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To drive revenue and protect brand reputation, C-level executives are focusing on experience

By Joe Byrne, CTO Advisor, Cisco Observability

With demand for more intuitive and personalized digital experiences continuing to rise, the availability, performance and security of applications has now become critical to commercial success. Today, application users are more selective about the digital services they use, and if there are any issues with the experience, they are turning on brands. Businesses and their IT teams are operating in an environment where users have zero tolerance for applications and digital services that fail to meet their expectations.

It's unsurprising that experience has become a strategic focus in boardrooms across all industries. A study recently conducted by Cisco revealed that over the last three years, 75% of business leaders believe digital experience has become a more critical issue for C-level executives in their organization.

As a result, leaders are now paying closer attention to how applications and digital services are performing, and the impact they are having on overall business KPIs. They want to be able to quantify the cost of any disruption in digital experience, and the value innovation is delivering to top line growth.

For IT teams, the spotlight on experience increases the need for tools and insights that can enable them to optimize application availability, performance and security at all times, as well as demonstrate how applications and digital services are positively impacting business KPIs.

Executives Recognize that Experience is Critical

In 80% of organizations, the performance and impact of business-critical applications and digital services are now consistently reported to C-level executives. This represents a huge change from only a few years ago when digital experience was rarely considered beyond the IT and marketing departments.

Leaders are coordinating dedicated meetings to analyze application performance, bringing together stakeholders from across the organization; or else they are accessing digital dashboards and displays which present key data on application availability, performance and security.

C-level executives recognize how important it is for them to understand and track the experience customers and employees are receiving when engaging with their brand through digital channels. Notably, they also want to be able to mitigate risk by identifying and resolving potential issues early in order to maintain seamless digital experiences for customers.

Senior leaders across almost every industry want to understand the entire workflow and the speed and efficiency of each of the underlying phases within it. We're regularly speaking to major financial services firms who are focusing heavily on digital experience monitoring to ensure they're able to compete and win against emerging and disruptive competition, and to manufacturers who are wanting to scrutinize the performance of their SAP processes.

The Challenge for IT Teams

While it is a good thing that senior leaders are recognizing the importance of application performance and security, it does put additional pressure on IT teams, which are likely already experiencing greater levels of complexity and overwhelming data noise.

Most technologists are still relying on traditional monitoring tools which simply aren't able to cope with the dynamic nature of modern application environments. Rapid adoption of cloud native technologies and the shift to hybrid environments is exposing significant visibility gaps, and the risk of application disruption, downtime or security breaches is rising at an alarming rate.

In research published by Cisco, 78% of technologists reported that the increased volume of data from multi-cloud and hybrid environments is making manual monitoring impossible. Traditional tools aren't built to handle the unstable nature of modern application stacks, and the massive volumes of metrics, events, logs and traces (MELT) data which are constantly being spawned by microservices and containers.

This leaves IT teams operating without the full and unified visibility they need to detect issues, understand root causes and remediate in a fast and efficient way. Instead, they're stuck in reactive mode, scrambling to identify issues and work out fixes before experience is negatively affected. They're already operating under enormous pressure and knowing application performance is now under the microscope will only intensify the heat they're feeling.

Observability - The Key to Driving Experience and Demonstrating the Business Value of Application Performance

Addressing this growing challenge in the IT department requires full and unified visibility across the entire application landscape. This means progressing from traditional monitoring approaches and separate monitoring tools to full-stack observability (FSO).

With FSO, IT teams can get real-time insights into application availability, performance and security and a clear line of sight for applications where components are running across hybrid environments.  FSO brings together telemetry data from cloud native technologies and agent-based entities within legacy applications, meaning technologists can rapidly detect issues, understand dependencies and deliver fixes before end user experience is impacted.

Given the heightened focus on experience within boardrooms, observability can help IT teams measure its overall impact on business metrics by correlating application data with business transactions. They can track and quantify the value applications and digital services are delivering to the organization. Additionally, given the need for IT teams to deliver innovation at ever greater speeds, FSO enables technologists to leave the firefighting behind, and focus on driving business value.

We're working with CIOs and IT teams who are now using FSO to provide C-level leaders with an expanding range of key metrics - including number of unique sessions, average revenue per session, average revenue per transaction, ‘revenue at risk' from potential outages, and overall user experience (based on defined workflows). They're providing leaders with a business lens on IT performance, enabling them to make more informed, insight-driven decisions around resources, investment and innovation.

The reality is that the pressure on IT teams to deliver world-class digital experiences at all times will only intensify. Almost all business leaders (98%) predict that over the next two years, demand from C-level executives for visibility and reporting into digital experience will increase. Technologists need to act now to ensure they have the tools and insights they need to deliver.



Joe Byrne 

Joe Byrne is the CTO Advisor of Cisco Observability, 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 Friday, April 05, 2024 10:00 AM by David Marshall
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