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David Noël, regional vice president, Southern Europe, Middle East & Africa at AppDynamics

Across all industries, technologists have come to the fore over the last 18 months, delivering the rapid innovation and faultless digital experiences their organizations have needed to navigate the pandemic.

In the latest AppDynamics Agents of Transformation study, Agents of Transformation: The Rise of Full-Stack Observability, we found that during the pandemic digital transformation has, on average, been running at three times the speed it was previously. And what’s more, most technologists expect the pace of digital transformation to increase further over the next 12 months, as organizations look to build on this momentum around innovation and embed the operational agility and resilience required to compete in a turbulent market.

But this relentless acceleration of digital transformation comes at a cost. IT departments find themselves drowning in a sea of complexity and bombarded with overwhelming volumes of data. And technologists continue to operate under intense pressure, constantly firefighting IT issues but without the insight to know where to focus their efforts.

The current situation needs to be addressed, and quickly. Otherwise, organizations will risk jeopardizing past and future investment in digital transformation and falling behind their competitors.

So, as technologists look ahead to further, increasingly challenging times, here are three steps you can take to give yourself (and your team) the best possible chance of success and ease the pressure in your IT department.

Make sure you have visibility across the entire IT estate
Much of the complexity you currently face probably stems from the fact that you don’t have full visibility of the entire IT estate, across both traditional, legacy IT systems and new, hybrid cloud environments.

Without this unified view of the IT stack, from customer-facing applications down to core network and infrastructure, it’s impossible to identify why a performance issue is occurring. Technologists need this level of insight to get a technical view of why an anomaly is occurring and how they can resolve it in an efficient way before it causes a negative impact on end users and the business. Without this, IT teams spend large amounts of time trying to isolate where issues are happening and get stuck in a never-ending cycle of firefighting.

To get on the front foot, you need to implement genuine, full-stack observability so that you can monitor and manage IT issues in real-time. This will mean you spend less time frantically trying to locate root causes and give you more time to optimize customer experience and innovation.

Approach IT performance and innovation through a business lens
Even with full visibility of the IT estate, it’s still difficult to cut through the data noise and pinpoint the issues which have the biggest impact on end users and the business. And like most technologists, you’re probably having to rely on gut instinct when making these decisions on a daily basis.

To tackle complexity and get a clear line of sight through all of the data, you need the right tools and insights to understand how performance issues affect customers and the business, in real-time. This allows you to identify and fix critical issues early before they impact too many end users,

Look to connect IT performance with business outcomes, such as customer experience, sales transactions and revenue, so you can see which issues really matter and those that don’t.

And by doing this, you will suddenly have a way to prioritize your actions (and those of your team) and to leave behind those feelings of being overwhelmed by incidents.

Continually demonstrate the value of innovation to the business
One of the biggest frustrations for technologists over the past year has been the inability to measure or monetize the positive impact of a healthy IT ecosystem and the cost of delay.

Of course, all business stakeholders should be aware of the contribution that IT departments have made during the pandemic, in many cases enabling organizations to continue to serve customers and employees to operate remotely. But, due to the sheer urgency of digital transformation, little attention has been given to measuring and reporting on the business value and ROI of recent innovation programs.

After more than a year of accelerated digital transformation, it’s time to take stock and put this right; otherwise there is a danger that business leaders will start to forget or overlook the contribution that technologists are making to their organizations on a daily basis.

By connecting IT data with real-time business metrics, you can immediately track (and report on) how optimized technology health and performance improves user and business outcomes. And you can validate the impact of every IT department action by analyzing the impact on business KPIs.

With this robust data, it becomes much easier to demonstrate how IT (and the IT department itself) is driving the business forward and contributing to commercial results. And from there, doors will start to open much more easily, in terms of investment for future innovation, budget for new IT tools and upskilling, and in terms of your own professional development and career opportunities.

The year ahead is set to be the most challenging yet for technologists in all sectors — but with the right approach to digital transformation and a business lens on IT performance, you can ensure it is also the most successful and rewarding.

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