Competing against auto-topology...

Discussion created by dustin.lawler on Sep 10, 2010



This quarter I was in a competitive situation at EMH with What’s Up Gold on the networking side, slam dunk, right? Not so fast…


WUG has put a decent amount of development into their Auto-Topology and RCA product, I was actually given a full tour of it and found that it discovered a decent amount of info, had CMDB type of components integrated into it, and had a fairly flexible designer that could be used once the discovery completed. (I took screenshots like a madman and forwarded my findings over to Adamson. :smileyhappy: )


Anyway, there was no denying that their product was well polished, so instead of knocking it I accepted that it was slick (verbally told him it was hard to compete with – embrace and disarm) and managed to get him to open up:


  • Auto-topology, while critical, was only being used on a handful of sites, so they were monitoring several hundred devices, but only needed topology maps for a few dozen devices
  • Discovery was more important than mapping
  • Once an environment changes, they need to go in and manually re-discover, then re-design the ‘look and feel’ so it’s actually user friendly (visually)

Keeping the above in mind, I approached it by having the prospect take a screenshot of one of their more complex and critical customer sites, from there, I recreated their dashboard within a matter of minutes (15-20) and showed how once it was complete, it could be easily added onto and modified without a full rediscover and redesign. I stressed that to design our dashboards is very similar to designing in Visio, and similar to Visio the product allows users to drag-and-drop the objects, and as you move the nodes, the lines move with them.


Comprehensive discovery (via the NIS) is something we’ve had for a number of years now, once monitored, the Dynamic Views Lists/Detailed views contained the majority of information they needed – this is honestly more than enough for a lot of prospects, don’t let them think they need maps for all devices because fact is, if they have a large environment those start to look kludgy and messy on screen.


In the end the prospect actually liked the views we could produce much more and found that they were more dynamic with what he could add into it with our designer and we won their entire estate.


Below is a screenshot showing our dashboard versus WUG’s – Nimsoft is on the left:


Also, I’m well aware that I could have just taken his image and overlaid our objects onto it, however, by doing this his views become even more rigid and maintenance on them is a nightmare – I generally try to never go this route, it’s fast but in the end it usually hurts us as it just doesn’t scale.


One more example, this one is more complex and was used to help us win business at Chicago Public Schools last Q:



On the left is the actual Visio Diagram the customer uses today, on the right is my dashboard version in the designer – you’ll note that you can see the prospects Visio diagram in the back, I just used it to “trace” over and removed it once complete.


It was actually the Chicago Public Schools example that allowed us to become re-engaged with EMH this quarter, once they saw what was possible using the these screenshots above, he was more open to discuss design versus discover.


I’ve removed the Webber references from the first screenshot and have published it as “Visio Example” in both the MSP and Portal demo sites for everyone to demo.