2 mins

With so many developer metrics solutions on the market, engineering leaders need to know which questions to ask reps to find the best option for your organization.

Selecting new software is a notoriously long process. Over 76% of small and medium businesses spend between three and nine months evaluating vendors before they choose one. Often, those months involve hours of demos, meetings with sales teams, and discussions with stakeholders – and that’s before you even start implementation!

While reading a buyer’s guide is a good first step, it’s not enough to prepare for the evaluation stage. While readers walk away knowing what to look for in a tool, most discover they don’t know what questions to ask their vendor rep during the demo. 

Don’t walk into your next demo unprepared. Here are the top features software development teams want in a developer metrics platform – and the questions you should ask to ensure your vendor has them. 

1. Out-of-the-box integrations

An analytics tool only works if it ingests all your team’s data. While native integrations are preferable, many companies offer an API gateway or will help you create custom integrations to support your tech stack.

Questions to ask:

  • Does this solution have native integrations for the tools I use?
  • What other ways can I ingest data automatically?
  • Will your company help us create custom integrations? 
  • What does that process look like, including the extra time and cost involved?

2. KPI monitoring

Consider the KPIs your team is currently measuring and what you’re looking to track with your new solution. Recognizing the growing popularity of the SPACE framework, some teams may want a developer metrics tool that looks beyond DORA metrics to evaluate output and outcome-based metrics side-by-side.

Questions to ask: 

  • What are the most common metrics people measure with your solution?
  • Can I measure these KPIs or track developer performance with this solution?
  • How does the tool deliver relevant, actionable insights?

3. Shift-left security features and error detection

A tool that supports strong governance helps teams identify errors and malicious code throughout the development lifecycle. Plus, vendors who offer remediation support can reduce the impact of zero-day vulnerabilities, enhancing your security posture rather than introducing another threat. 

Questions to ask:

  • What native security options does your solution offer?
  • How does your platform analyze patterns to identify malicious code or abnormal behavior?
  • What kind of notifications do developers receive to identify errors?

4. Cost and resource allocation

Deep insight into project cost, resource allocation, and profitability helps teams manage priorities and retain buy-in from stakeholders. This data can help engineering managers take a stronger role in leadership and strategy decisions with business leaders.

Questions to ask:

  • How does your solution help assess project costs?
  • Can I track individual developer and team efforts to evaluate resource allocation?
  • Can I compare resource allocation apples-to-apples across multiple teams?

5. User-friendly dashboards and reporting

An engineering analytics platform with strong reporting and data visualization capabilities can save teams hours every month compiling status updates. Plus, at-a-glance actionable insights help developers move fast with confidence.

Questions to ask:

  • Can users create custom dashboards themselves? 
  • How intuitive is customization?
  • What types of report templates come with your solution? 
  • How easily can I customize or create new report templates?
  • What type of automation capabilities are available for report-building?

6. Exceptional customer support

Teams need vendor support to take advantage of everything a developer metrics platform has to offer. Assessing what hands-on support the vendor provides and how quickly they respond to issues may be critical for a successful deployment and ongoing maintenance.

Questions to ask:

  • How long does the average implementation take for a company with the same number of users or a similar tech stack to ours?
  • How does your team support us throughout deployment and adoption?
  • What kind of training opportunities or materials are available?
  • Do you offer chat, email, phone, video, and/or in-person customer support? 
  • What are your customer service SLAs? 
  • What is the expected turnaround time for technical tickets?
  • Beyond user license fees, what other costs come with implementation?

Speeding up the procurement process with questions

No one wants to spend months choosing a new software developer analytics solution. Getting answers to important questions at the first demo is a great way to speed up the process and narrow down your options early.