Building a Better Digital Experience

Hyphen Solutions uses ThousandEyes to ensure
a superior customer digital experience.

About the Company

Hyphen Solutions is a leading cloud-based construction management software company. It provides over 55,000 builders, installers and manufacturers in the United States and Canada with supply chain, scheduling, procurement and collaboration solutions. In 2017, its platform handled a third of all new builds in the US.
Industry: SaaS Headquarters: Addison, TX, USA Use Case: Digital experience monitoring
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Building a Better Digital Experience

Professional home builders must juggle suppliers, contractors, schedules, and documentation for each of their development projects. This involves many different interaction points and requires that all information related to a project be continuously available, even in remote areas. The extensive data gathering and documentation needed for each stage of a building project can increase the time to completion and possibly jeopardize compliance with building, zoning, and labor regulations. These administrative tasks can pose a heavy burden on builders, particularly those that manage a large number of projects simultaneously.

Hyphen Solutions provides a cloud-based platform to manage the complex interactions between residential homebuilders and their suppliers, distributors, and manufacturers—helping builders improve project efficiency and get to market faster. Its tens of thousands of clients are distributed throughout the United States and Canada, often working out in the field, in locations with sparse development and limited cell service.
Hyphen Solutions

"With ThousandEyes, we can quickly see what's really happening
between our clients and our infrastructure."

Brad Henderson
VP, Technology
As a SaaS application, Hyphen Solutions relies on networks and services outside of its IT environment to provide a good digital experience. Each digital interaction may be impacted by many different external dependencies, including an enterprise client's local network, WAN, and services such as secure web gateway (SWG), as well as Internet service providers. Definitively determining the source of performance issues when so many parties are involved can be difficult and, in some cases, impossible, without visibility outside an application provider's "four walls."

Barriers to Client Success

Because Hyphen Solutions has clients distributed throughout the US and Canada, connecting through many different ISPs, the IT group would frequently handle calls complaining about availability and performance but were challenged getting to root cause. The team could verify that everything was fine internally—the application was running as expected—but they didn't have the data they needed to know if the problem was with the client's internal infrastructure or was due to an Internet-related issue.

"We'd have our engineers walking non-technical clients through running a ping or traceroute to us," said VP of IT, Brad Henderson. "Then we'd run our ping and traceroute and try to stitch these pieces together to find root cause." Even after running these tests, the team still had visibility gaps that prevented them from troubleshooting the issue. "ICMP is treated as a second-class citizen, and it frequently gets blocked, said Henderson. That was preventing us from getting the visibility we needed."

Hyphen Solutions offers service level agreements (SLAs), but SLA coverage ends at the outfacing interface of their routers. Nonetheless, they know that they are ultimately responsible for their user experience. "It doesn't matter if we aren't the problem—we own our client experience," said Henderson. "Our clients are paying to access our site. Even if our performance is at 100%, if our clients are having issues connecting to us, we want to bend over backward to help them resolve the problem."
ThousandEyes HTTP Server Availability graph
Figure 1: Monitoring connectivity to Hyphen Solutions from areas with a high-volume of home construction.

"Our clients are paying to access our site. Even if our performance
is at 100%, if our clients are having issues connecting to us, we want to
bend over backward to help them resolve the problem."

Brad Henderson
VP, Technology

Troubleshooting "Fire Alarm" Calls

Before deploying ThousandEyes, the Hyphen IT team received complaints about application availability and performance that were very difficult to troubleshoot. They would have 5-10 engineers assembled, often on nights and weekends, trying to resolve customer connectivity issues. Not only were these "fire alarms" often unproductive, yielding no real certainty on the root cause of the problems occurring outside their infrastructure, but they also consumed valuable IT cycles as well as employee personal time. "As a company," said Henderson, "we don't want to have to pull our employees away from time with their families."

Hyphen Solutions needed to get visibility into the infrastructure between its environment and its clients so that it could ensure a stellar client experience.

Monitoring from the Client's View

Hyphen Solutions deployed ThousandEyes to monitor its data centers from regions with high-volumes of home building activity, including New York, Florida and Texas. Using ThousandEyes-managed vantage points in these and other areas of the US and Canada, Hyphen Solutions proactively runs network, DNS and application-layer tests to its primary data center in Texas. These tests perform several monitoring functions. They simulate client connectivity to its application, monitor its internal DNS servers and provide detailed network path data. Hyphen Solutions also deployed a ThousandEyes vantage point in its primary data center, which enables it to see return path visualization.
Server response time composition pie chart
Figure 2: Monitoring application performance from multiple regions.

"As a company, we don't want to have to pull our employees
away from time with their families."

Brad Henderson
VP, Technology

Delivering Exceptional Client Experiences

Before implementing ThousandEyes, troubleshooting client connectivity issues were challenging because Hyphen didn't have clear visibility into the networks and services affecting its users.

In one instance, a client based out of Arizona was experiencing intermittent loss of connectivity to the Hyphen application for some of its users. Both the Hyphen and the client's IT group were hunting for the root cause and verified the problem was not within either environment. Hyphen decided to run a performance test using the ThousandEyes application to understand what was happening between their data center and the client. ThousandEyes Path Visualization immediately revealed the source of the issue to be with an ISP. Hyphen was able to share that data with their client, and the problem was resolved within a couple of hours.

For troubleshooting particularly challenging performance issues for clients, Hyphen Solutions will leverage a ThousandEyes Enterprise Agent at the client site to get detailed visibility from within the client environment to the Hyphen application hosted in Dallas. This visibility enables it to identify the source of client connectivity issues and determine the steps needed to address problems, allowing them to deliver exceptional digital experiences to their clients regardless of their location.

"Our customers are extremely happy with the level of service we provide thanks to the visibility that ThousandEyes provides us," said Henderson, "because customers often didn't know if they were having a problem, if we were having a problem, or if it was the WAN. With ThousandEyes, we can quickly see what's happening between our clients and our infrastructure." Troubleshooting client issues is no longer a guessing game for the IT team because now they can have the data they need to work effectively with clients and external providers to ensure a high-quality digital experience—which as a SaaS application, is fundamental to company success.

"Customers often didn't know if they were having a problem, if we were
having a problem, or if it was the WAN. With ThousandEyes, we can quickly
see what's happening between our clients and our infrastructure."

Brad Henderson
VP, Technology

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