Why New Relic
In-depth performance data and visualization help to enable AppFolio to provide a great experience for its small and mid-sized business customers.
- Achieved the best uptime in its industry for its SaaS solutions
- Released new features faster than ever before, with as many as a dozen new capabilities being introduced on a bi-weekly basis
- Improved decision making with in-depth usage and feature adoption data
Living up to the brand promise
AppFolio creates simple, yet powerful SaaS solutions to the complex challenges faced by property management and legal professionals. “We offer our clients a way to run their whole business from a single login, saving them time and money,” says Eric Hawkins, director of engineering at AppFolio. “It’s really a digital transformation of their business.”
The company’s mission is to deliver what it calls “100% SAFE” solutions – secure, available, fast, and easy. With that goal, AppFolio knew it needed better information on the performance and usage of its software. “From the engineering and operational perspective, we needed a way to collect and analyze performance data and use that insight to make intelligent, informed decisions about our products and our business,” says Hawkins.
The user experience (UX) team was also looking for access to more comprehensive usage data to support its work with AppFolio engineers. “We pair UX team members with engineers on a daily basis to improve the user experience,” says John Cutler, user experience researcher at AppFolio. “We wanted to really scale how we do that and start to capture more actionable data.”
“With the New Relic Platform, we can make sure that our software delivers top performance, even as we grow and add new capabilities. We’ve had the best uptime in the industry and New Relic has been a big part of helping us achieve that.”
Getting visual answers to questions
With New Relic, the AppFolio engineering, UX, and operations teams can now have access to comprehensive information about the performance and usage of the AppFolio applications. “New Relic came at a perfect time for us because we needed access to analytical data that could help us understand how our customers use our solutions so that we can make informed product and business decisions,” says Jon Walker, chief technology officer and founder of AppFolio.
AppFolio started with New Relic® APM™ for daily monitoring of the health of its SaaS solutions, but has since expanded its usage to New Relic Insights™, New Relic Browser™, and New Relic Plugins™. Today, AppFolio relies on the New Relic Plugins for everything from monitoring the health of its applications to providing insight into customer adoption of specific features. “With New Relic, we have measurements from the browser down to the database and back,” says Hawkins. “We get a great deal of value from the transactions and page view data that flows naturally from New Relic APM into New Relic Insights.”
Both Hawkins and Cutler appreciate the data visualization that New Relic Insights provides. “The way New Relic Insights aggregates the data has made it really easy for us to answer questions such as ‘is this something that’s only affecting a small subset of users?’” says Hawkins. For instance, AppFolio used New Relic Insights to create a highly detailed picture of the workflow for the property maintenance function within its software. Using that information, the AppFolio team was able to greatly streamline the steps within the workflow to save time for its users.
When AppFolio wanted to roll out a new feature that would allow property managers in the field to perform property inspections using their mobile devices, it had usage questions that were challenging to answer upfront. “We released this new capability and as adoption slowly ramped up, New Relic Insights gave us the exact information that we needed to know, enabling us to provision accordingly,” says Hawkins.
“New Relic helps identify and predict adoption of features. We can’t do everything we want to do at any given time, so New Relic helps us understand the business case and prioritize what we do.”
Moving faster thanks to greater insight and confidence
As a company that provides SaaS solutions, performance is vitally important for AppFolio. “With the New Relic Platform, we can make sure that our software delivers top performance, even as we grow and add new capabilities,” says Walker. “We’ve had the best uptime in the industry and New Relic has been a big part of helping us achieve that.”
Hawkins and Cutler credit New Relic with helping the company deliver new features faster, releasing a dozen features in any two-week timeframe. “New Relic has enabled our team to be more courageous and to move at a faster pace,” says Hawkins. “Having New Relic is like a safety net; it inspires confidence in our abilities and in our products.” In addition, New Relic helps AppFolio roll out new features in the least disruptive way for its customers. “For beta releases of new features, New Relic helps us gauge and balance disruption so that customers get value immediately but with the least amount of friction,” says Cutler.
The breadth and depth of information AppFolio gets from the New Relic Platform helps enable the company to make more informed product decisions. “New Relic helps us know that we’re moving in the right direction with feature development,” says Cutler. Hawkins concurs, ”New Relic helps identify and predict adoption of features,” says Hawkins. “We can’t do everything we want to do at any given time, so New Relic helps us understand the business case and prioritize what we do.”
AppFolio’s CTO appreciates the true partnership his company has developed with New Relic. “We believe that it is important to partner with our customers to make their business successful,” says Walker. “We get the same feeling from New Relic, that they are truly on our side to help us be successful.” That success shows as AppFolio continues its growth as the software that businesses love to use.