A defining moment: the next 12 months will be critical for businesses on their journey to full-stack observability

New research from Cisco AppDynamics shows that the journey to full-stack observability is well underway. By James Harvey, Executive CTO EMEAR at Cisco AppDynamics

With people using a wider range of applications than ever before, consumers’ eyes have been opened to the incredible digital experiences that are now on offer. Across every sector, from retail to technology, online users have come to demand the ‘total application experience’, and they now expect businesses to provide a high-performing, reliable digital service that is simple, secure, and helpful. At a time when customers are spoilt for choice with online services, they now have little tolerance for anything less than the best digital experiences.

An observability awakening

However, delivering experiences of this quality has proven an increasingly challenging endeavour. As many organisations have embarked on journeys of rapid digital transformation, they have found themselves faced with spiralling IT complexity and an inability to closely monitor performance across their IT stack. Businesses are now looking to build on their existing monitoring capabilities and equip themselves with new solutions that can allow them to meet customer demands.

The latest report from AppDynamics, The Journey to Observability, reveals that concerns around IT complexity have been a leading force in businesses’ growing appetite for full-stack observability, with a majority of technologists (54%) describing it as a key driver of this shift in attitudes. This data shows that IT leaders are increasingly looking for innovative ways to improve visibility across their organisation and deliver exceptional digital experiences to customers.

Whereas 12 months ago, the general feeling amongst technologists was one of uncertainty and some trepidation about the size and complexity of the challenge ahead, there is now an overriding sense of positivity and confidence surrounding full-stack observability solutions. Full-stack observability is now a leading priority for their business, with 86% of technologists reporting that demand for observability tools within their organisation has increased over the last 12 months.

Early strides towards full-stack observability lay the groundwork for 2022

Already, some business leaders are starting to feel the impact of having their technologists focused on key strategic priorities, such as digital transformation and enhanced customer experience, rather than the constant firefighting of the past two years. These include improved productivity within the IT department, enhanced collaboration across the business and reduced operational costs due to teams having to spend less time reacting to performance issues. With enhanced visibility across their IT stack, it is becoming easier for technologists to get to the root cause of performance problems and fix issues before they adversely affect the user experience.

However, in order to realise the full benefits of this transition, businesses will have to advance beyond the initial phases of full-stack observability adoption that many still find themselves in. Although 81% of technologists have now defined a full-stack observability strategy, only 48% have taken first steps and just 24% are in execution mode.

In progressing through this multi-stage journey, businesses need to be aware of the implementation challenges they might encounter and understand how to overcome them. Some of the most prevalent issues include implementation challenges (40%), integration issues and concerns (42%) and concerns about increasing complexity as they scale (30%).

Overcoming these challenges will depend on a combination of factors, including a clear implementation and integration roadmap, senior leadership commitment and identifying the right technology vendor. Therefore, success hinges on the support of the wider business to respond to this imperative with the urgency it demands.

2022: It’s ‘go time’ for businesses.

This next year will be critical for businesses, as inaction may result in them being left behind. Enterprises that do not make significant strides towards full-stack observability in the next 12 months will face a competitive disadvantage compared to their peers. 20% of UK technologists noted that a loss of revenue and customers arising from technology performance issues was one of the biggest organisational consequences of failing to progress full-stack observability. As a result, business stakeholders are now strongly backing the transition to full-stack observability and freeing up the resources for technologists to accelerate their implementation programs.

Technologists are right to approach 2022 with confidence. They’ve already made remarkable progress. They’ve identified areas of focus, and, most of all, they now have the full backing of business leaders, with a clear understanding of their trajectory over the next 12 months.

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