Not long ago, Marketo described its software as “Easy. Powerful. Complete.” You can try to find fault with any or all three, but they are the qualities that together made Marketo great and still do today.
Some argue that Marketo is by no means easy, but when you come to appreciate the almost limitless possibilities that powerful and complete offer, “easy” makes a lot of sense because Marketo ingeniously wrapped powerful and complete in a UI that was approachable to anyone. Approachable, yes, but just below the surface of Marketo’s Engagement Platform lives and breathes a lot of complexity.
When you least expect it, Marketo will surprise you with some unexpected behavior, often a result of some change you didn’t know about – like a rogue application or poorly designed Smart Campaign.
Enter Omega for Marketo, the diagnostic application we built for Marketo dedicated to helping users monitor system health and optimize performance.
The Importance of Diagnostics
If you drive a car manufactured in the last few years, you can relate. Every year, car manufacturers figure out how to embed more technology into the design. But rapidly changing technology and innovation create a vexing challenge for automobile manufacturers: how to keep cars reliable and consumer-friendly while incorporating increasingly complex technologies every year. The answer: technology of course.
Today’s cars have built-in diagnostics that tell you when your car needs service and useful information about its performance. Every month I receive a “health update” by email for our Chevy Volt that tells me important information about the car categorized by issues found, actions suggested, and anything that needs immediate attention.
Compare this with my first car, a 1966 Ford Mustang – a car so simple even major repairs like swapping out the straight six engine could be accomplished in a few hours at home. The car had no diagnostics – the only way you knew that something was breaking or had broken was when you heard a new scary sound or the car stopped running. There wasn’t a lot of warning – it broke, you fixed it. My biggest fear was always worrying about how much damage had been done while the problem was silently screwing things up that would eventually manifest as scary sounds or a non-drivable car (think metal shavings or melted wire harness).
The lack of diagnostics exposed me to expensive repairs that could have been avoided, and made me more vulnerable to serious accidents – like the time I learned my brakes failed when my brake pedal went right to the floor.
An unplanned Marketo problem or a drop in performance isn’t going to result in serious injury or death, but as consultants with lots of experience working with many Marketo customers we know they can create real problems for you and your company.
How Omega Works
To illustrate, suppose one day someone in sales operations creates several new fields in the CRM that carry values updated every few minutes. The fields are bi-directionally synched with Marketo, which in turn must keep up with the unrelenting data value changes occurring in the CRM.
As the go-to person for Marketo at your company, you’re it – the unfortunate person who is most likely be the first to blame for the new wave of problems born of a CRM-to-Marketo synch time that went from a few minutes to a few hours. You had no warning, you have no solid information to act on, and you face a growing mob of angry people in sales ops, marketing, and senior management pounding on you to “fix Marketo.” Clearly this is not a Marketo problem, but if you can’t monitor and proactively manage Marketo with Omega you’re standing on shaky ground.
In this case, Omega would send you an email alert informing you there was a sudden and sustained slow-down in Marketo performance. You could then diagnose the problem in Omega, spotting the new CRM synched fields as the offenders for the slow-down. You could share these insights with your friends in sales operations as PDF charts to show them what’s really causing the slow-down, then calmly explain that marketing doesn’t need to synch those fields. Problem solved.
In the tens of thousands of hours we have provided consulting services to a wide variety of Marketo customers, a big lesson learned is this: expect the unexpected. People, process and technology can accomplish great things – but they can and will break down in ways you don’t see and never anticipated.
Application monitoring has been around a long time from mainframe to modern cloud-based systems, helping companies monitor, optimize, and proactively manage system performance. Omega brings these essential capabilities to Marketo customers the way Marketo users expect them: easy, powerful, complete.
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