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Full-Stack Observability is Essential One Year Into Pandemic

By Gregg Ostrowski, Regional CTO, AppDynamics, part of Cisco

Around this time last year, most businesses were making the frantic push to remote work, virtually overnight. Now, more than one year into the pandemic, from lockdowns and remote work to accelerated use of digital services, we have witnessed dynamic shifts in the way organizations approach their IT infrastructure. 

As time has passed, several trends have emerged that IT decision makers can learn from and leverage to establish success for their organization into the future. Backed by recent research from AppDynamics, here are three key lessons organizations can implement to set themselves and their teams up for success. 

Prioritize Full-Stack Observability Through a Business Lens

In our research at AppDynamics, we found that full-stack observability - the ability to monitor the whole IT stack from customer-facing applications right down to the core network and infrastructure - is essential to cutting through data noise to focus on what truly matters most to the business. In fact, an overwhelming 96% of technologists acknowledge that the ability to connect full-stack observability with real-time business outcomes is imperative to delivering first-class digital experiences and meeting the intense demands brought on by rapid digital transformation.

When tied to business context, full-stack observability allows technologists to quickly identify the issue without having to sift through vast amounts of data to surface the most impactful information quickly, enabling them to take action on the most transformative opportunities. This makes their jobs more efficient and the end-user experience seamless. By incorporating full-stack observability into the IT toolbox, organizations can prioritize their most important stakeholders and set a path for sustainable growth, long after this pandemic is over.

Recognize that Sustained Pressure Leaves an Impact

Over the last year, many organizations with legacy systems had to swiftly ramp up their efforts and accelerate at a breakneck pace, putting intense pressure on their technologists who facilitate IT infrastructure updates and management. 

These technologists have reached their boiling point when it comes to the tension they experience at work. In the same research, we found 89% of technologists reported feeling immense pressure at work and 81% expressed increasing frustration as time passed. This also led to conflicts within teams, with 63% of technologists saying they felt increased tension with their colleagues as a result of the pressures they faced in their roles. 

This will not end with the pandemic - the rapid pace of digital transformation is only going to continue, putting sustained pressure on organizations and technologists to keep up. An IT strategy that implements full-stack observability at its core and prioritizes connection to business goals ensures that technologists won't have to rely on performance data alone, but rather with a lens of the business that allows them to put their resources and energy in areas where they are needed most. This does not only create efficiency for IT teams, but sets the entire organization up for success.

Plan Ahead for Success 

Before the pandemic took hold, we saw customers leveraging full-stack observability to prepare for the digital future that is now our reality, allowing them to quickly pivot during times of distress. A good example is AppDynamics customer AutoNation, who was recently featured at our annual Transform event, held virtually this year. AutoNation took buying a car, an activity that's traditionally a face-to-face interaction and transformed it into a truly digital experience. 

AutoNation was able to quickly adapt the customer experience when the pandemic progressed, including turning selecting and purchasing a vehicle, to a digital reality for more than nine million customers across the US, which accelerated the process they already had in place. Using several IT tools, including AppDynamics, to protect and monitor their customers' activities in the car-buying process, AutoNation was able to catch issues on the backend before end users experienced any disruptions. As a result, a full-stack observability-centered strategy led to an incredible 90% decrease in Severity 1 issues for AutoNation customers over the last three years, creating a better experience for more users than ever before. 

Another customer, Canadian grocery store chain Loblaw, has invested in digital innovation for several years, including the use of AppDynamics, to monitor and improve their customer experience. When COVID-19 hit, the retailer was able to effectively manage the surge of activity and monitor up to 20 unique systems, from supply chain to online inventory and payment transactions to in-store deployment, in real-time for thousands of customers to meet demand and avoid disruption. Today, Loblaw remains a trusted brand among their customers across Canada. 

If the past year has taught us anything, it's that you can never be over-prepared. Companies like AutoNation and Loblaw recognized how digital experiences have become essential for daily life, and their proactive investment in monitoring tools has set them up for success now and long-term. By streamlining the data noise and tying full-stack observability to business outcomes, organizations will be able to quickly determine and address pressing issues before they become problems. This visibility across the full-stack leads to longer-lasting trust in a time when it's needed most, and allows room for innovation and growth that will continue to thrive long after times of intense pressure. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gregg Ostrowski 

Gregg Ostrowski is a Regional CTO at AppDynamics. He engages with customer senior leadership to help prioritize their strategy for digital transformation. Prior to AppDynamics, Gregg held senior leadership positions at Samsung and Research in Motion.

Published Tuesday, April 06, 2021 7:35 AM by David Marshall
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