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Pressure on technical leaders to deliver on digital customer experiences has never been greater. According to one estimate, companies that top loyalty and satisfaction rankings for three or more years increase revenues 2.5 times faster than their peers. Digital teams are stretched thin to not only deliver the innovation, speed and continuous uptime that helps to drive this customer experience but also cost savings, IT efficiencies and more.
In our latest global study of 700 senior IT and development decision-makers, most (72%) unsurprisingly say they’re accelerating digital transformation, and that digital channels have never been more important (71%). Following their pandemic experience, many also say they have learned the importance of maturing their digital operations to be more proactive (64%) and align IT to the wider business strategy (66%). But recognizing this is just the first step.
These are important shifts that are absolutely necessary for long-lasting growth and will require huge cultural and technological investment to move the needle for the business. But whether it’s a mobile banking app or a new AI chatbot on a retail website, digital services increasingly define customer experience success, and therefore the success of the business.
Balancing Innovation and Incident Response
The challenge for technical leaders tasked with driving this success is that core digital transformation initiatives, such as migrating to multi and hybrid clouds or a shift towards microservices, inevitably introduce greater levels of complexity and change into systems that can put uptime for critical customer-facing services at risk. On average, 70% of incidents are caused by changes introduced to the system, so digital acceleration inherently increases the chance for digital incidents that can threaten a brand’s customer experience and reputation. This, in turn, places incredible stress on frontline responders and can harm developer productivity, and, if left unmanaged, can cause burnout and attrition.
Unfortunately, many teams are working with one arm tied behind their back due to legacy IT operating models ill-suited to the dynamic and highly complex technology stacks of the digital era. A majority (62%) of technical leaders say that it’s difficult to find the right person to fix an issue because services have introduced additional complexity and multiple owners. The same number complained that traditional, ticket-based ITOps approaches lead to IT teams wasting time figuring out how to respond to incidents.
This is having a direct impact on the bottom line. The challenge for technical leaders is to minimize the time spent firefighting incidents to ensure that enough resources are spent on innovation without affecting customer experience. It’s not just a technical, but also a human challenge: 78% of leaders say the growing number of incidents has put extra pressure on their teams, and 70% think they need a new way to deal with escalating incidents if they’re to innovate at pace.
Leaders, therefore, need a more dynamic, sustainable way to handle digital incidents, one which prioritizes team health to ensure workers remain happy and productive. This is particularly important at a time when many are re-evaluating their lives and careers, and employers must fight harder than ever to retain the brightest and best talent.
What’s Next: Harness Real-Time Digital Operations
So, what happens next? It’s clear that leaders want to do better. They understand that uptime is money and that ticket-based incident response must be replaced with more proactive, real-time ITOps-based ways of working. Failing to do so could see incidents continue to cost organizations millions, damaging customer experience and reputation at the same time.
The answer? For many, it lies in real-time digital operations. Nearly all (97%) of those we spoke to wanted to make the shift to real-time digital operations to improve their ability to keep digital services always on, and two-thirds (65%) believe that doing so will allow them to reduce the cost of ITOps and accelerate innovation.
To enable this modern vision of real-time operations, three-quarters (73%) of leaders are investing in AIOps and automation. Not only will this drive productivity and reduce manual, repetitive work, but it will reduce incident response delays, improve collaboration and free-up time for teams to focus on innovation. It can also improve service ownership among responders, which has been proven to lead to better outcomes.
The bottom line is that digital dependency is the next normal for organizations today. But with AI-powered real-time operations, technical leaders have an answer, one that will proactively enable them to keep the lights on and delight customers.
The New Stack is a wholly owned subsidiary of Insight Partners, an investor in the following companies mentioned in this article: Real.
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