Pressure mounts on technologists as business leaders fear high-profile digital disasters

October 14 2021

Application and service outages can cause significant financial loss and reputational damage. Full-stack observability should be your first line of defense.

Men standing in a server room facing racks and worrying about application outages and service outages

Last week one of the world’s biggest brands suffered a major outage, with its services offline for over six hours. But let’s face facts. Next week another brand will likely be dealing with a similar firestorm.

In an era of sky-high expectations for digital experiences and record levels of intolerance for poor performance, a disruption to digital services and applications can cause businesses significant financial loss and damage to their reputation. And that’s keeping technologists around the world up at night! I empathize with them — before joining AppDynamics, I was head of DevOps at one of the largest food and drug retailers in the United States, and the responsibility for preventing this type of fallout laid firmly at my door.

In the wake of last week’s events, AppDynamics conducted a global pulse survey of 1,000 IT decision makers in 11 countries to gauge the level of concern surrounding digital disruption to their organizations and the measures they have in place to mitigate such issues. The findings make interesting reading.

87% of enterprise technologists told us that they’re concerned about the potential for a major outage and the resulting disruption to their applications and digital services. And 84% reported being on the receiving end of pressure from their organization’s leadership, as board and executive teams are becoming increasingly focused on the far-reaching consequences of performance issues that impact the user experience. This is piling pressure on IT teams to keep applications and digital services up and running and delivering seamless experiences to users, whether they be customers or employees.

It’s no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced companies to innovate at speed, accelerating digital transformation so customers and users can access information, services and products with ease. The result? Huge technology sprawl, with companies now utilizing a patchwork of legacy and cloud technologies that are extremely difficult to manage. 87% of the technologists we polled said the increasing complexity of their IT stack is causing long delays in identifying the root cause of performance issues.

And the problem isn’t going away. It’s actually getting worse.

So where do technologists go from here? 97% of IT teams have some form of monitoring tools in place, many of which provide highly sophisticated and advanced methods of identifying and fixing anomalies. But they question the effectiveness of these tools in this new world. In fact, only 27% are entirely confident that they meet their needs. This is a concern and explains why such a significant number (72%) recognize the urgency of deploying a full-stack observability solution within the next 12 months if they’re to have the necessary visibility and insights to stave off future application performance issues.

Beyond the technical complexities driving the need for full-stack observability, the other major factor at play is ever-increasing user expectations. A recent AppDynamics study highlighted the staggering reliance consumers now place on applications and digital services and how this has soared since the start of the pandemic. Consumers now report a zero-tolerance policy for poor experiences and automatically place blame on the application and brand, no matter where a performance issue stems from. This leaves technologists with no option but to consider implementing a full-stack observability solution sooner rather than later.

So although it’s nearly impossible to eliminate all potential risk — as proven last week — we as technologists need to do everything we can to ensure that if something does happen, we’re able to establish the root cause and remediate as quickly as possible. Full-stack observability is focused exactly on achieving this level of readiness.

>>> Are you ready to dive in a bit deeper? Check out our latest App Attention Index report to explore what consumers are looking for from their applications and digital experiences and learn more about the AppDynamics Business Observability platform.


Joe Byrne is Vice President of Technology Strategy and Executive 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.

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