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Investing in operations: is it worth it?

New research shows the far-reaching business impact of analytics and automation in IT infrastructure operations.

Investing in operations: is it worth it?

Read the full report, “Transforming IT Operations”, to discover a new four-step maturity model for data-driven operations, as well as best practices drawn from leading companies. Ready to start your journey? Benchmark yourself on our five-minute self-assessment.

Operations is a strategic priority

For innovation-minded CIOs, operations can sometimes seem like a frustrating distraction from more exciting challenges. But new research with more than 1,500 IT leaders suggests it’s time for a reappraisal.

They told us loud and clear that investing in IT operations directly contributes to transformational business outcomes, such as innovation and customer experience.

And this is pushing businesses to extend their investments. Already, organisations are allocating 28% of the IT budget to initiatives around transforming operations. 68% expect that to increase in the year ahead.


Analytics and automation promises an end to firefighting

The focal point for all these investments is one word: data.

CIOs know that to effectively manage infrastructure their operations teams need to have clear insight into events, which informs decision-making and enables automation of formerly manual tasks such as patching and provisioning.

Armed with data and automation, operations teams can detect and respond faster to events such as outages, predict and prevent problems that haven’t even happened yet, and ultimately move toward a mode of continuous data-driven optimisation of the entire infrastructure. We mapped these capabilities onto a four-stage maturity model.






“We react to operational events as they happen”

“We learn from past events to improve our processes”

“We use data to predict and respond to imminent events”

“We use data to continuously optimize our outcomes”

Investing in operations is already showing results

Although our research found that only 14% of organisations have reached the highest level of operations maturity, “preemptive”, respondents at every level reported seeing real impact from their investments over the past year.

·       53% said they’d seen “significant” improvements in operational metrics like quality, reflecting the impact on availability and performance.

·       49% saw “significant” improvements in productivity, and 44% in responsiveness, as teams are freed up from repetitive manual tasks.

·       With more free time to invest, it’s no surprise that 89% had seen improvements in innovation, and greater satisfaction from internal stakeholders.

·       Perhaps most importantly, 40% said that their business “heavily” uses operations data for decision-making. Operational data is a valuable source of insights not only for technical decisions, but to the business. This goes to explain why 88% said their operations investments have improved external customer satisfaction.


Bringing the changes to life

Need an example? Here at Cisco we’re applying analytics and automation to our own operations, through intent-based infrastructure.

For instance, in the data centre, ACI is enabling us to define policies, monitor and assure service levels, and automate configuration changes. Cisco DNA is doing the same in the network.

The results have been tremendous: 50% improvements in engineer productivity, 63% reduction in network provisioning time, and 21% reduction in management costs. Check out the video to hear more.


As we explain in the reportgetting to results like these will require not just new tools and technologies, but talent, leadership, process changes, and likely support from vendors throughout your transformation too. It’s a long road to walk — but our research shows that every step pays off.



Read the full report

Read the full report