AppDynamics finds a nontraditional atmosphere helps focus on customer success

Photo by Andrei Zmievski

You won’t find AppDynamics founder and CEO Jyoti Bansal in his San Francisco office — because he doesn’t have one. You’ll find him sitting with all the other employees.

Bansal says he wants his company, which specializes in application performance management, to take a nontraditional path.

“I decided to not have an office because I want to have a very collaborative kind of business,” Bansal says.

But that is only the tip of the iceberg. AppDynamics has grown from 150 to 500 employees in the past few years, and Bansal says an important key is to focus on the success of customers. While many companies assign just the customer support department with meeting the needs of customers, Bansal again breaks from tradition.

“We believe that everything we do we do to make our customers successful,” he says. “The only way to do that is to make it the responsibility of the entire organization, not just the customer support part of the organization.”

Incentive programs also are built around helping the customer succeed.

“We incentivize them by aligning them with the success of the customer; if the customer is more successful, we’ll pay the employee more,” Bansal says.

Constant innovation

To help foster constant innovation, Bansal says he tries to follow the startup business model even though the company is quickly growing.

He says that adaptability creates the right kind of work atmosphere.

“We give employees the room to come up with ideas,” Bansal says. “We give them creative freedom on those ideas.”

The lack of personal offices helps promote constant innovation. Bansal says having an office creates a hierarchy, that someone more senior is more important than someone who is not as senior. Hierarchies can carry with them the connotation that an innovative idea from a senior executive carries more weight than one from a lower level employee.

“It does not matter where the idea comes from,” Bansal says.

A push for constant innovation is required because things, especially in the tech field, move so fast now.

“It allows you to be more competitive in the market,” Bansal says. “Everything changes in a few years now.”

Bansal says by encouraging employees to push themselves, workers will go out of their way to help customers.

“It’s better to make mistakes and fix them, instead of not trying anything,” he says. “It’s important to learn from them very quickly.”

Collaborative culture

Bansal says new employees call AppDynamics a refreshing environment, and appreciate the constant communication, such as when all employees receive an email telling them a deal is closed. Such transparency of communication, shared goals and shared strategy drives collaboration, Bansal says.

The collaborative atmosphere is further promoted by the fact that everyone in the company is a shareholder, so everyone has a stake in its success.

Constant innovation and a collaborative environment should be high priorities for companies, Bansal says.

“It attracts the best talent here. People want to work in that kind of venture.”