Remote Work and Digital Transformation Exacerbate Challenges of Managing the Modern Stack
April 15, 2021

Ed Sawma
Transposit

Share this

A growing need for process automation as a result of the confluence of digital transformation initiatives with the remote/hybrid work policies brought on by the pandemic was uncovered by an independent survey of over 500 IT Operations, DevOps, and Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) professionals commissioned by Transposit for its inaugural State of DevOps Automation Report.

More than half of respondents reported that the most common challenge while taking action to resolve an incident was a lack of automation. This influx of stressors means ITOps and software engineering teams — including DevOps and SREs — face increasing complexity in their work, leading to significantly more strain and application downtime unless preventive measures are taken.

Service Incidents and Remediation in a Pandemic-Influenced World

The vast majority of organizations surveyed adopted remote/hybrid work policies and augmented digital transformation initiatives since the start of the pandemic. At the same time many have also been hampered by longer incident resolution, inefficient processes, and lack of automation.

9 out of 10 organizations experienced an increase in service incidents that have affected their customers since the start of the pandemic

The acceleration in digital transformation has resulted in an uptick in service incidents, putting a heavier burden on DevOps, SRE, and IT teams. The survey found that 9 out of 10 organizations experienced an increase in service incidents that have affected their customers since the start of the pandemic, with nearly 60% of respondents observing at least a 20% increase in service incidents or more. Most (93%) said incidents were taking longer to resolve while working remotely and nearly 70% saw an increase in the cost of downtime since the pandemic began.

The survey results indicate these findings stem from a number of variables. First, most organizations still rely on manual, repetitive DevOps processes that cause unnecessary toil.

They're also investing precious resources on building custom in-house tools — which burdens all parts of the software stack — when those resources could instead be used on product innovation or customer service initiatives.

Still, organizations are motivated to get the right tools, processes, and reliable automation in place to keep pace with innovation and decrease mean time to resolution (MTTR). The majority of respondents believed that systematically mining insights from human data (such as archived Slack communications, postmortem interviews, group feedback, etc.) could improve both future incident response and fuel operational excellence.

The Growing Popularity of Site Reliability Engineering

SREs are essential to any organization for solving infrastructure and operational problems — and they're going mainstream. In fact, an overwhelming 94% of respondents increased focus on SRE practices in their organization in the past 12 months and 86% of organizations are planning to hire SREs in the next 12 months. While these numbers are high, they're not surprising when considering how engineering and operations teams are being stretched to the limit. Investments in automation are a natural reaction to these circumstances.

Even if organizations do not have formal SRE roles, ITOps teams are adopting SRE practices. Almost all (98%) of respondents with the "VP/Director/Manager IT Operations" role increased focus on SRE practices in their organization in the past 12 months, while 62.4% of IT Operations respondents plan to expand SRE efforts in 2021.

SREs are critical contributors to incident resolution and help teams work with complex distributed systems at scale. However, nearly 80% of respondents said individuals responsible for reliability engineering are experiencing challenges while trying to solve incidents as they are occurring.

Automation Drivers and Barriers

A key takeaway from the study is that automation is a highly valuable tool for engineering operations. Although the benefits of automation are known, nearly half of respondents reported that their engineering operations are only 26-50% automated. Half (51.9%) cited inadequate documentation of institutional knowledge and existing processes as a barrier, followed by lack of clarity about what to automate (47.3%) and the gaps in share of knowledge (43.8%).

While organizations are still draining resources, time, and money on manual tasks while responding to incidents, they're aware something needs to change. This is evidenced by the 40% of organizations who have one or more full time engineers working on custom in-house tools or bots for automating incident response.

Most commercially available automation solutions use the "automate everything" approach and do not incorporate human-in-the-loop automation, which helps explain this finding. And humans aren't going anywhere: the research revealed that 9 out of 10 respondents believe automation should let humans use their judgment at critical decision points to be more reliable and effective.

One simple yet effective beachhead for moving automation forward is documentation. The marriage of automated process documentation that keeps humans in the loop and availability of actionable data on how to operate systems during and in between incidents can improve (MTTR), enhance service reliability, streamline operations, and lower the cost of downtime.

Ed Sawma is VP of Marketing at Transposit
Share this

The Latest

June 18, 2024

With the rise of digital transformation and the increasing reliance on applications for business operations, the need for application performance management (APM) has become more critical ... This blog explains what APM is all about, its significance and key features ...

June 17, 2024

Generative AI (GenAI) has captured significant attention by redefining content creation and automation processes. Despite this surge in GenAI's popularity, it's crucial to highlight the continuous, vital role of machine learning (ML) in underpinning crucial business functions. This era is not about GenAI replacing ML; rather, it's about these technologies collaborating to supercharge intelligent automation across industries ...

June 13, 2024

As organizations continue to navigate their digital transformation journeys, the need for efficient, secure, and scalable data movement strategies has never been more critical ... In an era when enterprise IT landscapes are continually evolving, the strategic movement of data has become a cornerstone of maintaining agility, competitive edge, and operational efficiency ...

June 12, 2024

In May, New Relic published the State of Observability for IT and Telecommunications Report to share insights, statistics, and analysis on the adoption and business value of observability for the IT and telecommunications industries. Here are five key takeaways from the report ...

June 11, 2024
Over the past decade, the pace of technological progress has reached unprecedented levels, where fads both quickly rise and shrink in popularity. From AI and composability to augmented reality and quantum computing, the toolkit of emerging technologies is continuing to expand, creating a complex set of opportunities and challenges for businesses to address. In order to keep pace with competitors, avoiding new models and ideas is not an option. It's critical for organizations to determine whether an idea has transformative properties or is just a flash in the pan — a challenge tackled in Endava's new 2024 Emerging Tech Unpacked Report ...
June 10, 2024

The rapidly evolving nature of the industry, particularly with the recent surge in generative AI, can catch firms off-guard, leaving them scrambling to adapt to new trends without the necessary funds ... This blog will discuss effective strategies for optimizing cloud expenses to free up funds for emerging AI technologies, ensuring companies can adapt and thrive without financial strain ...

June 06, 2024

Software developers are spending more than 57% of their time being dragged into "war rooms" to solve application performance issues, rather than investing their time developing new, cutting-edge software applications as part of their organization's innovation strategy, according to a new report from Cisco ...

June 05, 2024

Generative Artificial Intelligence (GenAI) is continuing to see massive adoption and expanding use cases, despite some ongoing concerns related to bias and performance. This is clear from the results of Applause's 2024 GenAI Survey, which examined how digital quality professionals use and experience GenAI technology ... Here's what we found ...

June 04, 2024

Many times customers want to know why their measured performance doesn't match the speed advertised (by the platform vendor, software vendor, network vendor, etc). Assuming the advertised speeds are (a) within the realm of physical possibility and obeys the laws of physics, and (b) are real achievable speeds and not "click-bait," there are at least ten reasons for being unable to achieve advertised speeds. In situations where customer expectations and measured performance don't align, use the following checklist to help determine the reason(s) why ...

June 03, 2024

With so many systems potentially impacting applications performance, it is critical to find ways to separate insights from data that is often white noise. When cross-functional teams have clear alignment on what KPIs matter to them and their users' experiences, they can implement tools and processes that best support them. In the end, there must be collective ownership ...