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How can technologists get a grip on spiraling customer expectations in 2022?

By Gregg Ostrowski, Executive CTO, Cisco AppDynamics

The past two years have reshaped the way we think about technology. Since the start of the pandemic, technology - in particular applications and digital services - has become a lifeline to normalcy for many. Everything from shopping preferences to managing health and finances now has an online, digital-first option and many people will not go back to previous ways of doing things. 

In an AppDynamics report - The App Attention Index 2021: Who takes the rap for the app? -  84% of people said that digital services have had a positive impact on their lives during the pandemic, enabling them to get through this challenging period and to cope and function in most areas of their lives.

As a result, expectations for how digital services should perform are sky high, and so too is our anticipation for how technology and digital innovation will develop over the next 12 months. But for application owners, the pressure to deliver faultless and frictionless digital experiences at all times has reached new heights. They're operating in an environment where even the most minor performance issue could mean they lose previously loyal customers forever, while new customers will quickly delete the application and move on. Against this backdrop, what steps should IT teams be taking to ensure that they are leading the way in delivering stellar digital customer experience in 2022? 

Start the journey towards full-stack observability 

The App Attention Index found that 61% of people believe their expectation of digital services has changed forever and they won't tolerate poor performance anymore. Over half (57%) say brands have ‘one shot to impress' them and that if their digital service does not perform, they won't use them again. It's no wonder that application owners feel they are living on a knife edge!

To keep up with these rising consumer expectations, technologists need to focus on achieving real-time visibility into IT performance across the whole IT environment. Getting this level of insight will prove vital for technologists to be able to quickly identify and fix issues.

The shift from monitoring to observability has begun. With the tremendous increase in the use of digital services and applications, companies were forced to speed up digital transformation and IT teams felt the pressure to innovate at breakneck speed.

Increased digital transformation has resulted in IT departments attempting to manage a more fragmented patchwork of legacy and cloud technologies, adding pressure and stress on technologists. Traditional monitoring can be limiting and give a siloed, fragmented view of what is happening within the IT environment. In fact, an AppDynamics survey found that only a quarter of technologists claim to be confident their current monitoring tools meet their growing needs. Similarly, a majority of respondents believe their organizations need to deploy a more advanced visibility platform - such as a full-stack observability solution - within the next 12 months to better manage and optimize IT performance and deliver faultless digital experiences to customers.

Full-stack observability gives technologists a unified view of the IT stack, from customer-facing applications down to core network and infrastructure, improving the ability to quickly identify the exact root cause of a performance. It provides IT teams with the capacity to monitor and manage IT performance issues in real-time, reducing time spent frantically trying to locate anomalies.

IT performance and innovation through a business lens

Achieving visibility across the entire IT stack is a great first step in a path to full-stack observability. However, to make critical decisions that will have a notable impact not just on end users' experiences, but also the business' overall success, an organization must have a clear understanding of the relationship between IT performance and business outcomes.

Linking full-stack observability with business context can help proactively pinpoint areas of an organization's digital services that may or may not be performing well (often before the end user is even aware of any performance issues). Additionally, by connecting IT data with real-time business metrics, teams can proactively track - and report on - how optimized technology health and performance drastically improves user and business outcomes. Having business context also enables the IT teams to prioritize what to fix first, ensuring the desired business outcome is always top of mind.

Technologists can validate the impact of every IT department action by analyzing the impact on business KPIs. That means less time spent firefighting issues and worrying about costly mistakes, and more time focusing on innovation.

The year ahead is full of uncertainty and likely to bring many new challenges for technologists in all sectors. Certainly, we expect to see consumer habits and expectations continue to evolve, creating added pressure on technologists in multiple ways. But with better visibility and insight across the full IT stack, a business lens on IT performance and the right focus on digital customer experience brands are putting themselves in the best possible position to succeed.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gregg Ostrowski 

Gregg Ostrowski is an Executive CTO at Cisco 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 Friday, January 28, 2022 7:43 AM by David Marshall
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