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Cisco Connected IT Insights

Executive Summary

More than ever, the future is uncertain. The world has changed forever.

But life goes on… most strikingly, through digital experiences.

Children moved to remote or hybrid learning in a matter of weeks. Governments around the world met and legislated virtually. Telehealth adoption increased significantly. And working remotely…working from anywhere, actually, has become the norm.

Today’s users are demanding frictionless digital experiences. In response, organisations are focusing their energy and urgency on accelerating their digital transformation and adoption of digital-first models.

What lies beneath the digital experience?

Optimising the technology powering digital experiences can be hard. Users are accessing applications on any device, from anywhere. Business and technology landscapes are evolving at an accelerated pace due to the pandemic. And when problems arise somewhere in this increasingly complex environment, the consequences can be severe. Users are not only increasingly reliant on digital experiences, they’re also increasingly less tolerant of poor performance.

These dynamics are not lost on organisations. When they were asked to identify goals that were made more or significantly more important due to the pandemic:

  • 89% said improving remote work inclusion
  • 83% saw expanding their use of public cloud services
  • 72% said identifying root causes of issues faster
  • 70% saw improving protection from bad actors1

As cloud and the Internet become the new data centre and network, respectively, the degree of visibility and control that an organisation has over its environment shrinks. Meanwhile, the number of blind spots and their potential to negatively impact performance grows.

Organisations often find themselves responding to problems from isolated islands of operations, a situation the pandemic is only making worse. The number of organisations able to seamlessly collaborate across different business units dropped by 20% due to the pandemic. The number that could anticipate and respond rapidly to market changes and changes in customers’ needs dropped by 18%.1

From monitoring to observability

The long tradition of using a patchwork of tools to individually monitor applications, infrastructure, and networks is no longer enough. Digital experiences and next-generation architectures demand an evolution of monitoring into a process that offers insight into your digital business applications and experiences – a process known as observability.

But observability, though easily claimed, can be harder to fully realise. Because true observability looks beyond a single layer, beyond silos. It needs to understand the interaction and interdependencies between the multiple and distributed systems spanning the digital experience. It needs to help bring teams and business context together to more quickly identify root causes of performance issues, prioritise fixes based on potential business impact, and take action. It needs to see it all.

From observability to actionable insights

Observability has the potential to bring together executive leaders, like CIOs, and their teams, namely AppOps, SecOps, InfraOps, and NetOps to “see it all” and gain actionable insights at every layer, between layers, and between IT and the business across the digital experience.

Cisco Connected IT Insights demonstrates what this level of observability can reveal when it comes to an organisations critical priorities:

  • Reimagining their applications
  • Transforming their infrastructure
  • Securing their data
  • Empowering their teams

Here are some of the key takeaways:

#1: Blind spots matter

The seismic shift to remote work overnight and shutdowns for the general populace has resulted in greater reliance on digital experiences and application performance on any device, from anywhere, at any time. The expansion and evolution of the landscape underlying these experiences has created, and in some cases uncovered, blind spots: those areas with enormous potential to negatively impact the experience, but which an organisation has little visibility of or control over.

#2: Variability matters

While the global impact of the pandemic has been felt by all, not all responses to it are the same. Remote workforces have grown dramatically but not equally amongst different industries. Not all application and deployment types weathered the spike equally well. And with security attacks on the rise, the types of attacks – and their targets – shifted.

#3: Patterns and context matter

Ultimately, reducing the amount of time taken to identify the root cause of a problem and take action is the name of the game. But the sheer number of performance issues given the increased reliance, complexity, and variability of digital experiences, has meant organisations can be easily overwhelmed. The key to avoiding this is in achieving enough visibility in all relevant areas to begin identifying patterns. Patterns in remote worker requirements by industry, application anomalies, and cyberthreats, are all good examples. Context is also needed to help prioritise issues and actions based upon their level of business impact.

Leading operational organisations recognise this. They understand that the more you can see, the more you can solve. The more you can solve, the more you can automate. And the more you can automate, the more resilient and agile your entire organisation becomes. They identify data quality as the top goal for IT operations and plan to increase investments in automation technologies within the next 12 months. Why? Because they expect automation to have a positive impact on KPIs. When leading operational organisations were asked which KPIs saw some to large positive impact from their automation efforts, they answered:

  • Revenue improvement (91%)
  • Customer satisfaction (89%) 
  • Application uptime (89%)
  • Infrastructure uptime (85%)
  • Mean-time-to-repair, MTTR (82%)
  • Cost savings (79%)2

With observability across the full stack of available data and across the entire digital experience, organisations gain the ability to improve relationships with their most important stakeholders – their workforce and their customers. To act rather than react in the face of change. To emerge from this recovery stronger and thrive.

To learn more explore the Cisco Connected IT Insights experience.

  • 1Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Cisco, December 2020
  • 2Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Cisco, December 2020

Learn more about observability and actionable insights