The netTerrain users have spoken and now it’s time to brag: we just got the results from our latest survey. For starters, exactly 0% of respondents would not recommend netTerrain to others.
Yeah, that’s right: all users — but one — said that they would recommend netTerrain to others. The lone dissenter hasn’t implemented netTerrain yet (so it wasn’t really a diss on the product) and was actually looking forward to recommending it.
Background: About the Survey
Our user satisfaction survey was distributed as an opt-in survey of netTerrain users from around the globe. The survey was more focused on the experience itself and not much the features: as such, it wasn’t directed at any particular product. Users of netTerrain DCIM (our DCIM software, of course), netTerrain OSP (our outside plant and fiber plant network mapping software) and netTerrain Logical (our network documentation and IT visualization software) all participated in the survey.
To keep it simple, we limited the survey to a few basic questions: just four to be precise. More questions would have scared many users away. Note that the survey was anonymous, so we don’t know which customers responded.
Summary: Questions We Asked & The Results
Average number of users per organization?
The first question was about the average number of users that utilize netTerrain in the organization. The results ranged anywhere from 2 to 200 users per organization.
Organizations with smaller numbers of users tend to be small universities or consulting firms (maybe using OSP) and don’t require more than a couple of users. On the larger end of the spectrum, we have Telco, banks, and large government entities (a few have over 500 users but they are not exactly prone to responding to surveys). The average number of users per customer organization is 30.
How often netTerrain is utilized?
The second question we asked was how often they use the product. Half of respondents do it daily, the rest probably on a weekly basis (except that one user not using it yet).
Now, because this question pertains to the particular user responding, and (as evidenced above) on average there are 30 per customer, chances are most customers use netTerrain constantly. To throw in some anecdotal data of my own: most of the organizations I have visited even have a monitor with netTerrain open at all times.
How easy is netTerrain to use?
The third question was the key one: how easy is it to use netTerrain? We were especially eager to hear about this one. In a way the whole point of the survey was to get a feel for the usability of our product. We are a bit obsessed with it.
We provided four options for feedback on netTerrain’s usability:
To average the responses, we assigned a number to each one (from 1 to 4, 4 being hard). We didn’t get a single 4 and only a couple of 3. We got probably close to 60% ‘easy’ and 40% ‘very easy’ for an average of close to 1.6.
What is netTerrain missing?
The final question was what feature would you like to see in netTerrain and of course this one was all over the place, but even here, guess what? It mainly centered around usability related features! What’s the takeaway? For starters, we compiled a nice laundry list of requests, which are starting to sneak into the roadmap, but we got very excited about the results — giving us an extra boost (if we ever needed one) to keep pounding on usability. Our ultimate goal is to build the de-facto IT visualization tool that is so easy to use you don’t need any training to get started!
Conclusion: Usability Scores Home Run (Again)
Bottomline? Usability matters.
In particular, when it comes to DCIM software packages, we believe that the vast majority of offerings out there are hard to implement and borderline-unusable turds. There, I said it.
As a product manager, I am convinced that a big part of the struggles customers go through with DCIM, and the reason many are so disillusioned with the DCIM moniker, has to do with the struggles installing and using them. We’ve heard the horror stories: months to get a friggin’ device modeled, and close to impossible to customize. With netTerrain you can model a device yourself in minutes and add or remove custom fields anywhere, in seconds. But we wanted to hear it from the customers — and we did.
Nearly 100 % of our customers use netTerrain every day or every week and it’s no coincidence that nearly 100% of our customers would describe netTerrain as easy or very easy.
Gartner and company, are you listening? This is what customers want! Easy-to-use software! Not an “ability to market or vision of the DCIM landscape patooty” or whatevers. Repeat with me: easy-to-use software. Everything else ends up as shelfware.