New Relic, a startup that many tech professionals rely upon to track software performance and tech infrastructures, says it will now apply all it has learned about those inner workings to a new service called Project Seymour.
Project Seymour will apply artificial intelligence to wring out more useable information about IT operations and get it in front of the right people, according to New Relic (NEWR) founder and chief executive Lew Cirne.
“Just as Google Search gets smarter and better every quarter based on all the data Google ingests, so New Relic will get smarter and better by crunching all the data we see,” Cirne tells Fortune.
In aggregate, the company does process a ton of information about how applications are working and where there are glitches or hotspots. “Last quarter, we collected 25 trillion events in our cloud, up 14% quarter to quarter,” Cirne cites.
One of the basic tenets about “big data” is the bigger, the better. Systems can get smarter as they consume more data. And New Relic, which was founded eight years ago, is counting on the fact that it was the first modern company into this pool to keep it in the driver’s seat.
Redmonk analyst Stephen O’Grady agreed that New Relic’s access to data is a critical benefit over competitors. “People often focus on software and features, which are important, but the most interesting thing is the data. If you as a company can collect and generate a lot of data, that’s a basic determinant of success,” he noted.
New Relic boasts that 40% of the Fortune 100 use its services. Well-known customers include Airbnb, Barclay’s (BCS), Cisco Systems (CSCO), Domino’s Pizza, Dunkin’ Donuts (DNKN), Hearst, Liberty Mutual, Major League Advanced Media (MLBAM), and Nissan Motors.
Last week, the company announced the extension of its monitoring capabilities into software containers and micro-services, which are two new and growing ways that companies make and deploy software.
Cirne says he scoped out the idea for Project Seymour (it will “see more,” the company quips) during his annual retreat in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. On Wednesday, the company will preview Project Seymour at its annual FutureStack conference in San Francisco. The service will roll out to a small number of customers later this year, and is expected to be fully available in 2017.
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Cirne says the company’s inherent advantage is that it simply sees more data than anyone else at this stage of the game. And that access to data means it can better detect abnormalities in operations, which could indicate a security breach or some sort of organic malfunction.
“Some companies have more than 1,000 people logging into New Relic and each one of those people—depending on their role—needs to see what’s relevant to them,” he says. In theory, Project Seymour, using information about user interaction, will help parse that out for them so they don’t have to scroll through endless screens.
When it first launched, New Relic monitored how well server applications ran. The company successfully exploited the Software-as-a-Service delivery model, meaning that runs its software on its own infrastructure and customers log in over the web.
Over the years, New Relic expanded that scope to see how users interact with those applications. Thus, it can tell Domino’s Pizza, for example, every time someone presses a button to buy a pizza on its site, how long the transaction took, and how frequently it happened in a given amount of time. It can also show how many people are ordering from an iPhone vs. an Android phone.
“All of that can help businesses make their resource allocation decisions,” Cirne says.
Given that even old line companies—such as General Electric (GE), Ford (F), and General Motors (GM)—now consider themselves high-tech players that build software not only to run their own operations but to interact with customers, the importance of tracking software performance is critical.
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New Relic last week reported a second quarter net loss of $14.3 million, or 28 cents per share. Revenue was up 48% to $63.4 million, year-over-year.
The company is in a growing market, but also contends with many other application performance monitoring tech companies, including relatively new players like AppDynamics as well as traditional companies like BMC, CA Technologies, IBM (IBM), and Compuware.
Note: This story was updated with analyst quotes.