Where Do IT Professionals Need the Most Support During COVID-19?
Research shows an increased demand in APM, cloud monitoring and microservices
June 16, 2020

Angie Mistretta
AppDynamics

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As the pressures for companies to deliver exceptional digital experiences dramatically increase, digital transformation is now a key priority for all. Whether its supporting a remote workforce with collaboration tools or updating a healthcare application to make information about testing facilities more available, the COVID-19 pandemic has exponentially accelerated digital transformation projects for internal and external purposes and is forcing IT teams to adopt new systems and expand their existing tools in order to keep up. In verticals such as higher education, finance and retail, we're seeing IT deployment timelines of 5-10 years accelerate to weeks or months as companies contend with students and customers who now only interact through applications.

Our almost instantaneous and complete reliance on technology for day-to-day activities — from working remotely, ordering groceries, or having a happy hour with friends — forced industry professionals to rapidly adapt to meet the new demands. In this new world, where companies are relying on IT teams to have the right answer to each new challenge, it is important to recognize how technology vendors can support them. What are vendors offering and what do these professionals need?

Identifying Where IT Professionals Need the Most Help

To better understand where IT professionals are turning for help, we analyzed the online behaviors of IT decision-makers across the AppDynamics website during a peak period of the COVID-19 pandemic, March 1 through April 4, 2020. Our research found an increase in demand for resources related to APM, microservices and dependence on cloud services. This shows IT professionals are searching for more effective ways to manage, optimize and scale services to meet their users' expectations.

APM, Cloud and Microservices Are On the Rise

Instead of storefronts, customers have been depending on the reliability of digital experiences to keep things as normal as possible. Similarly, the complete shift to work from home for many companies accelerated a fully digital experience sooner than most expected. Monitoring and evaluating the performance of apps across the network makes sure employees and customers are having dynamic and personalized experiences, which ultimately drives brand loyalty. During the COVID-19 pandemic, web traffic for information about APM service has increased 24 percent and we experienced a 233 percent increase in attendance for an APM class, making it clear there is a huge desire to better understand the technology.

Additionally, the pandemic has made it difficult for businesses to predict demand or rely on capacity models built without accounting for the rapid behavior changes that are occurring. IT decision makers need flexibility to quickly scale resources up and down as user demands shift and we all adjust to this new physically disperse and app heavy reality. The cloud is what will help enable this. Some organizations who previously deployed on-premise software now need to enable a remote workforce and provide access to business-critical data in real-time to geographically dispersed teams. Validating these shifts in IT priorities, we saw a 40 percent increase in traffic to cloud monitoring related pages highlighting that a path to the cloud is necessary for business survival right now.

IT professionals are faced with the challenge of constantly evolving the quality of a digital experience so it makes sense that microservices would also be of interest. As microservices help develop, test and deploy code as efficiently as possible, web traffic for resources focused on microservices adoption and how to leverage microservices to enhance user experience has increased by 21 percent since the pandemic began.

These IT decision makers are accelerating adoption of container orchestration technologies like Kubernetes to manage and scale workloads. We found a 20 percent increase in web traffic for resources related to Kubernetes monitoring and a 33 percent increase in demand for resources about best practices for instrumenting containers.

It is clear that our increased dependence on the digital experience is pushing IT departments to find more efficient ways of deploying applications without breaking their budgets or alienating customers or employees in the process. IT professionals need additional support and tools to address their current challenges, which will not vanish post-pandemic.

This means that business leaders need to give them the tools, support and freedom they need to adopt new technologies and transform digital business models at a pace faster than anything we have seen before.

Angie Mistretta is CMO of AppDynamics, a part of Cisco
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