Demand is high for full-stack observability with business context

New research from Cisco AppDynamics highlights the fact that rapid digital transformation has added staggering technical complexity throughout IT departments.

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A dramatic increase in IT complexity caused by the need for urgent innovation is resulting in technology sprawl, according to a new report.

The research also validates a pressing need for full-stack observability with added business context to help technologists manage the IT estate, cut through the data "noise" and observe what matters most to their business, the report from Cisco AppDynamics states.

The shift to digital-first business models to weather the storm and minimize the commercial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has placed technologists at the forefront of their organizations' response. This forced a 3X acceleration of digital transformation projects, according to the AppDynamics research.

SEE: Tech leaders must change how companies tackle technology to unlock new business value (TechRepublic) 

Unsurprisingly, technologists found themselves under considerable strain, with 89% reporting they feel under immense pressure at work and 84% admitting to having difficulty switching off.

Further, many technologists expressed feeling frustrated about work (81%) and experiencing increased levels of conflict with colleagues (63%), the report said. 

The new research also highlights the fact that rapid digital transformation has added staggering technical complexity throughout IT departments, with technologists listing the following factors as key contributors:

● A new set of priorities and challenges (80%)

●Technology sprawl and a patchwork of legacy and cloud technologies (78%)

● Acceleration to cloud computing (77%)

● Multiple, disconnected monitoring systems (74%)

Cutting through the noise is a significant challenge

This rise in IT complexity has significantly increased the amount of data created across the technology stack, from the application through the infrastructure to the network and security, Cisco AppDynamics said.

With this added complexity, 85% of technologists stated that quickly cutting through noise caused by the ever-increasing volumes of data to identify root causes of performance issues will represent a significant challenge in the year ahead, the report said.

Among the other findings were that 95% of technologists said having visibility across the whole IT estate is important, and 96% pointed to negative consequences of not having visibility and insights across the whole tech stack.

While most technologists acknowledge that the ability to monitor the IT stack is important, the overwhelming majority (92%) said the ability to link technology performance to business outcomes such as customer experience, sales transactions and revenue, will be critical to delivering innovation goals over the next year, the company said.

Linking full-stack visibility with business outcomes is the goal

In addition, almost three-quarters (73%) said they fear that the inability to link IT performance with business performance will be detrimental to their business in 2021, the report said. Further, 96% acknowledged that the ability to connect full-stack observability with real-time business outcomes will be essential to delivering first-class digital experiences and accelerating digital transformation, the report said.

Rather than searching through the vast amounts of telemetry data that comes with a standard full-stack observability approach, technologists recognize they need to observe what matters by applying a business lens to full-stack observability so they can surface the most impactful information quickly, the report said.

This business context will enable them to make sense of what's relevant and take action on the most transformative opportunities, Cisco AppDynamics said.

The report also highlights that while technologists are acutely aware that they need to contextualize IT performance with real-time business data, more than half (66%) of respondents said they do not have the resources and support they need, and 96% noted at least one barrier their organization must navigate in order to adopt this new approach.

Three quarters (75%) of technologists said their organization needs to connect full-stack observability to business outcomes within 12 months in order to remain competitive.

"Full-stack observability is the only way technologists can deal with the sprawling IT estate and increased complexity created by such rapid rates of innovation. But on its own, it's just not enough," said Linda Tong, vice president and general manager of Cisco AppDynamics, in a statement. "Technologists have recognized that without business context, they will quickly find themselves drowning in complexity and data noise."

Cisco AppDynamics said its research included interviews with 1,050 IT professionals in organizations with a turnover of at least $500m in 11 major markets in a wide range of industries.

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