Using Real-Time Operations to Save Lives

by PagerDuty October 29, 2018 | 5 min read

Voices wield power. Staying silent is not an option. We must speak up and honor those who do.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, when communities come together to support victims and survivors of domestic abuse across the world. Earlier this month, SisterDuty, one of PagerDuty’s Employee Resource Groups (ERG), led a campaign to build toiletry kits and raise funds to benefit Casa de las Madres, which offers shelter and support to those at risk of abuse.

These initiatives, led by SisterDuty, reflect PagerDuty’s culture of going beyond ourselves to help others.Through, the company has committed 1% of equity, 1% of product, and 1% of employee time to support organizations driving positive change globally. As part of this pledge, we also recently rolled out Impact Pricing, which offers 10 free licenses for our Platform Team plan to nonprofits and social enterprises devoted to helping better their communities by addressing critical social or environmental challenges. The program aims to increase access for nonprofit organizations who leverage our platform and solutions to more efficiently and effectively achieve their missions.

Redefining Downtime

As technology continues to advance, not only is its application spreading across industries and geographic locations; it is transcending the corporate sphere. “Downtime” is no longer quantified solely by a frozen online shopping cart or a multi-layered DDoS attack, nor result in just a potential loss of revenue on the commercial side.

For some nonprofits that work to support people in danger or in crisis, downtime can lead to a potential loss of life. The ethos of PagerDuty is to improve quality of life for individuals through our technology. Yes, this refers to improving the work-life balance for on-call engineers responsible for managing digital platforms. However, for nonprofit organizations using our platform, this goal has an added dimension of not only improving the way people work, but also protecting and serving the populations and individuals that rely on them in times of acute need.

Today, we are working with organizations like the National Domestic Violence Hotline, Crisis Text Line, and Polaris to ensure 24/7 availability of their platforms and the ability to quickly coordinate stakeholder response so that they can continue to do what they do best: save lives.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is a vital service that provides human connection and practical assistance to victims and survivors of domestic/relationship abuse for 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year. The hotline’s highly trained expert advocates provide life-saving resources, safety planning, and hope to anyone who reaches out for help. Like Crisis Text Line, this team of professionals relies on the consistent availability of their services in order to effectively stay connected with their user base.

Crisis Text Line (CTL) provides a real-time dual-service platform for suicide prevention and crisis intervention. These services enable instantaneous support directly to people who may be severely distressed, in pain, or feeling alone. Because of the time-sensitive and emotional nature of the service, crisis counselors are on call to provide support to people in need every second of the day, which demands constant and consistent service availability. The CTL engineering team leverages the PagerDuty platform for ensuring 24×7 coverage of technical issues while sharing the on-call load—uptime is of the highest priority. In addition, significant upticks in volume of crisis cases also initiates a business response, using PagerDuty to orchestrate a cross-functional team for handling the additional incoming requests.

Polaris is an organization dedicated to ending human trafficking and restoring freedom to survivors. Through the National Human Trafficking Hotline, victims and survivors can connect to Polaris’ counselors, advocates, and law enforcement partners. It also provides a way for people in the community to report incidents. The Polaris tech team uses PagerDuty to escalate urgent issues that come from the hotline through Live Call Routing or through the integration with their help desk. PagerDuty accelerates and streamlines IT support so that responders who need to engage special counselors or the local law enforcement can reach them immediately. As a result of using PagerDuty, the IT team’s incident response process is reduced by roughly one hour for every urgent issue, which translates to an additional 10 people who Polaris is able to reach, help, and rescue every month.

The rapid growth and advancement of technology has empowered companies and organizations to use it to innovate better ways to solve problems, streamline processes, and in this case, save lives. As our CEO Jennifer Tejada pointed out, “Digital isn’t just for businesses. It’s part of the fabric of all organizations that exist today, and it plays a critical role for communities and organizations who rely on technology as much as any Fortune 500 enterprise company. We are excited to offer real-time operations management support to these organizations on the nonprofit side of the spectrum.”

Putting people first is the highest priority at PagerDuty, and we will continue to live by that value and provide the tools that betters the lives of all those we can reach with our technology.