Staying Focused on Digital Transformation During Covid-19

CIOs and other IT leaders know the importance of having a well-oiled machine to support the vast requirements of the business. Not having a Google-like experience of an always-up, always-fast, easy to use technology ecosystem can be a competitive disadvantage. More pressing is that while most businesses want to reinvent, through digital transformation or other methods, these large-scale efforts fail 70% of the time.  

Under these conditions, traditional ways of managing IT by static runbooks, rigid, process-heavy ITIL methods, and isolated teams, has gone the way of the dinosaur. There’s too much data, too much change, too much technical debt, and too many moving parts. And as if that wasn’t enough, we’re now all just trying to figure out how to manage through the current reality of remote IT operations. 

But can accelerated digital transformation actually be a silver lining to the Covid-19 crisis? David Linthicum has written about the opportunity to enhance your cloud career during lockdown. He’s also predicting a post-pandemic run on cloud

We asked our customers and partners for input on what they’re doing right now to maintain digital transformation momentum in these difficult times. Some suggestions they gave us: 

  • It sounds obvious, but start by focusing on building more resiliency into your IT infrastructure so that systems are less prone to performance glitches and outright failure;
  • Improve the speed and accuracy for which problems affecting business users and key initiatives are solved;
  • Adopt modern performance monitoring capabilities so you can quickly adapt processes, technologies and strategies on the fly as business requirements change;
  • From a culture perspective, it’s critical to redefine old notions of “control” that allow for flexibility, self-service and agility while at the same time creating proper frameworks for security, governance and compliance.

For IT operations teams to be digital transformation-enablers, they will need to change tools, skills and processes. Of course, many organizations are already doing this, by attempting to integrate DevOps tools and processes with traditional IT operations and by working to integrate data sets and use machine learning to automate rote tasks, but still there are struggles.

According to 75% of IT pros surveyed in 451 Research’s “Voice of The Enterprise” report from 2019, IT operations and maintenance still consumes too much time. The Digital Enterprise Journal’s excellent “Roadmap to Becoming a Top-Performing Organization in IT Operations” report found that IT Operations teams are experiencing a 2.7 time average increase in the amount of alerts and events to be processed over the last two years and the average Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) is more than three hours. 

The challenge now is that even before we entered this unprecedented global crisis, IT teams typically didn’t have enough bandwidth for developing and optimizing new applications and services for business units and end customers because they spend too much time filtering data and fixing problems. 

These suggestions may help you build the business case for IT operations simplification and transformation:

  • Start by reducing the noise. Do you know how many alerts per month each resource generates? When a single resource triggers multiple alerts for the same issue, operations teams quickly become inundated with alert data. Tools that perform alert correlation, suppression, and de-duplication can reduce the number of alerts requiring human interaction.
  • Think about incidents. According to DEJ, the average IT labor cost per performance incident in 2019 was $10,700. It’s critical that you find ways to reduce the number of incidents that your operations teams have to manage and resolve. With fewer alerts that become incidents, your team can be redeployed or focus on more strategic initiatives. A strong connection between IT operations management (ITOM) and IT service management (ITSM) is essential.
  • Integrate to consolidate. Again, according to the DEJ report, 39% of organizations are using 10 or more IT monitoring tools, while 18% are using more than 20. What can be replaced? Which tools will become redundant as you modernize and build out your new stack? Start by assessing the real need for your existing legacy and niche discovery and monitoring tools. But don’t stop there. What about alert and escalation management? What about AIOps? Get the complete picture, evaluate cost versus benefits and find ways to eliminate in order to accelerate. 

At OpsRamp, we understand that digital transformation is a work in progress. Our customers and partners are looking for the best ways to manage through this crisis, gain maximum ROI from a unified IT operations monitoring and management system, and emerge in a leadership position. I encourage you to check out our series of Remote IT Operations Tech Talks for additional ideas. In my next post, I’ll review The 4 phases of IT operations maturity that were discussed in our recent webinar with Nancy Gohring from 451 Research. 

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