The transition to full-stack observability is truly underway. New research shows that more than half of Canadian organizations (60 per cent) started out on the journey to full-stack observability in 2021, and a further 35 per cent are planning to do so in the next 12 months. That means a remarkable 95 per cent of Canadian organizations will be somewhere along the journey to full-stack observability during 2022.

Across all sectors, technologists have recognized the need for greater visibility into an ever-more complex and dynamic IT estate in order to manage IT availability, performance, and deliver faultless digital experiences to customers. They’re looking to build on their existing monitoring tools to get a unified view on IT performance up and down the IT stack, and implement solutions which will give them full visibility into new cloud-native environments.

Encouragingly, the research found that many organizations have already made significant progress on this transition to full-stack observability. Eighty-six per cent of Canadian technologists reported some level of improved visibility across their IT stack over the last 12 months. Although the vast majority of organizations are still at the earliest stages of this shift to full-stack observability, those that did make progress during 2021 are already reporting a massively positive impact; both within the IT department, and across the wider organization.

Here are the top five benefits that full-stack observability initiatives delivered in 2021:

1. Improved IT productivity

With greater visibility across IT estates, it is becoming easier and faster for IT departments to spot anomalies, understand root causes of IT issues, and to carry out the necessary fixes. Technologists are starting to be able to remove themselves from the constant firefighting that has characterized nearly all IT departments over the last two years, operating under relentless pressure to address performance issues before they impact end users. Improved IT productivity helps technologists discover issues before the end user even notices.

2. Reduced IT operational costs

Doing more with less has been an ask of technologists for many years, and it isn’t going away. With technologists able to isolate and tackle performance issues up and down the IT stack more quickly, organizations are having to dedicate less resources to this manual process. When IT skills are in such high demand (and often costly), full-stack observability is having a significant financial impact.

3. Enhanced ability to prioritize activity based on business impact

Organizations are beginning to get a unified view on IT availability and performance, linking this data to business KPIs (i.e. revenue, revenue at risk or user experience), while technologists are starting to be able to recognize which IT issues have the potential to do the most damage to end user experience and, ultimately, to the business. This is allowing them to cut through the data noise coming at them from their monitoring tools, and to prioritize their actions in exactly the right places.

4. Closer collaboration across the business

With more unified, consolidated performance data from up and down the IT stack as well as insight into business outcomes, IT operations teams are starting to feel the benefits of having one single source of trusted data. Rather than working in silos, each with its own (disconnected) monitoring tools, IT operations, development and networking teams are starting to see the value of having access to shared data, collaborating on root cause analysis, and troubleshooting to drive faster resolution on performance issues. Business leaders can also gain a level of confidence where their investments in technology are paying off.

5. Greater ability to deploy IT teams on strategic activities

The upshot of all these benefits is technologists having more time and headspace to dedicate to high-value, innovative, strategic priorities; such as accelerated digital transformation and enhanced digital experiences for customers and employees. Technologists can focus on more rewarding, fulfilling work; and the innovation-led initiatives that will really drive their organizations forward.

While technologists are reporting sizable benefits from having greater visibility into their IT estate, most organizations are only just starting out on their journey to full-stack observability. Most are still relying on multiple, disconnected tools to monitor IT availability and performance across the IT stack. While these monitoring solutions are performing an important function – enabling technologists to identify issues and take appropriate action within a specific domain – the lack of connection and interoperability between these tools is making it almost impossible to understand dependencies up and down the IT stack.

The good news is that technologists understand they are embarking on a complex, multi-stage journey that takes time. Ninety-five per cent of Canadian technologists acknowledge that there is more work to be done to deploy full-stack observability within their organization. Rather than feeling daunted by the size of the challenge ahead, technologists are feeling determined to achieve their goals and build on the progress they’ve made to date. Technologists have seen for themselves the impact that having greater visibility into IT performance brings, and are now ready to take it to the next level.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
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Gregg Ostrowski
Gregg Ostrowski is a Executive CTO at AppDynamics. He engages with customer senior leadership to help prioritize their strategy for digital transformation. Prior to AppDynamics, Gregg held senior leadership positions at Samsung and Research in Motion.