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Technologists Under Pressure to Move Quickly and Raise the Benefits of Full-Stack Observability

By Gregg Ostrowski, Executive CTO, Cisco AppDynamics

Every day consumers rely on digital services and applications to perform vital everyday tasks. From transferring money on a banking app, to booking a flight, to accessing work and collaboration tools from home, we have all become more reliant on applications. In fact, during the pandemic 80% of people in the US said that applications and digital services became a lifeline to normality.

As consumers have become more dependent on applications two trends have occurred, firstly the number of applications people use has increased and secondly, the expectations they have for incredible digital experiences when using applications has skyrocketed.

For the IT teams and applications owners responsible for delivering these services, the need to innovate at speed has been intense. Most organizations have responded to this need for rapid change by accelerating their digital transformation programs and cloud computing initiatives in particular. This has created a more complex IT estate across which it is much harder to monitor performance and identify issues quickly. IT teams face a technology sprawl across a patchwork of legacy and cloud technologies.

To get ahead of this potentially overwhelming situation, achieving real-time visibility across the entire IT environment has become mission critical. For technologists looking to get on the front foot and map out their future innovation agenda, implementing a full-stack observability solution has become a new priority. This article outlines some of the benefits which early adopters of full-stack observability are already experiencing and explains why 2022 is a pivotal year in the journey to observability. 

Why Full-Stack Observability?

A new Cisco AppDynamics report - The Journey to Observability - captured responses from 1,200 IT professionals about their plans to implement full-stack observability solutions. The report found that 54% of companies have already started their transition to full-stack observability, with another 36% planning to do so before the end of the year. That means that 90% of organizations will be somewhere along the journey to full-stack observability during 2022. 

The driving factor for many IT professionals is that traditional monitoring tools are no longer enough, as they only focus on one aspect of the application. This causes technologists to rely on multiple, disconnected tools to monitor IT availability and performance across the IT stack. Typically, the existing monitoring tools are used by separate teams, limiting shared insights and then causing additional delays. In many cases, these existing monitoring solutions are performing an invaluable job, enabling technologists to identify issues and take appropriate action, however, their efforts are limited to a specific domain. The larger issue is typically a lack of connection and interoperability between these tools, which makes it very difficult to understand dependencies across, as well as up and down, the IT stack.

With full-stack observability, technologists can quickly identify, understand and address anomalies across the whole stack and put those into the context of the business' overall performance and goals.

And these benefits are not simply conceptual, Companies that have already implemented some aspects of full-stack observability solutions have started to see the benefits. 86% of early adopters reported greater visibility across their IT stack over the last 12 months. And irrespective of how far organizations have traveled down the road towards full-stack observability, those that have made progress in the last 12 months report a wide range of benefits, including improved productivity within the IT department, reduced operational costs and a greater ability to deploy IT teams on more strategic work.

Move fast, but plan carefully

There is clearly pressure on organizations to move quickly in observability planning and roll-out. But despite the enthusiasm and appetite for this technology, 70% of technologists stated that they are concerned their company is now behind industry peers in implementing observability solutions. As a result, many consider 2022 a pivotal year for their company on the journey to full-stack observability and are aiming to accelerate the shift to avoid competitive disadvantages.

In order to successfully transition to a full-stack observability approach, organizations must first address potential obstacles so they can identify what efforts should be prioritized.

Across the board, there is a recognition that having access to the right skills is crucial to driving through plans, and in particular the skills required to monitor performance in the cloud. 75% cite skills as a critical factor in achieving their full-stack observability goals in 2022. But nearly a third (31%) say that there is a lack of skills within the business to deliver. The skills gap which plagues IT is just as compelling here as in other sectors of IT.

Alongside this, technologists will also be looking to affect the cultural and structural changes needed to ensure a seamless transition to full-stack observability, educating and motivating teams to trust in a single source of truth for all availability and performance data. The majority of technologists also report that they will be focusing on finding the right technology vendor to support their ambitions. 

A tipping point in the transition to full-stack observability

After a year in which much progress has been made and foundations laid, there is now a widespread determination to double down and take full advantage of the momentum that has been built up.

In today's app-centric world, there is a growing need for visibility and technologists are fired up about improving their current monitoring tools. Full-stack observability is already delivering real-time results for companies across the globe, more are taking notice and now considering similar next steps. 

The data shows that technologists are optimistic about the shift to full-stack observability in the months ahead, and they are ready to lead the charge into the next phase of innovation.



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 Wednesday, April 27, 2022 7:35 AM by David Marshall
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