Industry experts — from analysts and consultants to users and the top vendors — offer thoughtful, insightful, and often controversial predictions on how APM and related technologies will evolve and impact business in 2021. Part 5 covers the ITOps team.
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION ESSENTIAL FOR SURVIVAL
In the investment world, there is a financial concept known as a "zombie company." These companies are only able to remain in business because financial debt is artificially cheap. When rates rise to normal levels, they are not able to survive. In the IT world, the pandemic has exposed a new type of zombie company: a company that has not digitally transformed their IT infrastructure and operations and was surviving because they relied on their brick-and-mortar business or antiquated supply chains. These zombie companies are going to die off in 2021. Economic contraction is going to eliminate companies who have not modernized their IT and infrastructure, and therefore can't address the demand for digital services.
Field CTO, BigPanda, and former Head of IT Ops at Blizzard Entertainment
Watch on-demand: The IT Ops Virtual Summit
REMOTE WORK CONTINUES
Work from Home Challenges will Increase: Remote and hybrid work models are here to stay and the challenges will only increase. Employees will have issues that span from productivity burnout to Zoom fatigue to WI-FI connectivity and security issues. To combat this, enterprises will need to continue to make technology investments to make it easier for employees to work productively and efficiently. This can range from better web cameras that improve video call quality to new business apps that foster better remote work collaboration.
VP of Products, Aternity
As technologies have helped reduce the need for face-to-face meetings, the need to commute into an office has significantly dropped. The pandemic has not only accelerated this trend but is also causing some deep social and economic changes to business and everyday life. With far more employees working remotely, many are moving from the cities to smaller towns and are buying homes. This shift has a major impact on the local cities as this means more people are using the infrastructure and resources in that community every day. Another area of concern is the fast-increasing number of employees working from home requiring better reliability, availability and performance to get their jobs done. In 2021, working from home will remain, creating a long-term demand on infrastructure causing cities to significantly invest more in improving access to services like reliable internet connectivity and improved infrastructure.
CEO and Founder, Catchpoint
Enabling Work from Everywhere for the Digital Nomad: Global enterprises have moved past responding to the requirement of remote work and are now turning a corner to recognize permanent remote work could indeed be the next normal. Google and Facebook are among the first but they will not be the last to create permanent remote work policy. CEOs are now recognizing that enabling a work from everywhere strategy — supported by great technology infrastructure and exceptional digital experience — can be a reality and a business benefit. Employees are enabled with modern hardware and software, by enterprises that recognize the importance of how positive digital experiences can turn into productive and engaged employees.
Download a complimentary copy of Forrester Report: Transform Insights Into a Better Employee Technology Experience
THE HYBRID WORKPLACE
By July 2021, I predict companies will return to a hybrid office/home work model. Many employees fled expensive housing markets and moved to more affordable cities over the last year because they were able to work remotely while retaining their premium salaries. Suddenly, as offices re-open, companies will ask employees to decide whether they want to return to the company locations or take a cut in salary to stay where they are.
VP of Marketing, BigPanda
Download a complimentary copy of IDG 2020 ITOps Report
As we enter 2021, the focus on "work from home" will die as it's replaced by the hybrid workplace. ITOM will double down on its priority to seamlessly enable endpoints for remote work in 2021, but with a focus on enabling the hybrid office vs. working from home. When done well, IT Ops will eliminate "workplace lock-in" and the location of work will become irrelevant. Still stinging from the challenge of moving workers home in just days, ITOM teams will continue to roll out employee workspaces that will operate seamlessly, securely and productively no matter where users work — as they return to the office, continue to work from home, or flexibly jump back and forth.
IT HOUSE CALLS
Many companies closed offices and sent employees home with little to no warning at the start of the pandemic. Because of this rapid transition, employees quickly turned their home into their home office, outdated wifi and all. With no end in sight and many large employers already saying they won't bring people back to office until Q3 2021, IT teams will need to create new employee support policies and standards for home offices. IT will expand its reach past the office into employees' homes to ensure the digital enterprise is not only secure, but helps people be productive.
Principal Scientist, Aternity
Download a complimentary copy of ESG Report: APM Strategies for Cloud-Native Application Environments
AUTOMATION IMPROVES EMPLOYEE QUALITY OF LIFE
Employee quality of life will increase in a meaningful way as a result of automation. The automation of repetitive and minor tasks will free time for more valuable and creative work, allowing IT employees at all levels to focus on more rewarding tasks.
VP Product Marketing, BigPanda
Read Andy Thurai's recent blog on APMdigest: How COVID Pandemic is Making IT Operations Analyst Jobs More Stressful
IT FOCUSES ON THE BUSINESS AND THE BOTTOM LINE
We must realize that this economic collapse was caused not only by the dramatic shutting down of the economy but by a fear of the unknown. This lack of clarity is going to provide challenges for companies that are entering the budget season for 2021. We expect budgets to remain very conservative and changes made short-term in the spring will remain throughout 2021. IT leaders need to be highly collaborative with business stakeholders to align offerings to business needs and the macroeconomic conditions. From a funding perspective, I expect IT to weather the slow economic recovery, but there will be increased pressure to accelerate initiatives that have a solid bottom-line impact. In 2021, IT leaders need to ensure that all initiatives are tied to business objectives and are defensible to generating revenue, reducing customer churn and improving employee collaboration.
CEO, Windward Consulting Group
ENGINEERING KPIS FOR THE C-SUITE
As mobile, desktop and browser app development increases, engineering KPIs become key metrics for the boardroom. Engineering KPIs, such as app stability, traditionally never made their way to the C-suite. This is going to change in 2021. Today, there are more consumers and employees using B2C and B2B apps than ever before. As a result, the app experience (including mobile, desktop and browser) has become critically important for enterprises. Users can’t stand when an app stalls or crashes, and one bad experience can lose a customer forever. Engineering KPIs like app stability have a significant effect on customer conversion rates, average purchase values, engagement, loyalty and other metrics, all of which impact general business outcomes. Engineering and Product executives are now realizing how significantly their apps drive revenue and shape brand reputation. In 2021, we’ll see leadership teams standardizing on engineering KPIs like app stability, which gauge the overall health of the app and the customer and digital transformation experience.
Internet Dependence Sends IT Back to School: 2020 made us all critically reliant on Internet connectivity and for enterprises navigating the risks of outages, many learned the hard way that the Internet is a best effort network made up of thousands of distinct providers, operating on the honor system when it comes to routing integrity. This past year saw significant Internet disruptions, including several caused by BGP hijacking. Although the biggest outage this year (which took down a good chunk of global traffic) wasn't caused by a BGP hijack, it led to service provider CenturyLink/Level 3 accidentally hijacking its customers' routes, causing widespread disruption. In 2021, we'll see Internet literacy become a hot commodity skill for IT practitioners so businesses can quickly identify and address issues in external networks that are beyond their direct control and reduce the risks of downtime.
ITOPS VENDOR CONSOLIDATION
Financial pressure due to the COVID-generated economic downturn will drive consolidation in the IT Ops vendor space. Strong companies will buy up promising but cash-poor start-ups, moving into adjacent spaces through acquisitions.
Field CTO, BigPanda, and former Head of IT Ops at Blizzard Entertainment
Surging stock valuations, cheap money, and newly gained efficiencies coming out of Covid-related efforts will continue to drive mergers and acquisitions in the market.
VP of Global Sales, BigPanda
Download a complimentary copy of Gartner Report: Use AIOps for a Data-Driven Approach to Improve Insights from ITOps Monitoring Tools
IT VENDORS COLLABORATE WITH CUSTOMERS
More than ever, vendors will need to actively engage with customers on how to collaborate as business constraints flow downhill. Vendors need to help customers accelerate projects and decrease the time-to-value by improving efficiency and increasing user adoption. Those who don't actively collaborate with their customers to increase time-to-value or evaluate cost adjustment plans may very well find themselves out in the cold come renewal time. In our recent 2020 COVID-19 IT Economic Impact Study, several Fortune 1000 IT leaders have already identified "non-cooperative" vendors and have started making plans to bring those services back in-house in the coming year.
CEO, Windward Consulting Group
Read Sean McDermott's recent blog on APMdigest: How IT Teams Can Unleash the True Potential of AIOps Through 5 Levels of Maturity
Go to: 2021 Application Performance Management Predictions - Part 6, the final installment in the series, covering ITSM.
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