Revolutionizing Incident Management: Rootly’s Competitive Edge

Today, we have the privilege of speaking with Ashley Sawatsky, a seasoned expert in incident management and the Reliability Advocate at Rootly. With an impressive background at companies like Shopify and Disney, Ashley has navigated diverse roles, from customer service to web design, ultimately finding her passion in incident management and reliability engineering.

During the interview, we discussed Rootly’s integral role in incident management, emphasizing its support for remote teams and its integration with Slack for streamlined incident response. Ashley highlights Rootly’s AI capabilities, significantly enhancing incident resolution by identifying past incidents, automating updates like executive summaries and customer communications, and aiding responders with real-time updates.

Watch the full episode here.

Ashley Sawatsky

Reliability Advocate at Rootly

Ashley, many companies are developing various tools for Incident Management. Some companies have been in the market for decades, while others are new and emerging. What distinguishes Rootly from its competitors?

I believe our strong focus on the enterprise use case sets Rootly apart. We support incident response for massive organizations like Nvidia, Cisco, and LinkedIn. Companies of this scale have unique needs, not just in terms of features but also in their expectations for vendor relationships and support experiences.

We also cater to hyper-growth companies like Webflow and Wealthsimple, balancing simplicity, speed of implementation, and ease of use with the depth of functionality required by enterprise users.

Specific differentiators include:

Multi-cloud infrastructure. Rootly is the only incident response platform running on multiple clouds. If AWS goes down, Rootly will still function, ensuring reliability.

Industry-leading support. We offer robust support for Terraform, SCIM, and granular role-based access management, which is crucial for large companies managing sensitive incident data.

Customer partnership. Our customers consistently highlight the long-term partnership and high level of support we provide.

Ashley Sawatsky talks about the unique features at Rootly‘s Incident Management platform.

How does Rootly streamline the entire incident response process, from the first alert to post-incident analysis?

Rootly’s AI enhances the response process by suggesting solutions based on similar past incidents and recommending appropriate playbooks. Once an incident is resolved, Rootly prompts a retrospective to reflect on what happened, what went well, and what could be improved. This continuous learning process helps prevent future incidents.

By consolidating all incident data in one platform, Rootly provides valuable insights into organizational health, such as identifying the most frequent incidents, unstable services, and the most frequently paged teams. This approach supports long-term growth and improvement in incident management.

Rootly AI helps achieve a 91% faster incident resolution. Can you explain which specific features or functionalities contribute to this significant improvement?

Absolutely. AI is deeply integrated into our platform, and it’s essential for staying competitive. Rootly AI leverages information from within the organization’s Rootly instance to connect the dots in incident management.

For example, it can identify similar past incidents and generate time-consuming updates. Typically, someone would need to manually write executive updates, but with Rootly AI, you can request it to create an executive summary and update it every 30 minutes, automating that aspect of the response. Similarly, it can draft customer communications, which you can then review and tweak as needed, saving you the time of compiling updates yourself.

What specific challenges have Rootly addressed to accommodate remote Incident Response teams?

Remote work and remote Incident Response teams are integral to our company’s DNA. From day one, we’ve focused on supporting remote teams, with our primary use case being incident management in Slack. Over the years, our platform’s functionality has expanded significantly, but managing incidents in Slack remains a key feature since most users interact with Rootly this way. Unlike the traditional war room setup, our users are distributed and rely on Slack for coordination.

Rootly addresses the chaos of coordinating multiple moving pieces and concurrent workstreams when team members are not physically together. We streamline the technical response, customer support updates, and even press communications if necessary. Rootly is designed to reduce friction and toil, ensuring everyone stays on the same page and works towards a common goal.

Ashley Sawatsky talks about Rootly’s approach to Incident Management.

When a company is looking for an incident management tool and platform, where should they start, and what critical points should they consider when choosing the right vendor?

I always recommend starting by engaging all teams involved in your incident response process. Understand the specific challenges you’re facing and create a clear list of these challenges that you expect a tool to address. You can prioritize functionalities into must-haves and nice-to-haves. It’s good to distinguish between the two and create a scoring system as you evaluate different tools in the market.

At Rootly, we’ve taken a deliberate approach in the SaaS space that differs from the popular product-led growth (PLG) model. While we offer a free trial, we prefer to have a conversation before customers move from trial to paid plans. This allows us to understand your use cases and challenges and assist with implementation to ensure you’re maximizing the tool’s utility. This engagement also helps us learn from our customers and tailor our support accordingly.

Beyond evaluating tool functionalities, assessing how the vendor interacts with their customers is crucial. Will they disappear after the agreement is signed, or are they committed to supporting you with technical and process-related questions? Understanding this aspect can significantly impact your decision-making process.

Thank you, Ashley, for the insightful discussion on innovative solutions within the Incident Management industry.

Stay tuned for the next interviews!