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How to break up with your vendor

Amy Nguyen
October 02, 2018

How to break up with your vendor

We need to talk…

You’re unsatisfied with one of your monitoring providers. They aren’t responding to your bug reports and support tickets. They want to charge you more than you pay for any other infrastructure contract. They’re missing that one big feature that would be a game changer for your team. You’ve considered finding a new solution, but the thought of migrating your data off their platform sounds more painful than all of these issues combined. So you keep letting things slide until you realize that you’re in the dreaded land of vendor lock-in.

Amy Nguyen and Cory Watson explain how to make a deadline for an infrastructure-critical software migration while ensuring that everyone’s requirements are met and no data has been lost. Amy and Cory demonstrate how to evaluate alternative solutions and gather requirements from your coworkers and detail what happens once you decide to make the switch. You’ll learn how to manage a tight timeline, how to write automated tools for migration, and how to socialize the change across your organization.

Amy Nguyen

October 02, 2018
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  1. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    How to Break Up With
    Your Vendor
    Amy Nguyen (@amyngyn)
    Cory Watson (@gphat)
    Velocity NYC
    October 2, 2018

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  2. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Our background
    ● Combined, we've done four SaaS migrations and managed ~10 contracts
    with SaaS vendors
    ● Stripe Observability team: 9 engineers during our most recent migration
    ● Migration scale:
    ○ Led migrations alone and in large teams
    ○ Hundreds of GBs of data or millions of metrics
    ○ Hundreds of dashboards and queries
    ○ > 1,000 employees
    @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018

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  3. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Evaluation
    Negotiation
    Migration
    Velocity NYC 2018

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  4. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    ● Security questionnaire
    ● SSO and account management
    ● Audit logs
    ● Access controls
    ● GDPR
    ● API tokens
    ● Mutual NDAs
    ● Sensitive data scrubbing
    Work with security and legal ASAP.

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  5. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Identify your most important users.
    @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    ● Who has the most critical workflows
    and/or the largest scale?
    ● What questions are they trying to answer?
    ● How do they want to consume this information?
    (API, dashboards, TV, alerts?)

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  6. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Gather informed feedback.
    ● "Seems fine" is not sufficient.
    ● Pair with someone for an hour to see how
    much they really use the tool
    ● Turn off your old tool and see what happens
    ● Look at audit logs to see total usage

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  7. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Test as many different
    workflows / data types as
    you can during the trial.
    @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018

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  8. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Collect feedback from
    their customers.
    @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    ● How was the contract renewal process?
    ● What features do they use the most?
    ● Any surprises or unexpected behavior?
    ● How responsive is customer support?
    ● How quickly do bug reports get fixed?
    Feature requests?
    ● How have they handled outages and
    contract violations?
    ● How long have they had a contract?
    ● How much data are they sending?
    ● Which teams use the tool?

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  9. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Understand how data
    usage, outages, sudden
    spikes, and quota limits
    are handled.
    @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018

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  10. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Be realistic about
    shiny new features.
    @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018

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  11. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Evaluation
    ● Work with security and legal as soon as possible.
    ● Identify your most important users.
    ● Gather informed feedback.
    ● Test as many different workflows / data types as you can during the trial.
    ● Collect feedback from their customers.
    ● Understand how outages, sudden spikes, and quota limits are handled.
    ● Be realistic about shiny new features.

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  12. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Negotiation
    From the latin “neg” (no) and “otsia” (leisure).
    Yay.

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  13. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Negotiation: Resources
    ● Training?
    ● Do you have a procurement team?
    ● Any help in finance?
    ● Is there teammate that’s done this you can ask?
    ● Friends from other companies?
    ● Know any other customers?

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  14. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Negotiation: Advice
    ● Build or Buy: capex, opex, core competencies, staffing
    ● Understand the money: cost of capital, alignment of fiscal year
    ● Sales folks are probably not your friends.
    ● Really, really learn the billing

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  15. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Negotiation: Advice
    ● What’s it worth to you?
    ● Talk to finance/stakeholders first: What’s the goal?
    ● Pro/Con list
    ● Being the user and the negotiator is hard, need to separate.

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  16. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    ● Month to month flexibility
    ● Prepaid / annual savings
    ● Training freebies
    ● Guaranteed features
    ● Support timeliness
    ● Advisory boards
    Negotiation: Cost Creativity
    ● A la carte features
    ● Brand / logo usage
    ● Term (months, years, etc)
    ● Blog posts, case studies,
    conference talks, etc
    ● Conversion help
    Velocity NYC 2018

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  17. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Negotiation: Teeth
    ● SLAs: Match? Good returns? (3 9s = 8.77H)
    ● Overage costs: Where can they stick you?
    ● Automatic renewal / timelines: Acceptable?
    ● Termination of contract: Terms ok?
    ● Requirements: Getting done?

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  18. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Negotiation
    ● Check for resources: class, finance, coworkers, friends, customers
    ● Establish value, work with stakeholders
    ● Build v Buy: capex, opex, core competency, staffing
    ● Pro Con / Plus Minus lists
    ● Get creative with cost
    ● Match up terms with value and need

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  19. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Migration

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  20. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Migration: How much
    are you going to do?
    ● You can and should automate the
    process.
    ● Collect metrics for how often people
    use each object.
    ● Write scripts to parse and transform
    based off each tool's API.
    ○ Grammar: Parslet.
    API for creating resources: Terraform
    provider.
    ● Get fancy: Chrome extensions.
    ● Document everything.
    @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018

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  21. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Migration: What's your plan?
    ● Have a migration schedule before
    you sign the contract.
    ● Add an extra month. Just kidding,
    I meant two months.
    ● Set an end date for shutting off
    the old tool.
    @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018

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  22. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Migration: Point of No Return
    ● Like the “climax” of a movie
    ● Prepare for this phase!
    ● Save up some fun stuff (order cupcakes, have a dance party)
    ● Start a “nice things” thread where people send positive things they hear
    ● Reach out to leadership to invigorate the team
    ● Get creative!
    @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018

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  23. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Migration: Some Managerial Tips
    ● Use this opportunity to empower others
    ● Be very clear with assignments and expectations
    ● Give clear updates to Leadership
    ● Engage dissent early and often
    ● Follow up with tips, guidance, and information

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  24. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Migration: Socializing
    ● Have a message
    ● Repeat the message
    ● Set a cadence for updates, keep em realistic
    ● Have a bit of fun with your updates (gifs, comic sans, jokes, etc)
    ● Prompt writers, share responsibility
    ● Measure / speak to the message

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  25. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Migration
    ● Plan your effort and data
    ● Automate
    ● Set a real end date
    ● Share the load, empower others
    ● Communicate with customers and leadership
    ● Plan for the low points

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  26. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Evaluation
    Negotiation
    Migration

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  27. @amyngyn, @gphat Velocity NYC 2018
    Thanks!
    amynguyen.net
    onemogin.com
    stripe.com/jobs
    Come chat tomorrow at the Observability lunch table!

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