(Research Triangle Park, N.C.) As part of an ongoing effort to build a stronger technology community in North Carolina, NCTechNews will be publishing Q&A profile sessions with select businesses and organizations throughout our state. In today’s installment, NCTechNews talks with Chris Neal, CEO of BlueStripe Software, which produces transaction performance management solutions including its flagship product, FactFinder.
Q: When did BlueStripe launch and why?
A: For many years, my co-founder Vic Nyman and I have dealt with IT application support teams through our experience building Wily Technology, which was acquired by Computer Associates (CA). We saw the application management market changing due to new application architectures such as virtualization, service-oriented architectures (SOA) and private cloud, which were adding to complexities of IT Operations. In 2007, we confirmed this with IT executives across the Fortune 500 and saw a need for a new approach that manages the whole application system – one that could monitor both transactions and the IT systems they depend on – together. That was the start of BlueStripe.
Q: What type of funding or startup assistance did BlueStripe seek and receive?
A: The co-founders self-funded the company for the first year. After that, we raised investment funding from Trinity Ventures in Silicon Valley and Valhalla Partners in DC. We wanted to pick investors that understood Enterprise IT Software and would add more to the success of BlueStripe than just the funds. Both Trinity and Valhalla are great resources for BlueStripe.
Q: Where is your HQ?
A: BlueStripe is headquartered in Research Triangle Park, N.C.
Q: What are BlueStripe’s core products or services?
A: BlueStripe provides application and transaction performance management solutions for IT Operations and Support teams through our flagship product called FactFinder. FactFinder is a powerful solution that automatically discovers, maps and monitors all applications and transactions running across the infrastructure, helping IT Operations teams quickly solve application performance and availability issues. We believe FactFinder is the only solution with automated application transaction management in a single product for IT Operation teams to monitor and manage the entire application system.
Q: Who are BlueStripe’s competitors, and what are your company’s differentiators?
A: Because BlueStripe helps IT Operations manage the performance of application and transaction systems, we tend to run into conventional APM tools, both from specialist providers, as well as the Big Four systems management companies. But with the growing complexity discussed above, it’s becoming untenable for any one of these solutions to help Operations teams with all the issues they could encounter. There’s simply too much inter-connectivity between transactions, the applications that run them and the underlying infrastructure. The conventional tools, whether focused on applications, transactions or infrastructure, can’t see all the components critical to delivering business services.
BlueStripe is unique in that our FactFinder product sees the dependencies between transactions, applications and the infrastructure, enabling IT teams to quickly get to the heart of any performance problem or outage.
Q: What problems does BlueStripe solve?
A: When end users experience application problems (for example, they can’t log into their account), IT Operations has to fix the problem. The difficulty in doing this lies in the application complexity. For example, a simple login request might cross a dozen or more different machines and platforms conventional management tools can’t keep up with this complexity.
In a recent survey we conducted, 68% of IT executives told us that they have invested in three or more distinct application and transaction management tools. Of those, a whopping 71% still can’t pinpoint the source of transaction problems. The problem is that complexity. FactFinder breaks through the limitations of platform-specific monitoring by tracking transactions and processes as they cross technology tiers, making it easier to pinpoint the exact cause of an application slowdown and fix it quickly.
Q: Does BlueStripe develop new technologies or re-apply existing technologies to solve a problem?
A: BlueStripe focuses on developing new technologies that change the way IT organizations manage business critical applications and transactions. FactFinder includes key application and transaction monitoring technology advancements, including the ability to automatically discover and understand all the dependencies within application systems. In fact, BlueStripe is the only company to deliver a single application management product that can manage all applications, regardless of code or platforms.
Q: Who are BlueStripe’s customers?
A: BlueStripe serves IT Operations teams responsible for deploying and managing their own mission critical application systems. We’re working with IT organizations across several vectors, including enterprise customers like Bank of America, Russell Investments, Principal Financial, Cigna, Bechtel, Jackson-Hewitt, Logica, SAS, State Auto, Unum, Verizon and Network Solutions.
Our customers are successfully implementing BlueStripe solutions to manage their high performance business applications and transactions. In many cases, that goes beyond problem solving into transforming the way IT Operations manages their service delivery.
A good example of this transformation is State Auto Insurance, which was recently featured in a BlueStripe Webinar. During that presentation, FactFinder was described as the key component of State Auto achieving high application performance and availability levels. FactFinder was also described as instrumental in transforming the way State Auto deploys and manages its mission critical applications.
Q: What new products or services will BlueStripe be rolling-out in 2012?
A: In 2012, we will be adding advanced analytic capabilities within FactFinder. In February we are rolling out new analytics inside FactFinder to accelerate root cause analysis of applications and transaction issues by showing users the most likely problem areas when an issue occurs. Using inherent knowledge of transaction paths and dependencies, FactFinder will be able to pare down the number of metrics from millions to a dozen or so for IT teams to focus on.
Q: What makes BlueStripe relevant to the future of your industry?
A: BlueStripe experienced explosive growth in 2011 as the market began to realize the shortfalls of the traditional silo-based management approach. With accelerated adoption of new platform technologies, IT support teams will continue to face challenges around the management of business transaction availability. Our recent survey revealed that the majority of IT execs are managing seven or more major technologies within their application systems, and the complexity will continue to grow.
In 2012, we will see the majority of IT Operations teams looking for a new approach to application management – with full visibility across the entire application system that allows IT Operations teams to better maintain application and transaction availability.