One study of large global corporations has found what such IT leaders need for data-driven business innovation, agility and competitiveness.

Here is an update of the impact of accelerated digital transformation, from the point of view of technologists worldwide, on large corporations in 11 markets.

Research in Dec 2020 and Jan 2021 via interviews with 1,050 IT professionals in organizations with a turnover of at least US$500m were conducted in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. Respondents were from the IT, financial services, retail, public sector, manufacturing and automotive, and media and communications sectors.

The shift to digital-first business models to weather the storm and minimize the commercial impact of the pandemic had placed technologists at the forefront of their organizations’ response. The findings reveal a dramatic increase in IT complexity and a resultant technology sprawl. There was a pressing need for full-stack observability to help technologists manage infrastructures, cut through the data ‘noise’ and derive salient data for agile business decisions.

Here are some of the findings:

  • The rush to a digital online economy had forced a 3x acceleration of digital transformation projects.
  • Technologists found themselves under considerable strain, with 89% of respondents feeling under immense pressure at work and 84% admitting to having difficulty switching off.
  • Many technologists in the survey expressed feeling frustrated about work (81%) and experiencing increased levels of conflict with colleagues (63%).
  • Rapid DX had added staggering technical complexity throughout IT departments, with technologists listing the following factors as key contributors:
    • A new set of priorities and challenges (80%)
    • Technology sprawl and a patchwork of legacy and cloud technologies (78%)
    • Acceleration to Cloud computing (77%)
    • Multiple, disconnected monitoring solutions (74%)
  • The rise in IT complexity had 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% of technologists surveyed stated 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.
  • Some 75% of those polled stated they were already struggling to manage overwhelming ‘data noise’. Also, 95% of technologists in the survey said having visibility across the whole IT estate was important, while 96% pointed to negative consequences of not having visibility and insights across the whole tech stack.
  • 92% of technologists said the ability to link technology performance to business outcomes such as customer experience, sales transactions and revenue, will be what is really important to delivering innovation goals in 2021.
  • 73% of respondents feared that the inability to link IT performance with business performance will be detrimental to their business in 2021, and 96% of those polled felt 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.
  • Technologists in the survey recognized they needed 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 can enable them to make sense of what is relevant and take action on the most transformative opportunities.
  • Technologists interviewed were aware that they needed to contextualize IT performance with real-time business data but 66% did not have the resources and support they needed, and 96% pointed to at least one barrier their organization must navigate in order to adopt this new approach.
  • 75% of technologists in the study said their organization needed to connect full-stack observability to business outcomes within 12 months in order to remain competitive

Said Linda Tong, Vice President and General Manager, Cisco AppDynamics, the application performance monitoring and business observability firm behind the survey: “Full-stack observability on its own, it’s just not enough. Technologists have recognized that without business context, they will quickly find themselves drowning in complexity and data noise.”

Tong said, amid the demand for rapid innovation, technologists need to improve how they prioritize and deliver the biggest impact for their business.