Sixty-three percent of IT operations and DevOps leaders have either accelerated or maintained digital transformation projects through the global pandemic
OpsRamp, a modern SaaS platform for hybrid infrastructure discovery, monitoring, management, and automation, announced the launch of a new report: “The Change Agents: How IT Operations Teams Are Driving Enterprise Transformation and Value Creation During Uncertain Times.”
In April 2020, OpsRamp published its Thriving in the New Normal: How IT Operations Leaders Can Deliver Business Value in an Economic Slowdown report to analyze how IT teams were adapting technology priorities, staff hiring, and spending plans in response to the pandemic. As the global health crisis continues, OpsRamp conducted a follow-up survey in October 2020. The new survey is based on responses from 230 IT operations and DevOps executives in the U.S. and U.K. with at least 500 employees and $5 million in annual IT budgets. The survey asked about annual spending plans, cost reduction measures, operational challenges, and investment themes for 2020 and beyond.
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Here are the top three insights from the report:
IT is a Strategic Differentiator: In the face of restrictive lockdowns and stay-at-home orders, IT budgets have held up remarkably well as technology becomes a critical ingredient in launching new products and services.
- In the second and third quarters of 2020, 60% of IT leaders significantly or moderately increased their annual technology budgets while only 22% significantly or moderately reduced their IT spending in the last two quarters.
- Meanwhile, 63% of participants reported that Covid-19 led them to accelerate or maintain digital transformation initiatives.
Business Priorities Dictate IT Investments: The leading technology investments in the April 2020 survey were information security and compliance, big data and analytics, and public and multi-cloud infrastructure. These priorities have broadly remained the same in the October survey, but remote work and collaboration have grown in importance.
- What is front and center for IT budgets? The critical priorities for IT leaders include information security and compliance (59%), remote work and collaboration (55%), public and multi-cloud infrastructure (50%), and monitoring and management (42%). The pandemic has made digital touchpoints a critical differentiator for customer interactions while resilient technology infrastructure remains a priority for employees working remotely.
- What performance monitoring tools did IT teams buy in 2020? In 2020, technology leaders focused on the following tools to ensure compelling customer and employee experiences.
— Artificial intelligence for IT operations (57%) solutions help technology practitioners maintain the uptime, reliability, and performance of technology services with contextual, actionable, and predictive insights.
— Digital experience monitoring (50%) tools put a clear spotlight on business transactions and customer journeys by surfacing end-user interaction insights for complex enterprise services.
— Network performance monitoring and diagnostics (50%) tools ensure responsive network infrastructure with instrumentation analytics and visualizations for device, flow, and packet-level data.
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IT Cost Management and Hiring During Covid-19: With global IT spending expected to fall by 7.3% in 2020, technology leaders have had to employ creative measures to get the most bang for their bucks. IT teams are looking to hire people who can not only help them stay relevant during the pandemic but also build a proper foundation for growth when the economy eventually recovers in 2021.
- Cost reduction measures. Technology leaders have used self-service tools (60% in October versus 54% in April), embraced open source (51% in October versus 50% in April), and reduced technology suppliers (51% in Octobers versus 59% in April) to save money and rationalize their IT operations portfolios.
- Hiring priorities. Enterprises have either recently hired or are planning to recruit the following team members:
— Financial managers (54%) who can help IT teams present a compelling business case for technology investments,
— Senior IT leaders (47%) who can marshal the right resources to successfully execute digital transformation programs, and
— Cloud operators (44%) who can shift, monitor, and maintain enterprise workloads on public cloud infrastructure.
“I’m not surprised that the majority of companies are pressing ahead with digital transformation projects and increasing spend despite the pandemic,” said Varma Kunaparaju, CEO of OpsRamp. “Organizations that fail to make sound IT investments in this critical phase will lose customer mindshare, fall behind their competition, and slowly become irrelevant in a global economy that is delivering disproportionate returns for digital leaders. What does stand out is the number of companies hiring financial managers to help IT teams justify new technology. Reckless spending on the latest shiny tech toy is being replaced by thoughtful, data-driven decision making, which bodes well for the entire industry.”