When It Comes to Log Management, What’s a Feature Worth?

 

Making decisions about what goes onto a product roadmap is always a bit of a challenge.  As director of product management here at Loggly, I spend every day discussing the merits of a particular feature with my colleagues and trying to figure out how to trade it off against everything else my customers want and need. No matter whether you’re at a large company or a scrappy startup, there are never enough developers to get everything you’d like to see in your product, so you prioritize.

At Loggly we’ve earned thousands of customers by focusing on exactly what they NEED to solve their operational issues. It’s that focus that keeps our product responsive to the market and allows us to put out very targeted product additions every few weeks based on continually talking to our customers and mapping against our vision of Responsive Log Management.

I recently had a conversation with a Loggly customer who was using no less than four different log management products. When I asked why, he told me that each one had a few specific features that he just couldn’t live without. In one case, he was paying a hefty subscription fee based on the value of just one feature (a feature that will be available in Loggly in the very near future!).

My discussion got me to thinking, what is each Loggly feature really worth? Is it worth the same if it helps one Fortune 500 company or 100 small ones? As a cloud-centric service, our customer base includes both and with 3,500+ customers we design our services to be consumed widely. So, is it worth the same if it compels 20 new customers to try Loggly or 10 existing customers to send us more of their log data?  The truth lies somewhere in the middle and we balance it by aligning to our mantra: to be the quickest path to solving operational issues.

I think that customer demand for new features is actually one of the best hallmarks of success. No matter how smart you are, you’ll never be able to anticipate all of the imaginative new ways that someone could use your product. And every new request, and every new use case, provides the clues you can use to uncover a feature’s real value.

Many software companies would only take the time to talk to the big fish, but we like to get an intersection of all different types of customers. In fact, I love the squeakiest wheels and wish that we had more of them as customers.

The sum of the features is worth much more than the cost.  With each customer using the service differently, the true value of the feature is an outcome that enables a customer to solve their operational issue, faster.  You can’t put a price on that — but you measure it in churn… and we have a very respectable number as testament to the focus.

If you’re using our service and wondering how to get feedback to us, there are a number of ways directly from the Loggly application.  Log in & click “Help” to either post to our community forum or send Feedback directly to the Product team.


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