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Shifting Left: The IT Impact of COVID-19 By the Numbers

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Summary
On the first episode of the Shifting Left podcast, we talk through the surprising data revealed by a survey of 1,000 IT leaders around the world.

 

Less than four months ago, most of us had never heard of “coronavirus” and the term “social distancing” sounded more like the name of an obscure band than a daily routine. But today, those terms are well understood, and there’s virtually no industry, business, or corner of the globe that hasn’t been affected by the COVID-19 health crisis.

When the pandemic took hold earlier this year, millions of people around the world began working —and doing just about everything else — from home. Social distancing efforts and lockdown restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of the virus meant that many were forced to limit activities outside the home. At that time, the use of applications to power everyday routines skyrocketed and some apps even reported record-breaking usage. From video calls for work and virtual gym classes to ordering groceries and online shopping, apps made it possible for many of us to stay safe during the early and unpredictable days of the pandemic.

While apps have become an increasingly integral and important part of our lives amid COVID-19, that’s not the only transformation that’s taken place. In fact, behind the scenes, IT leaders around the world have been quietly shouldering new demands placed on some of the world’s most popular products and services.

To better understand this phenomenon, AppDynamics surveyed IT professionals across the US, UK, France, Germany, Australia, Canada, UAE, Russia, Japan, and Singapore. The goal was to find out how these new requirements have changed the roles, responsibilities and goals related to IT during this time.

Changing IT Priorities in the Wake of COVID-19

In the first episode of the Shifting Left podcast, Adrienne Jack and I took a deeper dive into the results of the new AppDynamics survey.

What did we find out?

In the survey of 1,000 IT professionals around the world, an overwhelming 95% said the technology priorities at their organizations have changed due to the pandemic, with 88% reporting the digital customer experience is now the new priority.

And even though IT is finally being recognized by business leaders as a major contributor to business continuity, IT professionals are putting in an exponential amount of effort to achieve that recognition. It comes as no surprise then that 61% of IT professionals say they now feel more pressure at work than ever before.

The research also reveals that 81% of IT professionals are now managing spikes in website traffic, 80% are tasked with building positive digital experiences across multiple channels, and 79% are managing Mean Time to Resolution (MTTR) with a remote IT department. At the same time, 80% are also dealing with a lack of unified visibility into the performance of their technology stack and its impact on their customers.

^ That’s a tall order for even the most seasoned IT professionals.

So, how can organizations tackle these daunting challenges?

The Need for Agents of Transformation Is Now

Agents of Transformation — the ”elite shepherds of change” as they’re referred to in the report — are an emerging breed of technologists that have the passion, skill, and vision to drive digital transformation and business impact.

In 2018, the year AppDynamics began researching Agents of Transformation, we found that only 9% of technologists were equipped to harness change and be the digital business leaders that companies truly need. Fast-forward two years to 2020, and the need for Agents of Transformation has not only increased, but also become much more urgent given the new and pressing challenges brought on by COVID-19.

In fact, in response to the pandemic, digital transformation projects that once took a year or more to get approved are now moving forward in a matter of weeks. Most technologists report that they’re firefighting and introducing short-term fixes within the IT environment just to keep apps running, too, potentially risking application performance problems.

Embracing Opportunity in Turbulent Times

COVID-19 is the most disruptive event that many technologists will experience in their entire careers. While some may view that in a negative light, it’s the innovative, forward-thinkers — the Agents of Transformation — that will find that this turbulence can actually create new opportunities for success.

Listen to the Full Episode

Listen to the 10-minute podcast episode for more of the most noteworthy findings from our research on how COVID-19 is impacting IT.