Doing More with Less: Building Greater Operational Efficiency with PagerDuty

by Nancy Lee December 14, 2022 | 6 min read

How many of us can say with confidence that we know a tool inside and out? If you’re like most, you probably use just a small fraction of a product’s features. When it comes to feature-rich software like Microsoft Word or Excel, it’s a safe bet that most users are aware of less than half of the features, and use even less on a regular basis. And the longer we’ve been using a piece of software, the more likely we fall into this trap of feature underutilization. 

I started noticing this in my own life a year and a half ago when a coworker who had recently joined the team told me she found a more efficient way to generate closed captions for our instructional videos. I asked if it was a tool in her Adobe Creative Suite. 

Nope, it’s actually YouTube!” she replied.

“What? That’s amazing!” I said. “How did we not know about this?” I was shocked. For the past 6 months, we had been paying for a separate tool for its closed captioning capabilities when, all along, we could’ve used YouTube’s free captioning feature in our Google accounts. 

More recently, I had my proverbial mind blown yet again when I learned of Slack’s reminder feature. Making my to-do list for the next day, I was scheduling reminders in my Google calendar to follow up with a teammate, call my doctor, and pay the gas bill. My husband looked on in amusement as I added one event after another in my calendar.

“What are you doing?” he asked.  

“Setting reminders for the things I have to do tomorrow,” I replied, mildly annoyed at this interruption to my sacred routine.

“Why don’t you use the Slack reminder feature?” he said. “That way, you’re not filling up half your calendar with reminders and making it hard for people to book meetings.” 

“I had no idea you could do that!” Like the YouTube incident, I was incredulous that I was only learning of this feature now.

As I started scheduling Slack reminders for the following day, I wondered how often we hear our customers use that phrase — “I had no idea you could do that!” It’s not surprising when you think about it. We often purchase a tool for a specific use case. In our haste to implement a solution, we approach the task with blinders on, paying attention to only those features that will help us achieve our goal. “Problem solved!” we declare. Never mind that we only learned a tenth of the software’s capabilities. Years later, we’re still clicking the same buttons and following the same scripts, oblivious to the slew of new features that promise to enhance our user experience.  

It’s human nature to take the path of least resistance. But at a time when many tech companies are being asked to manage costs and do more with less, perhaps a good place to start looking for efficiencies is in our existing investments.

One business area that shines a light on this is Customer Education. At PagerDuty, customer training and enablement sits with PagerDuty University. A comment we often see in our course evaluations is “I had no idea PagerDuty could do [fill in the blank with a feature that’s existed for months or even years]!” Some customers may have started using PagerDuty for on-call management and alerting, and never ventured beyond those basic capabilities. They’ve become so accustomed to using PagerDuty for a single use case that they don’t realize its product portfolio actually encompasses multiple solutions for use cases across their digital operations. 

For organizations facing pressure from the current macroeconomic environment, PagerDuty’s end-to-end digital operations capabilities can help consolidate tool spend and boost productivity by reducing context switching. PagerDuty University helps customers by driving awareness of this end-to-end experience, from pre-incident creation (enriching and routing events) to post-incident mobilization (response automation) to business-wide orchestration (automated stakeholder communication) and beyond. Rather than investing in point solutions that address a single problem, our customers can leverage the solutions they need, when they need it, adopting additional capabilities and products as they continue to evolve their Digital Operations with PagerDuty.  

Those of us who work in Customer Education understand that it’s our job to not only improve a customer’s time to value, but to ensure that they continue to see the return on their investment post-onboarding and beyond. For PagerDuty University, that means making sure that our customers receive proper enablement on PagerDuty’s advanced capabilities such as Event Intelligence and Incident Workflows (in Early Access!), as well as other products and use cases such as Customer Service Operations and Process Automation. Tool consolidation, cost savings, automating away toil, better customer experience — these are some of the biggest ROI our customers walk away with post-training. 

Our instructor-led training courses are centered around achieving customer goals. Rather than training customers on every PagerDuty feature, we first try to understand what business challenges they’re trying to solve, and build training that guides them efficiently to reaching those goals. Often in SaaS, we talk about time to value — we like to think of our technical training team as “guides to value.” 

PagerDuty University’s free, on-demand training complements our instructor-led training by digging into each product feature, situated in real-life scenarios so users always understand the larger context in which these features are used and the problems they solve. Our self-paced eLearning modules are suitable for customers who are trialing a free account, those who want to check out new features, or those who simply prefer the self-serve aspect of on-demand training. 

It should come as no surprise that those of us who work in Education Services love learning. We use that love of learning to drive customer success, which sits at the heart of everything. Whether it’s driving adoption, improving onboarding, or imparting industry best practices, we strive to make sure that we never hear one of our customers say “I had no idea PagerDuty could do that!”