A global study shows they are under tremendous pressure to perform, but lack sufficient resources and support despite the rush.

The COVID-19 pandemic has required enterprise organizations to shift overnight to an almost completely digital world. Technology departments across the globe are now grappling with surging demand and mounting pressures to accelerate digital transformation strategies.

IT personnel and technologist must deliver high-performing digital experiences to customers and all-remote workforces at a time when the survival of the organization is resting on their shoulders.

Experiencing pressure from every angle, they mobilize workforces to operate from home, manage increasing strain on their networks and applications, and maintain the security of the technology stack, while also taking on new roles and responsibilities. One recent study by AppDynamics on the effect of the pandemic on technologists has revealed that:

  • 81% stated that COVID-19 has created the biggest technology pressure for their organization they have ever experienced.
  • 61% felt under more pressure at work than ever before.
  • Almost two thirds (64 % globally) were being asked to perform tasks and activities they have never done before.

Of the 1,000 IT professionals surveyed in 10 global markets, 66% confirmed that the pandemic has exposed weaknesses in their digital strategies, creating an urgent need to accelerate initiatives that were once part of multi-year digital transformation programs.

  • 74% reported that digital transformation projects that would typically take more than a year to be approved, have been signed off in a matter of weeks.
  • 71% pointed to digital transformation projects that had been implemented within weeks rather than the months or years it would have taken before the pandemic.

Customer experience first

The research, conducted between 22 Apr and 6 May, highlights that the majority of organizations (95% globally) changed their technology priorities during the pandemic, and 88% of technologists stated that the digital customer experience is now the priority.

However, technologists reported not having the resources and support they need to make this priority shift, with 80% citing that they felt held back from delivering the optimal customer experience because of a lack of visibility and insight into the performance of their technology stack.

Technologists listed the following areas as the biggest challenges in delivering seamless customer experiences during the pandemic:

  • Managing spikes in website traffic (81% globally).
  • Lack of unified visibility and insight into performance of the technology stack and its impact on customers (80% globally).
  • Managing mean time to resolution (MTTR) with a remote IT department (70% globally).

New resources and support needed

The report highlights that technologists need specific resources and support from their organizations to meet the challenges ahead. Some 92% stated that having visibility and insight into the performance of the technology stack and its impact on customers and the business is the most important factor during this period. Other key areas technologists noted needing support right now included:

  • Clear goals and objectives (90% globally)
  • Real-time data at the point of need (89% globally)
  • Autonomy and accountability (88% globally)
  • Freedom to experiment and take risks (87% globally)

Despite the enormous pressure technologists are facing, 87% saw this period of time as an opportunity for technology professionals to show their value to the business. Already, 80% of technologists had reported that the response of their IT teams to the pandemic had positively changed the perception of IT within their organizations.

Technologists now have the opportunity to step up and guide their organizations through the current crisis, but need access to data and insights to make smarter decisions, to be operating within the right internal structures and culture, and with close support from strategic technology partners.

Urgent need for Agents of Transformation

In 2018, The Agents of Transformation Report had asserted the need for a new breed oftechnologists, primed to deliver transformation and business impact within their organizations.These elite technologists, known as Agents of Transformation, possess the skills and attributes needed to drive innovation.

At the time, the research concluded that in order for businesses to remain competitive, 45% of technologists within an organization needed to be operating as Agents of Transformation within the next 10years. Now, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, technologists report that the target must be reached not within 10 years, but now.

With 83% of respondents stating that Agents of Transformation are critical in order for businesses to recover quickly from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an urgent need for technologists to operate at the highest level of their profession.

Said Danny Winokur, general manager, AppDynamics: “Technologists are stepping up in their organizations’ hour of need, and it is now the responsibility of business leaders to do everything possible to provide these women and men with the tools, leadership and support they require to deliver first class digital customer and employee experiences. It will be the skill, vision and leadership of these Agents of Transformation that will determine how businesses are able to navigate this turbulent period and emerge stronger on the other side.”