Why a Real-time Incident Timeline is Important

Central to the VictorOps product is the timeline view. If you look in terms of feature usage, the timeline view is used by 100% of customers. It appears in our WebClient and in both mobile clients.

You can think of the incident timeline like a Twitter feed, where your infrastructure and team members are both contributing. Like Twitter, the timeline informs anyone who looks at it of the real-time situation at hand, allowing people to gain context quickly during a firefight or simply to ease peace of mind by looking at the event stream to see if everything feels ‘normal’.


Interestingly, the usage pattern is different in the two clients however. Most teams leave the WebClient open in a browser tab all the time to keep track of the live feed of inbound alert data from their monitoring platforms.

The mobile clients fall into two patterns however: the checkin use case above, or the exception use case where a team member is notified of an incident and brought into the app. The checkin use case is pretty unique to VictorOps. In a 7-day period, over 55% of off-call users check the timeline view, which equates to more situational awareness for the entire team and faster resolution when a problem does happen. This is very different from alert-only products available from other companies.

Like Twitter, users can interact via this timeline, sometimes referred to as chat. About 65% of users use the timeline for real-time fire fighting. Of those, nearly all of them also use the timeline to annotate problems for later retrospective reporting.

In addition, about 25% users have integrated HipChat or Slack into their timelines. These bidirectional integrations allow users to interface with the timeline in a way that’s most natural for them and allow the conversation to expand out into the enterprise. Most importantly, all items - whether they are updates from Slack, or monitoring system updates containing hundreds of data elements  - are recorded for later use.

Real-time management of incidents is a new world and new tools are emerging to tackle these problems. It’s key they work together but also aggregate all the information. We are excited to keep innovating in this space and bringing our customers the best ways to solve problems in real-time.

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