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Urgent: Technologists must sway leaders on app observability
Thu, 27th Jul 2023

Technologists across all industries are recognizing the need for new approaches to get a grip on the soaring levels of complexity that are engulfing IT departments. Rapid adoption of cloud native technologies has left IT teams managing an increasingly fragmented and volatile hybrid IT environment and being bombarded with overwhelming volumes of data.

Currently, most technologists don’t have the tools and insights they need to manage availability and performance across these hybrid environments, and this is making effective troubleshooting almost impossible. The result is a dramatically heightened risk of disruption and downtime to applications and supporting infrastructure and poor digital experiences for customers and employees.

In response, almost all technologists now believe that their IT department needs to move from a monitoring approach to an application observability solution to manage a hybrid environment. In fact, in the latest research from Cisco AppDynamics, The Age of Application Observability, 86% of technologists in Singapore state that application observability is now a strategic priority for their organization.

Application observability enables IT teams to cut through the complexity of their hybrid environments and ensure that applications are operating at peak performance at all times. Application observability provides unified visibility across all IT environments - whether on-premises or in the cloud - and correlates IT performance data with business metrics. This allows technologists to easily detect issues and understand root causes, resulting in faster remediation and a more seamless end-user experience.

Worryingly, however, the research reveals that while technologists are acutely aware of the need for application observability, they are yet to convince senior leaders within their organizations. 78% in Singapore report that leaders within their organization do not fully understand that modern applications need modern approaches and tools to manage availability, performance and security. And this could have profound implications on the ability of IT teams to successfully implement new solutions - in terms of the necessary budget, sponsorship, skills and cultural change.

I believe that there are two key messages that technologists need to convey to persuade business leaders of the need for application observability:

1. Application observability is essential to ensure seamless digital experiences and sustain rapid pace of innovation
Whatever the industry, the need for brands to deliver world-class digital experiences to customers at all times is now business-critical. Consumers today simply will not tolerate application performance issues, and they’ll turn their back on any brand that slips up. Likewise, businesses need to ensure that digital services are always optimized to enable hybrid work - otherwise, they risk big dips in workforce productivity and engagement.

With this in mind, technologists need to communicate to business leaders how the task of delivering a seamless digital experience has become almost impossible. With application components running across a mix of public and private cloud native platforms and on-premises databases, visibility gaps are being exposed, and the risk of disruption, downtime or security breaches is rising significantly. Traditional application monitoring solutions simply aren’t fit for purpose within hybrid IT environments.

Ultimately, business leaders need to understand that without modern application observability solutions, their organization risks jeopardizing all of its innovation efforts. There is no point investing massive amounts of money in cloud technologies if IT teams are unable to optimize availability, performance and security within new applications and underlying infrastructure. Application observability has become the foundation for accelerated and sustainable innovation.

2. Application observability provides a platform to validate investments in cloud and digital transformation
With the economic slowdown impacting all industries and many organizations looking to streamline costs, digital transformation budgets are coming under increased scrutiny. Business leaders want to understand the impact that their investments in innovation, and particularly in cloud migration, are delivering to the business.

Currently, most IT departments don’t have the unified visibility and insights they need to measure the impact of IT on the business. They're still deploying separate monitoring tools across their IT estate, so can’t get a complete picture to link IT data with business metrics.

Technologists should be ‘selling’ application observability to business leaders to connect IT performance directly to business outcomes, allowing them to validate their investments in digital transformation and cloud migration. With application observability, business leaders can direct their investments in areas where they will deliver maximum commercial impact.

Any business case for application observability should have these two core benefits at its center. And it should focus not just on technology solutions but also the skills, processes and structures required for IT departments to optimize performance and deliver rapid innovation in complex, hybrid IT environments. The shift to application observability requires cultural change, with all technologists collaborating around a single source of truth for IT data and working together to achieve a shared vision and objectives.

Crucially, when it comes to selecting an application observability solution, technologists need to ensure they have the skills and knowledge required to make the right decision for their organization. Currently, 82% in Singapore admit that they find it difficult to differentiate between different application observability and monitoring solutions, so evidently, there is a need for greater education within what is still a rapidly evolving market. Technologists should be looking to trusted partners to help them to navigate through this process and implement a solution which not only works now but can flex to support them through future digital transformation initiatives.

Encouragingly, most organizations are already exploring application observability solutions, and 46% in Singapore are planning to do so in the next 12 months. Technologists are excited about the impact that application observability can deliver to end users, the business and within the IT department itself. The challenge now is to get business leaders to recognize the game-changing benefits that application observability can bring.