How IT Can Survive "The Perfect Storm" of Digital Disruption
A survey on modern IT operations highlights the need for DevOps orientation, business alignment, and new skills
November 20, 2019

Bhanu Singh
OpsRamp

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Digital disruption is creating both opportunity and havoc on IT departments and business units. The rapid pace of technology innovation, and along with it constantly-changing consumer preferences, requires everyone to operate in a more adaptable, agile manner. DevOps was created to address this new business environment, and its automated, data-centric practices are trickling over into IT operations.

Recently, OpsRamp surveyed 250 IT professionals, at the manager level or above, in US-based companies with more than 500 employees. The survey results give a glimpse into challenges and priorities in modern IT operations.

While more than 50% of the respondents said that their company has 50 to 70% of its infrastructure in the cloud, signaling progression toward more efficient, distributed environments, the 2019 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey indicated that only 30% of IT organizations are digital leaders, meaning they are very or extremely effective at using digital technology to advance their business strategy. Put simply, many organizations struggle to deliver business value from cloud investments. So what’s holding them back?

1. Show Me the Talent: A vast majority of organizations, 94%, struggle to find the right cloud and DevOps talent to further their strategic initiatives, according to data that OpsRamp collected at the end of 2018. The OpsRamp survey found that DevOps tops the list of needed IT skills. Talent is at the core of IT operations, and as technologies change, IT staff must be able to adapt their skill sets.

2. Show Me the Money: More than 60% of survey participants cited budgetary concerns as a major impediment to progress. The fact that CEOs have been hearing for years that the cloud will save companies millions in IT costs isn’t likely helping matters. It’s expensive to run multi-cloud and hybrid environments, and tool sprawl and shadow IT is getting out of hand.

3. Show Me the Data: Complete visibility into operational data is critical to gaining an upper hand in both cost and performance. But legacy tools don’t play well in the cloud, and too many point tools create confusion.


IT Ops tips for survival: Adapting to new business requirements and technological shifts requires that IT Ops teams adopt a different viewpoint, and along with that, skills and culture. OpsRamp’s survey uncovered some common thinking among IT Operations leaders on how to address talent, budget, and data management pains amid digital disruption.

Get down to business

Two-thirds (64%) of IT operations leaders believe their job is to deliver agile, responsive, and resilient infrastructure that supports the business in the moment of need. IT Ops should know which services are vital to the business and how IT resources map to them. Is it growing sales from the website or reducing customer churn? Modern IT platforms that deliver contextual correlations should be a top priority.

People, people, people

Beyond the coveted DevOps pros, IT organizations desperately need cloud architects, cloud engineers and data scientists who get modern infrastructure. Compensation remains the most important factor in attracting talent, cited by 69% of respondents. Because of the dearth in these newer skill sets, IT needs to retrain existing staff to help fill the talent gap. The IBM Institute for Business Value reports that more than 120 million employees in the twelve-largest global economies will need retraining in the next three years.

Culture is everything

Creating a supportive and innovative culture plays a role in both retention and productivity. Give employees the tools and the flexibility they need to perform and encourage opportunities for cross-function learning and collaboration. Technical professionals benefit in many ways from being connected to the business; IT leaders need them to have that domain knowledge as well. An understanding of the company’s market, competition and objectives goes hand-in-hand with developing the optimal applications and services to support the business — and that gives CIO ammunition to ask for bigger budgets.

Stop wasting time

On a high level, the OpsRamp survey shows that IT leaders measure IT operations performance on cost (60%), customer satisfaction (52%), and agility/turnaround time (46%). IT Operations teams spend too much time identifying root causes and finding the right people and solutions to fix issues and restore service levels. CIOs who can help their IT teams work smarter, faster and more cost-effectively will enhance IT’s credibility across the business.

Clean house on outdated or redundant systems

In both the business and IT environments, large companies simply have too many tools and applications—which runs up management costs and hampers visibility into trends for decision-making. A recent IDC survey found that 65% of enterprises will aggressively modernize legacy systems with extensive new platform investments through 2023. Platforms enhanced with intelligent automation aided by artificial intelligence will help IT Ops get more value from the data by proactively suggesting the best fixes for the most important problems. Finally, IT tools integration is paramount. The ability to see trends across all resources will elevate IT operations from a troubleshooter to a business-enabler.

IT Operations teams have lagged behind some of the modern IT practices for deployment and management, but the time is now to adopt new ways of working and thinking. With a focus on business metrics, DevOps and cloud skills, and IT Ops platform modernization, IT Operations can help their organizations achieve higher value from technology investments.

Bhanu Singh is SVP of Product Management and Engineering at OpsRamp
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