Tigera needed to transition from 60-70 annual in-person sales and training events to all virtual hands-on training to remain competitive during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The company was able to rapidly set up and offer free virtual hands-on training to its customer base, encouraging open-source users to become paying customers.
Tigera provides networking and network security software for the Kubernetes container-orchestration system used by thousands of software development teams. Its open-core business model relies on converting open-source customers into purchasers. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Tigera hosted 60-70 in-person events per year, where customers received product training to maximize their use of the open-source software and demonstrated the value of upgrading to the paid version.
Shelter-in-place orders caused all in-person events to be cancelled and competitors began offering webinars and online speaking events. This created intense competition for mindshare, and Tigera realized that offering free virtual hands-on training would entice customers to attend its online events over competitors. However, provisioning environments internally or requiring customers to pre-provision would require significant time, development effort, and result in inconsistent or broken environments. Further, some customers were likely to break their environments, effectively ending their training session due to the time required to provision a new one.
To deliver its virtual training, Tigera first provisioned and validated a master lab environment within Skytap, and used the Course Manager add-on to add registrants and ensure all student environments were provisioned and ready in time for the event. Some users broke their environments during the instructor-led courses, but were quickly re-provisioned with a single click.
The company’s online events have become very successful, hosting up to 150 attendees at a time and with Course Manager they can accommodate last-minute registrations, which have turned out to be valuable sales leads. As shelter-in-place restrictions ease, Tigera expects in-person attendance may be slow to resume, but plans to continue using Course Manager to support a blended mix of in-person and virtual instructor-led training.
“We would not have been able to pivot quickly to virtual product training without using Skytap. We’ve been able to keep prospective customers engaged, add last-minute attendees, and quickly provision environments.”
Andy Wright, VP Marketing, Tigera