Royal Caribbean is known as an innovator within the cruise liner industry - boasting the first robot bartenders, onboard skydiving and onboard surf simulators - but it is not a technology company, and like most modern travel companies it relies on seamless technology and web-booking as a key differentiator.
"The technology itself is not the point, it kind of moves to the background and paves the way for this seamless, immersive customer experience," senior operations manager, Carlos Gutierrez-Menoyo told Computerworld UK during the Dynatrace Perform Conference in Las Vegas this week. "At the end of the day, the goal is to make sure you have an awesome vacation and Dynatrace helps us ensure that, because we get closer to our user's experience."
The company has been using Dynatrace monitoring software for five years now, slowly adopting more and more capabilities, before fully migrating to the company's all-encompassing SaaS platform when it was launched in 2016.
Gutierrez-Menoyo says the most valuable feature is the platform's ability to not only detect a problem but provide other crucial insight about the issue, such as where the problem started, how many people it's affecting and what the root cause is.
It's this ability to bring together many different sources of data that makes the Dynatrace platform so useful. In the past, Gutierrez-Menoyo says data sources that now sit alongside and inform one another were spread across disparate APM tools, Splunk logs and alerting systems.
"It was very fragmented, very siloed," he said. "On top of that you had the business units monitoring one set of KPIs - retention rates, conversion rates, how many cruises booked, site views - and then separate from that you had IT teams looking at CPU, memory and network health, but the two were never really brought together. A tool like Dynatrace really helps break down those barriers."
He says the company opted for Dynatrace after a process of elimination, whereby they experimented with rival tools first but always found they only worked for a while, before they didn't.
"Where other tools stop innovating or introducing new features, we haven't seen Dynatrace do that yet," he says. As a result, he believes that Dynatrace represents the best of breed when it comes to 'software intelligence', parroting the vendor's favoured marketing term in the process.
At the Perform conference this week, Dynatrace has announced new capabilities such as its next generation of AIOps tools and the ability to replay sessions to spot dependencies in real time.
It's the latter feature which allows IT teams to replay a unique web or mobile session from the perspective of the customer with a simultaneous overview of every element of the software stack, that Gutierrez-Menoyo is most enthused by.
"In and of itself it isn't a silver bullet, but the fact that it connects so seamlessly with the information we already had from Dynatrace - it really brings you a lot closer to the user experience," he says. "It cuts out a lot of that triage process - where you have to locate the problem - and really bridges the gap between what's code and what's reality."
AI has been a major topic of discussion at Perform, and Dynatrace has restated its commitment to being an AI-first enterprise. Gutierrez-Menoyo emphasises that AI is imperative to maintaining the fluidity of Royal Caribbean's operations.
Before, when solving issues, there were lots of questions, such as: "Do we roll this back? Do we change this? Do we refresh that?", says Gutierrez-Menoyo. Now, however, the AI at the heart of the Dynatrace platform answers a lot of these questions automatically, the holy grail for overstretched IT operations teams.
"All that information was always around you, but you would've had to have twenty people - experts in each of their fields - to understand and answer these questions as quickly as AI does by itself," he says.
This insight is vital to offering the company the level of understanding they require to continually improve the customer journey. "We could send chatbots, we could send surveys, but if I'm interrupting you with questions then you're not experiencing the brand like we want you to," says Gutierrez-Menoyo.
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