Over the past 18 months, technologists across the globe have played a crucial role in the survival of brands and organizations via digital strategies. Across all industries, their skill and dedication have enabled businesses to rapidly launch innovative new digital services to meet huge fluctuations in customer needs and allow entire workforces to operate from home during the pandemic.
This hasn’t been easy, even as end users’ expectations for seamless digital experiences are on the rise. In fact, the recent 2021 App Attention Index reaffirmed found 76% of consumers’ expectations of digital services have increased in the last year. And an overwhelming 85% noted that applications and digital services have become a critical part of their daily lives. This has placed even greater pressure on the technologists who are responsible for keeping applications and cloud experiences running smoothly.
Often IT teams are challenged with monitoring companies’ digital services, but they lack the visibility they need to monitor health and performance across an increasingly sprawling IT estate, exacerbated by a seismic shift toward cloud architectures over the last 18 months. IT departments don’t yet have the right tools and data to optimize health and performance in their cloud environments.
As a result, technologists are constantly addressing the same issues because they can’t easily isolate and identify them, and don’t know where to prioritize their actions. Hiccups can lead to brands losing customers—the same report revealed that over half of consumers indicated that brands have one shot to impress them, and that if their digital service does not perform, they won’t use them again.
After a year and a half since the start of the pandemic and with adoption of cloud technologies set to accelerate even further over the next few years, it’s time for technologists to get ahead. Here are four things technologists can do to take the stress out of managing performance across the cloud.
Implement Visibility from the Ground Up
Having visibility into applications and the underlying cloud infrastructures that support them can be challenging without the right tools, which has contributed to some of the pressure technologists are experiencing. Traditional monitoring has allowed technologists to identify and catch issues in certain areas of an IT stack, but this approach is of little use in dynamic, distributed and software-defined environments where organizations are continually scaling their use of IT and the cloud up and down.
As a result, the performance of the digital services can be impacted, potentially hurting end-user experience and eroding trust in the brand.
To keep up with the rising demands from consumers in the digital world, technologists need the ability to monitor the full IT estate, from cloud infrastructures to customer-facing applications through to core infrastructure such as compute, storage and network; including the open web and security. With access to tools like observability platforms, technologists can lessen the burden of individually monitoring the performance of each item supporting the digital service. Instead, they can achieve one holistic view into alerting, root cause and analysis of correlated metrics, events, logging and tracing (MELT) data from the cloud to enable early and easy troubleshooting.
Consider tools that link infrastructure (compute, storage and network) with the services and applications they execute. When there is an application-level issue, it is easy to take a closer look and identify problematic areas in what makes the application run or the application itself.
Align IT Performance to Business Results
After aggregating a full-stack view of applications and the cloud infrastructure behind them, technologists can then link performance data identified by the observability platform with real-time business metrics.
Linking the two provides technologists with the ability to identify where and how the digital services are impacting the business and end-users. Full-stack observability automatically provides technologists with these linked insights, enabling them to address the areas that matter most.
In addition to having the right tools to help take advantage of the cloud, it is important that an IT team is well-versed in the technology itself. Managing the performance of the cloud is complicated and there is a finite pool of talent available to businesses. Therefore, business leaders should provide appropriate resources to ensure teams are educated and equipped to succeed.
To support a seamless implementation of cloud infrastructure to support a business’ digital services, business leaders must invest in upskilling their teams or recruit others who are knowledgeable about cloud monitoring.
This will ease the pressure on existing teams and give technologists the skills and confidence to progress in their careers.
Even with the best observability solutions in place and teams equipped with the necessary skills, there is still concern that there will be an overwhelming amount of data generated by accelerated digital transformation over the coming years, especially those involved in large-scale public cloud environments. It can become a challenge for technologists to dedicate the level of resources and skills required to manage and optimize performance across the IT estate.
To avoid these potential circumstances in the future, it’s worth considering how to minimize the impact of a data deluge by reducing an IT department’s reliance on manual interventions to monitor health and performance and resolve issues.
Two things that will play an increasingly vital role in tracking health and performance across the entire IT estate are automation and AI. This is particularly the case in large-scale public cloud environments, which are fast becoming the biggest headache for some IT teams.
With AI deployment to identify and fix issues in real-time, technologists can spend less time firefighting thanks to the AI/ML guiding hand. This will lead to increased job satisfaction and fulfillment and a better work-life balance.