AppDynamics, a part of Cisco, released Agents of Transformation 2021:The Rise of Full-Stack Observability, the latest edition of its global research study, exploring the impact of the rapid acceleration of digital transformation created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the repercussions for global technologists. The findings reveal a dramatic increase in IT complexity caused by the need for urgent innovation — and the resulting technology sprawl. The research also validates a pressing need for full-stack observability with added business context to help technologists manage the IT estate, cut through the data ‘noise’ and observe what matters most to their business.
The shift to digital-first business models to weather the storm and minimize the commercial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, has placed technologists at the forefront of their organizations’ response. According to this research, this forced a 3X acceleration of digital transformation projects. Unsurprisingly, technologists found themselves under considerable strain, with 89 percent reportedly feeling under immense pressure at work and 84 percent admitting to having difficulty switching off. Furthermore, many technologists expressed feeling frustrated about work (81 percent) and experiencing increased levels of conflict with colleagues (63 percent).
The new research goes on to highlight that rapid digital transformation has added staggering technical complexity throughout IT departments, with technologists listing the following factors as key contributors:
- A new set of priorities and challenges (80 percent).
- Technology sprawl and a patchwork of legacy and cloud technologies (78 percent).
- Acceleration to cloud computing (77 percent).
- Multiple, disconnected monitoring solutions (74 percent).
This rise in IT complexity has significantly increased the amount of data created across the technology stack, from the application, through the infrastructure to the network and security. With this added complexity, 85 percent of technologists state that quickly cutting through noise caused by the ever-increasing volumes of data to identify root causes of performance issues will represent a significant challenge in the year ahead. With 75 percent of those polled stating they are already struggling to manage overwhelming ‘data noise’, technologists are desperate for a unified solution to enable real-time visibility across the entire IT estate.
- 95 percent of technologists say having visibility across the whole IT estate is important.
- 96 percent point to negative consequences of not having visibility and insights across the whole tech stack.
While most technologists acknowledge that the ability to monitor the IT stack is important, the overwhelming majority (92%) say the ability to link technology performance to business outcomes such as customer experience, sales transactions and revenue, will be what’s really important to delivering innovation goals over the next year. In addition, almost three quarters (73%) fear that the inability to link IT performance with business performance will be detrimental to their business in 2021, and 96 percent acknowledge that the ability to connect full-stack observability with real-time business outcomes will be essential to delivering first-class digital experiences and accelerating digital transformation.
Rather than searching through the vast amounts of telemetry data that comes with a standard full-stack observability approach, technologists recognize they need to observe what matters by applying a business lens to full-stack observability so they can surface the most impactful information quickly. This business context will enable them to make sense of what’s relevant and take action on the most transformative opportunities.
The report also highlights that while technologists are acutely aware that they need to contextualize IT performance with real-time business data, more than half (66%) do not have the resources and support they need, and 96 percent point to at least one barrier their organization must navigate in order to adopt this new approach.
The stakes have never been higher for technologists and their organizations to get the necessary resources and support in place, with three quarters (75%) of technologists saying their organization needs to connect full-stack observability to business outcomes within 12 months in order to remain competitive.
“Full-stack observability is the only way technologists can deal with the sprawling IT estate and increased complexity created by such rapid rates of innovation. But on its own, it’s just not enough, said Linda Tong, vice president and general manager, Cisco AppDynamics. “Technologists have recognized that without business context, they will quickly find themselves drowning in complexity and data noise. As a part of Cisco, AppDynamics is uniquely positioned to leverage the breadth of Cisco’s domain expertise in network, application, infrastructure and security – while also providing the business context they are known for. The AppDynamics Business Observability platform will enable technologists to better prioritize and deliver the biggest impact for their business.”