CIOs and IT decision makers (ITDMs) are looking to maximize investments and drive innovation after a difficult year which raised the profile of IT leaders in driving critical workplace innovation, according to Cisco's new Accelerating Digital Agility Research.
Over the past twelve months, CIOs and ITDMs from across the globe have been challenged to accelerate their digital and cloud capabilities while protecting their organizations from a growing list of expanding security threats. IT leaders must look to maximize critical investments made in 2020.
To set up their organizations for success in 2021 and beyond, IT leaders have adapted priorities and strategy to focus on core issues including delivering secure collaboration tools to keep distributed workforces productive, maximizing technology investments from the past year, delivering the best end-use experience to employees and customers, embracing cloud and "as a Service," and tackling corporate and societal issues with technology.
"IT leaders are at the forefront of ensuring critical success for their organizations in 2021," said Liz Centoni, Cisco's Chief Strategy Officer and GM, Applications. "Even as questions remain and new challenges will surface, CIOs and IT decision makers are telling us they need to accelerate digital agility for their teams, so they have the speed, flexibility and choice to consume services across both traditional and modern environments."
Key findings of the research:
Secure Access and Effective Collaboration
To prepare for the future of work, teams need highly secure access and the best collaboration experiences to succeed as a hybrid workforce.
While a majority (61%) of CIOs and ITDMs are unsure of what the future of work looks like, 89% believe that maintaining security, control, and governance across user devices, networks, clouds, and applications is essential.
Most (86%) agree it is important to empower a distributed workforce with seamless access to applications and high-quality collaborative experiences.
Securing the expanded threat landscape created by a distributed workforce is paramount — 88% believe it is important to secure remote work tools and protect customer or employee data in the distributed work environment.
Optimized end-user experiences
IT teams must create optimized end-user experiences to keep pace with IT environments that have become increasingly distributed, dynamic, and complex.
89% think it is important to ensure a consistent application performance across both the application and infrastructure
More than three-fourths of the CIOs and ITDMs surveyed agree that user experience should focus on delight versus satisfaction. To deliver a great user experience, 89% think it is important to ensure a consistent application performance across both the application and infrastructure, and 86% believe it is important to make infrastructure as dynamic as application software to meet the changing policy and optimization needs of the application and developer.
While the user experience should aim to delight, nearly all (90%) say it is important or very important to maintain application-to-infrastructure security to meet compliance without slowing down the business.
The need for agility, speed, scalability and security is driving adoption of hybrid cloud environments and SASE (Secure Access Service Edge) solutions.
CIOs and ITDMs are using cloud to achieve business resilience. However, there is no one-size-fits-all cloud solution.
While most CIOs and ITDMs (84%) agree it is important to offer freedom of choice when it comes to cloud environments — whether on premises, public cloud, private cloud or SaaS — 86% think offering a consistent operational model across these environments is essential.
Nearly 70% of CIOs and ITDMs have adopted SASE solutions because they were investing in cloud applications that needed to be secured (61%), they like to stay up-to-date on industry best practices (56%) and/or their workforce is going to stay distributed (37%).
Customers expect a cloud-consumption experience regardless of whether their solutions are deployed on-prem or in the cloud, leading to widespread adoption of "as a Service" solutions.
Of those surveyed, 73% have adopted "as a Service" solutions and 76% use flexible consumption models.
Three fourths of those surveyed believe that "as a Service" will help deliver a better experience for the end user and a better experience for IT teams, helping their organizations achieve operational consistency.
In addition, 76% say "as a Service" will provide better business outcomes, and 77% want "as a Service" solutions to simplify processes and remove risk.
Technology will be a driving factor
Technology will be a driving factor in the facilitation of CIOs and ITDMs to tackle talent retention, internal corporate initiatives and broader societal issues in 2021.
Most CIOs and ITDMs (85%) believe the ability to attract and retain talent in the all-digital world will be critical.
Nearly half of those surveyed said they are upskilling current talent (49%) and investing in talent in new areas (46%) over the next 12 months.
Most CIOs and ITDMs (90%) plan to tackle internal initiatives in 2021, including sustainability (50%), employee mental health (50%), privacy (47%), diversity and inclusion (47%).
In addition, 85% will tackle external societal issues in 2021, including digital divide (39%), healthcare (37%), climate change (35%), social justice (34%), human rights (33%), misinformation or "fake news" (31%), poverty, hunger and homelessness (28%).
Achieve more with less. How many of you feel that pressure — or, even worse, hear those words — trickle down from leadership? The reality is that overworked and under-resourced IT departments will only lead to chronic errors, missed deadlines and service assurance failures. After all, we're only human. So what are overburdened IT departments to do? Reduce the human factor. In a word: automate ...
On average, data innovators release twice as many products and increase employee productivity at double the rate of organizations with less mature data strategies, according to the State of Data Innovation report from Splunk ...
While 90% of respondents believe observability is important and strategic to their business — and 94% believe it to be strategic to their role — just 26% noted mature observability practices within their business, according to the 2021 Observability Forecast ...
Let's explore a few of the most prominent app success indicators and how app engineers can shift their development strategy to better meet the needs of today's app users ...
Business enterprises aiming at digital transformation or IT companies developing new software applications face challenges in developing eye-catching, robust, fast-loading, mobile-friendly, content-rich, and user-friendly software. However, with increased pressure to reduce costs and save time, business enterprises often give a short shrift to performance testing services ...
DevOps, SRE and other operations teams use observability solutions with AIOps to ingest and normalize data to get visibility into tech stacks from a centralized system, reduce noise and understand the data's context for quicker mean time to recovery (MTTR). With AI using these processes to produce actionable insights, teams are free to spend more time innovating and providing superior service assurance. Let's explore AI's role in ingestion and normalization, and then dive into correlation and deduplication too ...
As we look into the future direction of observability, we are paying attention to the rise of artificial intelligence, machine learning, security, and more. I asked top industry experts — DevOps Institute Ambassadors — to offer their predictions for the future of observability. The following are 10 predictions ...
One thing is certain: The hybrid workplace, a term we helped define in early 2020, with its human-centric work design, is the future. However, this new hybrid work flexibility does not come without its costs. According to Microsoft ... weekly meeting times for MS Teams users increased 148%, between February 2020 and February 2021 they saw a 40 billion increase in the number of emails, weekly per person team chats is up 45% (and climbing), and people working on Office Docs increased by 66%. This speaks to the need to further optimize remote interactions to avoid burnout ...
Here's how it happens: You're deploying a new technology, thinking everything's going smoothly, when the alerts start coming in. Your rollout has hit a snag. Whole groups of users are complaining about poor performance on their devices. Some can't access applications at all. You've now blown your service-level agreement (SLA). You might have just introduced a new security vulnerability. In the worst case, your big expensive product launch has missed the mark altogether. "How did this happen?" you're asking yourself. "Didn't we test everything before we deployed?" ...
The Fastly outage in June 2021 showed how one inconspicuous coding error can cause worldwide chaos. A single Fastly customer making a legitimate configuration change, triggered a hidden bug that sent half of the internet offline, including web giants like Amazon and Reddit. Ultimately, this incident illustrates why organizations must test their software in production ...