Guidewire Drives Cloud Migration and Customer Support with PagerDuty

Size: 1,001 - 5,000 Employees

Industry: Technology

Location: San Francisco, California

Customer Since: 2013

Key Integrations:

Sumo Logic

Guidewire provides cloud services to property and casualty insurers around the globe. Its platform offers innovative services for insurers to manage underwriting and policy administration, claims management, and billing. Guidewire has several hundred customers including Allianz, MAPFRE, MetLife, and Nationwide.

With its transition to cloud-based solutions, Guidewire changed its operating support model to ensure 24/7/365 service availability for its customers, while reducing costs associated with the traditional follow-the-sun support model. However, the company’s cloud migration journey has also enabled it to streamline operations across other functional areas, with PagerDuty as the driving force.

Michael Nguyen is a First Responders Team Manager, which is part of the Customer and Cloud Operations (CCO) organization that oversees customer service operations. The First Responders team manages customer support tickets and provides proactive system monitoring. As he explained, “PagerDuty came in at the very beginning of our cloud journey and it’s been quickly adopted. All of the teams within Guidewire have a different story on how they’re using PagerDuty.”

Guidewire's average response time is now 3.5 minutes

Using PagerDuty for Customer and Cloud Support

For years, Guidewire offered on-premises software to its customers. However, the shift to cloud demanded a more real-time response to customer issues, which led to the creation of the Customer and Cloud Operations (CCO) organization. “Moving to the cloud means our mission-critical services have to be available 24/7 for customers. We needed to be proactive in identifying customer issues and responding fast. We needed a comprehensive and reliable system to manage our increasingly complex digital operations,” explained Nguyen.

At the start of Guidewire’s cloud journey, the CCO team utilized tools such as Sumo Logic, Sentry, and DataDog for monitoring application and infrastructure health. In order to scale, the team brought on PagerDuty at the beginning of this transformation as a way to integrate all of their monitoring tools, design the response based on impact level, and engage the correct stakeholders. “We needed to get this information to people, to give visibility to a variety of different areas. And the first thing that came to mind was PagerDuty,” said Mike Riella, Senior Manager of Cloud Operations.

Expanding PagerDuty Adoption Across the Organization

Shortly thereafter, the Product Development team also adopted PagerDuty, as the shift to cloud enabled more collaboration with the CCO team and a direct line into the customer experience. “We work directly with Product Development as a lot of things can break, go wrong, or you need someone with that high level of expertise. So that’s where PagerDuty has come in,” said Riella. Using PagerDuty’s escalation policies, the CCO team can directly engage the Product Development team if needed.

As PagerDuty adoption grew rapidly, the Guidewire BizTech team was brought in to manage PagerDuty at the corporate level, which led to their own adoption of PagerDuty. Dejan Nedic, Director of Production Services, is part of the BizTech team supporting and monitoring internal systems and applications, with a follow-the-sun support model of technical support staff distributed globally.

Similar to the CCO team, the BizTech team also integrated and centralized all of its monitoring tools into PagerDuty. When an incident arises, the appropriate support engineer is notified during their business hours, avoiding any off-hours disruption for other members of the team in different time zones. “It’s impossible to organize a follow-the-sun model without the proper tooling. PagerDuty plays the pivotal role there; it provides an easy way to communicate and escalate, with one view that’s a single pane of glass,” explained Nedic.

Most recently, the Guidewire Security Operations (SecOps) team adopted PagerDuty to ensure high-priority issues flagged by the team’s security vendor are always addressed. Rather than rely on a single phone number for the entire SecOps team, the vendor sends an email to PagerDuty, which automatically triggers SMS, phone and email notifications to the appropriate resource, with escalation policies to ensure that someone responds. Steve Kavanagh, SecOps Senior Engineer, explained, “the Security Operations team is a 24×7 operation. We have to react within a couple of minutes and that’s where we’re using PagerDuty—for mission-critical priorities.”

“Guidewire has aggressive SLAs with penalties if we don’t meet our commitments, so this extreme availability needs a lot of quick action facilitated by PagerDuty.”

– Muhammad Khan, Critical Escalation Manager, Guidewire

Increased Cross-Team Collaboration

To date, 17 teams within Guidewire have adopted PagerDuty, which has improved collaboration among teams so that incidents can be escalated and resolved quickly. “The average response time is 3.5 minutes, and most teams respond within two minutes,” shared Muhammad Khan, Critical Escalation Manager on the Guidewire Escalation Team that manages high-severity incidents. “Guidewire has aggressive SLAs with penalties if we don’t meet our commitments, so this extreme availability needs a lot of quick action facilitated by PagerDuty.”

For high-severity incidents, Guidewire even has its senior executives on PagerDuty. The Executive Duty Officer (EDO) team is part of the escalation process where executives follow a 14-week on-call rotation to help make time-critical decisions when every second counts.

In describing the EDO program, Paul Allen, Senior Manager of the Guidewire Escalation Team, explained, “The team can jump on a call to provide that executive oversight and join joint customer calls whenever those are necessary. That’s another way PagerDuty can help us demonstrate how important these issues are to our customers and make sure that we have good decision making on the call.”

“PagerDuty provides us with a flexible and comprehensive real-time digital operations platform. We don’t know how we’d support our customers without it.”

– Michael Nguyen, First Responders Team Manager, Guidewire

Benefits of PagerDuty

Digital operations management has improved as more teams within Guidewire have adopted PagerDuty, with benefits including:

  • Streamlined incident response from seamless integration with tools such as Datadog, Sumo Logic, Sentry, Jira, and Slack
  • Rapid identification of service issues, resulting in faster response and resolution times and lower risk of costly SLA breaches for the CCO organization and Customer Support team
  • Better cross-team collaboration with real-time access to Product Development specialists
  • Faster decision making on critical issues through the EDO program
  • Less employee burnout driven by successful implementation of a follow-the-sun support model within the BizTech team
  • Quick and automated response for mission-critical issues within the SecOps team

“PagerDuty provides us with a flexible and comprehensive real-time digital operations platform,” said Nguyen. “We don’t know how we’d support our customers without it.”

Future Integration and Feature Rollouts

Looking forward, Guidewire plans to use more of PagerDuty’s Event Intelligence capabilities to further reduce alert noise and create more efficient escalation paths. Guidewire’s Customer Service team also wants to integrate PagerDuty into Salesforce Service Cloud so that the Customer Service team can gain greater visibility into incident data directly in Service Cloud. This will allow them to update customers about issues more easily and quickly.

“We think this is going to save us 10 minutes per incident—a quarter of our error budget that we’ll get back just by adding that integration,” explained Allen.

“When it comes to which platform to choose for mobilizing people when things happen, PagerDuty is the first thing anybody thinks of,” said Riella. “At Guidewire, we have been super happy with our partnership with PagerDuty. People are fierce users of the platform.”

To learn how PagerDuty can help your team make things simple and transform operations in a digital-first world, contact your account manager or try a 14-day free trial today.