6 mins read

IT Voice interview with Rob Newell, VP of Customer Adoption, APJ, New Relic


IT Voice: Can you explain the significance of New Relic’s decision to open a Product Innovation Center in Hyderabad, India?

Rob: India has continued to be the fastest growing market for our business in Asia. Our first Indian office opened in Bengaluru in March 2022 and we continued to drive our growth plans in the region by launching our Product Innovation Center in October that same year to further support our growth. India is home to the world’s fastest-growing population of developers, and the Product Innovation Center is helping us to take advantage of this strong talent pool while advancing the growth of new products across our platform. Additionally, the Product Innovation Center is enabling us to grow the number of capabilities that the New Relic business has in existing and emerging verticals.

IT Voice: What is New Relic Grok, and why is it considered essential for engineers in their journey towards innovation?

Rob: New Relic Grok is a generative AI-powered observability assistant for engineers. To understand what Grok does, it’s important to understand how observability works. With a vast amount of data being produced every day, engineers need to analyse this information and derive insights. Such data could be related to infrastructure monitoring or maintaining the uptime of critical apps. While all-in-one observability solutions pull together telemetry data to offer insights, analysing vast volumes of data manually is time consuming. Grok has been designed to cut through the noise by performing tasks that were once done via traditional user interfaces.

The assistant has been created to democratise access to observability and bolster developer productivity by alleviating the need to manually sift through data, meaning that developers have more time to focus on big picture tasks. If I think about data science or data analytics, it’s the interpretation that matters. All developers have to do is ask the right questions and Grok will allow them to learn everything – from system health, to how to optimise cloud costs or identifying issues that could lead to downtime and possible revenue loss. Since generative AI learns by doing, Grok will eventually evolve as these models get better with new interpretation capacities built in. Grok will ensure that engineers aren’t caught up in firefighting IT outages but are instead focused squarely on innovation.

IT Voice: Could you elaborate on the business value of adopting an all-in-one observability solution, and how it benefits organisations?

Rob: All digital businesses share a common goal: driving growth and efficiency. Today’s businesses are confronted with urgent challenges such as accelerating time-to-market, reducing churn, and maximizing return on investment for their technology adoption. This is where all-in-one observability can deliver tangible business value.

The New Relic 2023 Observability Forecast found that the median annual return on investment of observability in India was 114% with more than half of respondents (53%) saying observability is key to achieving core business goals. Observability equips businesses with the capability to find issues and inefficiencies and address them before they spiral into revenue loss. Businesses can then optimise existing systems and scale rapidly to drive growth and success.

Integrated generative-AI assistants – such as New Relic Grok– will provide access to observability for engineers across different roles and even for employees outside of engineering, such as product managers. When generative-AI assistants are integrated into an observability platform, mountains of data can be sifted through in order to generate actionable insights and provide targeted guidance to engineers. The business impact of this is an increased time-to- market and the elimination of alert fatigue, which drastically improves business growth.

IT Voice: What is generative AI, and how do you see its impact on businesses and innovation in the future?

Rob: Generative AI is already changing the way businesses work. It has the capacity to create text, images, or other media using large language models, and learns the patterns and structure of input training data to generate new data. But generative AI is only as good as the data it is built upon. For example, when the input data set is small, the AI can be inaccurate. In the future, we can expect generative AI to become more personable and entrenched in our day to day lives. For businesses, this means increased productivity and growth.

A recent report by McKinsey & Company reveals that generative AI’s impact on productivity could add the equivalent of $2.6 trillion to $4.4 trillion annually across 63 use cases. The same report found that generative AI is expected to increase the impact of all artificial intelligence by 15 to 40%. Current generative AI and other technologies have the potential to automate many work activities that free up employees’ time to focus on innovation.

The McKinsey report revealed that generative AI has the potential to automate half of the time employees spend working. While it can increase productivity drastically, AI is not meant to replace humans but support the alleviation of some tasks. Due to generative AI’s increased ability to understand natural language, it has a greater impact on productivity. If businesses tackle worker transitions and other risks related to generative AI, it could contribute substantially to economic growth and support a more sustainable business ecosystem.

IT Voice: What are New Relic’s growth plans for the Indian market, and how does the company intend to capitalise on the opportunities there?

Rob: India is a very exciting, fast growing market for New Relic. As we think about investments in India, New Relic is focused on capturing the demand for observability, while also helping more Indian businesses grow, scale and meet their objectives.

We plan on investing in people while also ensuring our customers in key market segments are able to offer the best possible experiences and value to their end users. We are seeing great growth in India and we expect it to continue increasing in this upward trajectory.

IT Voice: Why is the Indian market important to New Relic, and what specific advantages does it offer?

Rob: Businesses in India are gearing up for massive growth, and New Relic wants to be a part of the growth story of these organisations by helping them understand the value of observability. One of the advantages we are seeing in India is that businesses are generally seeking to adopt a single observability solution instead of multiple ones, which is reducing the number of siloed technology environments.

Another advantage to India is that most businesses are scaling rapidly and need their technology to be ready to handle these peaks. With so many businesses going digital in the country, Indian companies need a modern software architecture that can scale effectively. This means ensuring all moving parts are being monitored and analysed to ensure that digital assets don’t run into downtime, which can end up costing businesses dearly — the annual median cost of downtime in India is $62.8 million, according to the New Relic 2023 Observability Forecast. These costs can harm bottom lines, which is why observability is needed. Businesses can gain visibility into their IT infrastructure and proactively find and fix problems before they spiral into bigger issues. For instance, e-commerce businesses need to ensure their customer-facing digital assets are up and running efficiently because downtime would lead their users to choose working with a competitor. Observability helps businesses stop these issues from happening, making it a major advantage for New Relic as more Indian businesses derive value from this technology and use it to ensure future growth.

IT Voice: Can you explain the trend of tool consolidation in the IT sector and how New Relic is contributing to this innovation?

Rob: Tool sprawl is a major challenge in India, which is leading many towards consolidation. According to the New Relic 2023 Observability Forecast, organisations in India use more tools than any other country by a wide margin with almost three quarters (72%) using over 10 tools for observability. This is creating siloed telemetry data and blindspots in monitoring, not to mention the time taken to detect and fix issues. This is perhaps why we are witnessing a trend of tool consolidation in the country as it makes engineers’ lives easier and helps maintain uptime. This leaves engineers more time to focus on innovation and build new apps rather than having them find and fix issues in existing systems.

New Relic’s all-in-one observability platform is enabling organisations to make sense of all data generated on multiple systems, be it in the cloud or on-premise, to proactively identify problems and fix them throughout the software lifecycle. New Relic Grok adds to this capability, ensuring engineering teams can keep track of system health by simply asking the right questions.

IT Voice: What can we expect from New Relic India in the next 12-24 months, and are there any upcoming product innovations you can highlight?

Rob: In the next two years, New Relic intends to grow its footprint across key industry verticals, which include e-commerce, financial services and media and entertainment. We will also continue to showcase the value that tool consolidation can bring to Indian businesses in improving return on investment and creating developer productivity.

In relation to product innovations, we recently launched New Relic Session Replay in limited preview, with this technology providing engineers with greater context and insight into their telemetry data via a playback feature. We anticipate that it will support the improvement of user experience by quickly addressing pain points, providing contextual awareness and fixing issues at the code-level.

Lastly, we also plan to increase our overall presence in India and drive growth across the broader technology ecosystem through New Relic University; a training platform that supports developers in sharpening their observability skills.

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