As it scaled, Acquia needed to manage infrastructure growth, reduce the complexity of its technology stack and save time for its busy teams.
With Splunk Infrastructure Monitoring (formerly SignalFX), Acquia exceeded its goals — slashing support times, resolving problems faster and making life better for both customers and the Acquia team.
Acquia helps companies build digital customer experiences.
But after experiencing rapid growth and customer acquisition, the company’s operations team faced an onslaught of continually rising demands.
Simultaneously, Acquia’s monitoring was breaking down. It took 30 seconds to load overview metrics, frustrating employees and customers. Technical managers spent up to an hour a day helping customer support staff identify issues and resolve cases. Compounding the problem was the fact that the available monitoring data was both incomplete and untrustworthy. Information was cobbled together from disparate sources, error-prone and visually unappealing. Customer support operators had to dig for data while customer problems went unresolved. Operators couldn’t share data with customers, and often didn’t even share it with each other.
The company needed more robust business tools to manage its infrastructure growth and the increasing complexity of its technology stack.
Build or Buy? The Case for Splunk and AWS
As Acquia evaluated its options, it quickly became apparent that they should take a page from their customers — turn to a SaaS-based provider whose sole purpose is monitoring, so that they themselves could remain focused on their core competency. “Going with a hosted solution seemed intuitive,” says Aaron “Checo” Pacheco, Product Manager for Acquia’s product delivery infrastructure.
Acquia chose Splunk Infrastructure Monitoring — part of the Splunk Data-to-EverythingTM Platform — and AWS. “Out of the box, Splunk had nearly all of the integrations we needed for our complex environment. It was robust enough for our technical teams, yet easy enough for our nontechnical users,” says Pacheco. “Acquia chose to partner with AWS because it was and has remained the most innovative global cloud platform. Our partnership with AWS allows us to serve our customers’ evolving needs year after year with resiliency, reliability and a robust set of tools and services.”
Time and Cost Savings, With Faster Problem-Solving
Today, Acquia is solving customer problems faster and more efficiently than ever before. The total time spent across teams to resolve the typical customer service call has gone from an average of one hour to just minutes. More than half of Acquia’s 800 employees regularly use Splunk Infrastructure Monitoring. Pacheco estimates that Splunk has saved each technical employee about an hour a day.
One example of this time saving occurred when an operator noticed that CPUs for a given service were hitting 100 percent utilization, while the business activity level was unchanged. It turned out a MySQL bug was jamming up the whole system. A hot fix was issued, and utilization levels returned to normal, enabled by better real-time visibility with Splunk Infrastructure Monitoring.
Acquia’s rapid customer acquisition meant continually rising demands on its operations team. The number of incidents increased from an average of 1,800 per month a year ago to 2,300 most recently. With Splunk's help, the average monthly hours spent on customer support have been reduced from 414 to 391, even as the incident volume has risen. Average time spent per incident has dropped from 0.23 hours to 0.17 hours — a reduction of 26%.
Measurable results include:
“These productivity gains save us at least 138 hours per month, or close to that of a full-time employee,” says Pacheco. All told, Pacheco estimates that the value of the time saved across teams at Acquia is roughly $1 million annually.
Extending Insights and Monitoring to Customers
Acquia has also taken the Splunk and AWS solution a step further: Data from Splunk Infrastructure Monitoring is embedded directly into Acquia’s customer portals so that customers can self-serve, troubleshoot and plan capacity. With better informed customers, and Acquia’s account managers providing transparent usage metrics, the team can achieve better business outcomes, faster.
“Customers come to us saying ‘I looked at the data and it shows I need to buy more capacity’ because they have access to their data,” says Pacheco. “It makes selling and customer satisfaction so much easier.”
Data-Driven DevOps Improves Organizational Efficiency
After moving to Splunk and AWS, Acquia’s operations are more efficient. The SaaS solution helps the engineering team release code quicker and more reliably, enables technical support teams to troubleshoot issues immediately, and even gives Acquia’s customers the ability to directly monitor the capacity of their own services.
“With Splunk Infrastructure Monitoring, we can load literally dozens of graphs in seconds,” says Pacheco. “Complex data is visually represented in beautiful graphs, so users can instantly understand what’s going on. Our team trusts the information, so we can have conversations based on the data and easily share screen shots with customers, so everyone is on the same page.
“With Splunk, you are getting more than great products. Their people are incredible, doing whatever it takes to help us succeed,” says Pacheco.