The development of digital systems and communication kicked off the technology revolution more than 70 years ago, enabling new ways of generating, processing and sharing information.

The development of digital systems and communication kicked off the technology revolution more than 70 years ago, enabling new ways of generating, processing and sharing information.

Computing power has been growing exponentially ever since.

Through many technological advances, nothing has driven such a rapid shift as the global COVID-19 pandemic. Digital business transformation initiatives leaped to the top of the priority list as companies transitioned to remote work and pivoted to shift their services and goods online. Organizations went virtual to help us maintain a sense of togetherness in an isolated world.

We continue to evolve, reinvent how we do business, and connect to each other, and information technology is the primary driver. Over the past two years, companies have accelerated their cloud journey because they see it as necessary to scale their businesses faster.

Rohini Kasturi, EVP & Chief Product Officer, SolarWinds

The digital transformation reward is not without risk

The business opportunity this rapid transformation has revealed is great, but so is the risk. Creative business leaders see digital transformation as a way to compete, grow, and succeed with their business, but the pressure on IT teams to keep distributed environments and critical systems — both those in the cloud and on-premises — running at a high level has never been greater.

IT organizations are challenged to manage the rapid introduction of new technologies while maintaining or transitioning existing systems. The move to the cloud, multiple cloud providers, hybrid combinations of traditional data centers and cloud deployments, distributed microservices-based applications running across private and public networks, numerous physical servers, virtual hosts, and containers, and serverless applications all add complexity to already intricate systems.

The demand from the business to leverage these new technologies and the speed at which they are being implemented make the ramifications of failure significant.

The success or failure of today’s IT implementations is inextricably interwoven with the business; a failed IT implementation can result in the company’s failure, with significant financial or reputational losses. For IT professionals, the stakes have never been higher; there is little to no room or patience for failure, but well-executed transformations can be the accelerator needed to outpace the competition.

The evolved IT ecosystem requires a change in how environments are managed

Increased dependence on IT requires a significant change in how environments are managed. The traditional siloed approach has gone from inefficient to irresponsible. Management disciplines must merge. Lines are blurring between network, infrastructure, and application management. Although IT and DevOps teams are stepping up to manage these new systems, IT resources will continue to be constrained. Hence, IT solutions need to include more intelligence to support the new approach to managing IT.

Successfully managing today’s IT environments requires not only meeting technical and business level objectives — including Business Systems Availability, performance, cost and security — but also providing a management environment that can scale quickly with the business. This is where implementing Observability becomes critical.

Observability: reducing noise and amplifying harmony

To support the evolved IT ecosystem, we must go beyond siloed technology monitoring and even beyond what many are defining as “observability.” Bringing development and operations together to build and deploy higher-quality applications faster has had a positive impact but hasn’t gone far enough. IT leaders today must be able to figure out how to manage an exponentially more complex environment and do it efficiently.

Observability is more than looking at metrics, traces, and logs across technologies. Observability should enable end-to-end oversight of service delivery. Observability should reduce operational noise, allowing IT Ops, DevOps, and security teams to gain more proactive issue and anomaly detection with greater focus, prioritization and efficient problem resolution. Observability solutions should continuously analyze conditions affecting user experience and performance to predict element problems, service levels, and capacity changes. Observability solutions should advance business agility by enabling the IT organization to shift from a reactive to proactive posture to achieve optimum IT service performance, compliance, and resilience.

How to make IT management easy

What should companies be looking for when managing this new IT landscape? Regardless of whom they choose, they should consider selecting a platform that supports their specific business requirements. They should choose an offering that can help their immediate needs and choose a partner with experience and a track record for recognizing and delivering on evolving, future requirements. It should offer significant breadth and depth of product-agnostic technology to manage and help companies avoid vendor lock-in. The offering should bring together insights into the health and performance of the IT technologies and, more importantly, business services. As IT roles change and the line between monitoring disciplines continues to blur, you also need to select an offering that enables collaboration across organizations and sets up teams to manage a service rather than a siloed technology.  Lastly, it is critical that the offering maximizes the utilization of artificial intelligence and machine-learning-based AIOps to help simplify the management of these complex implementations.

If a company is going to leverage its digital transformation investment, it is critical to enforce a strong Observability strategy. Companies are embracing technology at a whirlwind pace. Success or failure is placed squarely on the IT organizations implementing and supporting it. Recognizing that the approach to IT management must change. Shifting focus from the siloed technologies could be the difference between either successfully leveraging the latest in this digital revolution or constantly being challenged to weather the technology storm.