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Five strategic priorities for IT leaders to deliver accelerated innovation on a more sustainable basis

By Joe Byrne, CTO Advisor, Cisco AppDynamics

Modern applications stacks are allowing organizations to innovate at ever greater speeds. IT teams are deploying no code and low code platforms to dramatically increase release velocity and respond to constantly evolving customer and employee needs.

The latest research from Cisco AppDynamics, The Age of Application Observability, highlights the extent to which cloud native technologies are transforming how organizations approach digital transformation. Global technologists report that 49% of their innovation initiatives are now being delivered with cloud native technologies, and they predict that this figure will climb to 58% over the next five years. That means most new digital transformation programs will be built on cloud native technologies by 2028.

However, while modern application stacks are undoubtedly transformational for organizations in all sectors, they are posing enormous challenges for IT teams responsible for managing application availability, performance and security. Cloud native technologies are bringing soaring levels of complexity into IT departments, with massive volumes of data being spawned by microservices and containers.

Most IT teams don't have the right tools to cut through this data noise, nor do they have unified visibility across hybrid environments. This is a major problem as increasing numbers of applications run across both cloud native and legacy, on-premises technologies. IT teams can't get a clear line of sight up and down the application path and therefore are unable to easily detect issues and understand root causes.

The unfortunate reality for most technologists is that it's becoming far harder to troubleshoot issues before they impact end user experience and there is, understandably, growing concern about the potential consequences of this - customer frustration, reputational damage, and loss of revenue.

Tellingly, less than half of all technologists are fully confident that their organization currently has the right skills, processes and tools in place to manage application availability, performance and security in a sustainable way. For all the strides they are making in speeding up application development times, organizations are jeopardizing their investments in digital transformation because their IT teams aren't in a position to deliver seamless digital experiences to customers at all times.

IT leaders urgently need to address this situation before it de-rails their innovation programs, and the research highlights five key areas they need to prioritize to achieve a more sustainable approach to innovation.

1.  Implement an application observability solution to optimize application performance

97% of technologists point to a critical need for their organization to move from a monitoring approach to an application observability solution in order to manage multi-cloud and hybrid environments.

IT teams need an application observability solution which has the flexibility to span across hybrid environments, ingesting and combining telemetry data from cloud native technologies and data from agent-based entities within on-premises applications.

With application observability, IT teams can access real-time insights into application availability and performance across their hybrid environments. And crucially, they can correlate IT data with real-time business metrics to identify and prioritize those issues which have the potential to do most damage to end user experience.

2.  Invest in the right skills

The introduction of cloud native technologies requires new skills and ways of working in the IT department. This is why we've seen the emergence of new teams, such as Site Reliability Engineers (SREs), DevOps and CloudOps over recent years.

For IT leaders, the need to recruit, develop and retain highly quality IT talent is now crucial. And this applies across the board, whether it's developers, operations, or security experts, across both cloud native and on-premises technologies.

3.  Foster collaboration in the IT department

As many as 80% of technologists report an increase in silos between IT teams as a result of managing multi-cloud and hybrid environments.

It's vital that IT leaders break down any silos between people, processes, and data in order to reduce the likelihood of application performance and security issues, and to retain their best talent. 36% of technologists report that silos and ineffective collaboration are already resulting in IT talent leaving their organization, and 46% believe that churn within their IT department will increase if silos persist. 

Application observability provides a foundation for greater collaboration between teams within the IT department, allowing all technologists to come together around a single source of truth. IT leaders need to implement new processes and structures and provide training so that technologists can leave behind entrenched mindsets and embrace new ways of working.

4.  Create a shared vision and shared objectives for all technologists

To instill a more collaborative approach, IT leaders should be looking to create and communicate a shared vision for IT and innovation within the organization. This means inspiring and incentivizing all technologists around shared KPIs and business objectives, rather than just individual and team goals.

Many technologists are eager to work in new ways and with new people to expand their knowledge and skill sets. They know that they need to adapt their approach and embrace change to become more rounded IT professionals and accelerate their careers.

5.  Validate investments and demonstrate the value that innovation is delivering

81% of technologists report that they're coming under increasing pressure to validate the impact of their cloud investments. And with economic conditions likely to remain challenging for some time to come, there is a real possibility that IT leaders could see their innovation budgets cut unless they can prove the value that they're delivering to customers and the business.

With the right application observability solution, IT leaders can generate business transaction insights in real-time, and then view them in business-level dashboards to understand and report on the value that their innovation programs are delivering. It means they can make rapid but informed decisions on where to focus investments based on what will have the biggest benefit for customers, employees, and ultimately, the business. And this in turn will enable them to validate their innovation investments and secure future budgets.

Encouragingly, there are signs that organizations are recognizing the need for new tools and processes in order to embed a more sustainable approach to innovation, with 85% of technologists claiming that observability is now a strategic priority for their organization.

By developing a holistic strategy for application observability, IT leaders can continue to meet demands for accelerated innovation, while also ensuring that applications are always optimized.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joe Byrne 

Joe Byrne is vice-president of technology strategy and regional CTO at AppDynamics, where his primary focus is on working with customers and prospects on observability strategy and helping with digital transformations. He also works closely with sales, marketing, product and engineering on product strategy. Prior to AppDynamics, Joe held technology leadership roles at Albertsons, EllieMae and Johnson & Johnson.

Published Thursday, August 17, 2023 7:34 AM by David Marshall
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