With phone calls from real people, is devops finally getting its day in the sun?

Allan Thorvaldsen

One company with a feature-rich online dashboard for IT administrators is distinguishing itself further by offering to have its employees call its clients’ IT people when issues arise, rather than just send emails or texts, and thereby show devops people some much-needed respect.

Panorama9 on Wednesday made public its Perfect Pager feature, which is available for customers who pay for the highest level of service. Under the Perfect Pager program, if the initial contact doesn’t answer the phone call — about a network-adapter error, a security breach or some other problem — the Panorama9 employee calls second or third back-up contacts. If they don’t answer, the Panorama9 employee goes back to the top of the list.

Panorama9 is betting that the combination of its human-powered alerting system and its existing dashboard — which includes traffic monitoring, availability management, asset management and compliance management features — will appeal to customers. Other companies, such as PagerDutyrun automated systems for informing IT people about outages and other concerns, with voice-to-text options, text messages or emails but no phone calls from human beings.

For now, Panorama9 is relying on three or so of its current employees to make calls as well as respond to other customer inquiries, Co-Founder and CEO Allan Thorvaldsen told me. Should the feature become a hit, it would hire more people to exclusively make calls.

Could the emergence of Perfect Pager be a sign of more respect being paid to the devops community? Maybe so, Thorvaldsen said. Later this year he wants to add a simple button that would let a client’s executive give the company’s IT administrator a virtual pat on the shoulder, or maybe just send over a smiley face. If complimenting someone were as simple as the push of a button, Thorvaldsen said, “then you would probably do it.”

The shift toward respecting IT staffers coincides with other trends, he said, such as decentralization in companies’ IT policies and the willingness to try implementing a bring-your-own-device policy and cloud computing, along with the ability for devops employees to act quickly in any place with an Internet connection.

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