ShipHero's Observability Journey to Seamless Software DebuggingBy Rox Williams | Last modified on February 22, 2024
ShipHero needed a robust, cost efficient observability platform to support DevOps, customer support, and more.
Committed to timely service, ShipHero recognizes that the seamless performance of its software is paramount to customer satisfaction. To maintain this high standard, the development team needs the right data at their fingertips to quickly find and solve problems as they occur. In search of an observability solution to address these requirements, ShipHero initially turned to New Relic; however, the tool presented various challenges.
“New Relic was super complex and had additional costs layered onto the features, so there were landmines everywhere. If somebody accidentally clicked on something, we'd be spending an additional $2,000 a month on an item we didn't even want,” explained Martin Albisetti, VP of Engineering at ShipHero.
New Relic’s cost and complexity hindered ShipHero’s ability to efficiently use the tool, leading to frustrations and cost overruns.
On a mission to find a more streamlined and cost-effective observability solution to empower its development team and support day-to-day operations, ShipHero initiated a multi-vendor evaluation. Among the contenders, Honeycomb swiftly emerged as a standout choice. Martin was particularly impressed by Honeycomb’s insightful approach and deep subject matter expertise.
Keen to gather input from others on his team, Martin tasked an architect with solving a debugging challenge using each product in the evaluation. The two came to the same conclusion: Honeycomb was the best observability solution. Several compelling factors influenced ShipHero’s decision to adopt Honeycomb, including:
- Ease of use
Honeycomb enables any engineer—no matter how tenured—to ask questions on the fly, drill down by any dimension, and solve issues before customers notice. This ensures ShipHero could easily extend future adoption to other users and use cases as desired.
- Deep-dive visibility
The platform's distributed tracing offered granular visibility, which was a crucial asset for engineers of varying experience levels to efficiently investigate and resolve issues.
- Cost efficiency
Offering robust capabilities at great value, Honeycomb provided a transparent pricing structure with predictable costs, with no penalty to instrument rich high-dimensionality and high-cardinality data.
Staying ahead of issues with debugging at speed and scale
Honeycomb’s distributed tracing, coupled with anomaly detection capabilities, automatically compares every attribute on millions of requests and reveals traces linked to ShipHero’s product errors. For ShipHero’s development team, the platform’s distributed tracing proved transformative, providing the capability to troubleshoot with faster and more accurate outcomes.
The development team can now swiftly analyze which service is affected when something isn’t working as expected and identify its connections to other services. They can see where the trace starts and then drill down to pinpoint the exact error—all without requiring an in-depth understanding of how each piece ties together.
“Honeycomb gives us a way to understand our software and work through debugging cycles without having to have years of experience with the software. We can actually get to the root cause in a minute or two,” said Martin, adding, “This, I believe, is the power of Honeycomb’s distributed tracing. The ability to query effortlessly, almost magically, levels the playing field for our team, irrespective of their familiarity with the ShipHero platform architecture.”
Fostering collaboration with easily shared insights
Honeycomb plays a pivotal role in enhancing communication and collaboration across ShipHero's departments, enabling team members to work from a shared dataset. The platform’s dashboards offer a common language and visual representation that breaks down silos and ensures everyone is on the same page, fostering a cohesive and strategic approach to problem-solving.
Honeycomb's dashboards are also an invaluable resource for ShipHero's executive team, enabling them to readily access business insights at their fingertips. In situations where something needs fixing, the executives can pull up a dashboard and track firsthand when it's resolved. Martin highlights the strategic significance, stating, "With Honeycomb, our execs are empowered with real-time insights without waiting for communication updates or spending time pulling reports for information. This is instrumental when they’re answering business questions, particularly during negotiations with third parties."
Enhancing support efficiency and boosting customer satisfaction
Honeycomb's powerful instrumentation has transformed the way ShipHero’s customer support team operates, simultaneously streamlining the workflow and improving customer experience. Honeycomb's data-driven insights empower customer support to troubleshoot and efficiently resolve customer issues on the first call, resulting in a significant increase in case closures without the need to open a ticket.
As Martin notes, "There's nothing better than the time savings we get from Honeycomb, especially considering the tickets that never get created in the first place now. I think that's probably one of the biggest, most measurable impacts for us—the number of tickets that don't get created because the support team can get the information that they need to solve customer issues."
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At a glance
Based in the U.S., ShipHero is a leading provider of an award-winning cloud-based warehouse operating system that gives online retailers and third-party logistics providers the tools to ship more efficiently anywhere in the world. With more than 6,500 customers across the globe, ShipHero offers online retailers a suite of services that range from warehouse management software to outsourced fulfillment-as-a-service.
Modernize DevOps and debugging
Customer support optimization
- Decreased debugging time from issue to root cause in one minute
- Saved time and increased customer support’s first call resolution rate
- Fostered collaboration across teams working from the same data insights
- Gained user-friendly observability for technical and non-technical users
“Honeycomb is the perfect fit for our observability needs, offering a blend of user-friendly features and unparalleled visibility. It has become an integral part of our operational toolkit, empowering our development and customer support teams to swiftly navigate and resolve issues.”
Martin Albisetti, VP of Engineering
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