departments. They built the trust and the other stakeholders began discussing their needs and were discussing more problems which they were having and this was music to them because they were able to modify the product based on the real time learnings and also built powerful dashboards which began capturing the attention of the top management. The success of one department led to increase in the users in other departments and now the total number of users have exceeded 2000 within the same organization.
Chella’s advice to startups would be to know a way to figure out a way to engage with a prospect to understand their needs. Every industry has a problem and it is in your hands to make a solution to solve the problem. No customer will fund you in the initial days but they will be very happy to pay for a startup product also if you are able to show them that this will solve their problems. He also advices startups to be ready to give before taking. Go out of the way to help your clients and solve their problems and deliver what you promise.
Today, AlertOps (www.alertops.com) has around 5000 active users. AlertOps’ customers range from start-ups to Fortune 500 and government agencies. AlertOps is a completely cloud hosted SaaS product, which can be integrated with several monitoring tools,