Government agencies are ramping up full-stack observability efforts – here’s why

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Faced with ever greater complexity within their IT environments and ongoing pressure to accelerate digital transformation to enhance citizen experiences, technologists across government agencies have recognized the need for greater visibility into IT availability and performance across their IT environments.

Government technologists know they simply can’t afford any slip-ups when it comes to delivering exceptional digital experiences to citizens and employees, and that means they need to ensure they’re able to monitor and optimize IT performance at all times. 

This explains why, according to new research, 30 per cent of government agencies have already started the transition to full-stack observability and a further 50 per cent are set to begin in 2022. That means a staggering 80 per cent of all government agencies will be somewhere along the journey to full-stack observability in 2022.

Full-stack observability provides technologists with unified, real-time visibility into availability and performance up and down the IT stack for compute, storage, network and public internet, from the customer-facing application to deep down in the back end. It enables IT operations, development and networking teams to quickly and easily identify anomalies, understand dependencies and fix issues before they impact the end user, whether that be citizens or employees. 

Improved visibility brings benefits to government agencies

Encouragingly, the research reveals that 77 per cent of government agencies made some level of progress in improving visibility across their IT stack during 2021. And within these organizations, the benefits are already being felt. Productivity within the IT department is rising, with technologists having to spend less time identifying anomalies and understanding dependencies in order to perform fixes. This is reducing operational costs because issues are being addressed more quickly and efficiently. Agencies are also seeing better collaboration between teams because they now have a single source of truth for data, rather than working in silos with their own disconnected monitoring tools. 

With greater visibility into their environments, technologists are beginning to find time to lift their heads and look at the bigger picture. They’re able to focus on more strategic (and fulfilling) work, whether that be innovation projects or enhancing the citizen experience. And as we all know, this is absolutely critical given the challenges that all government agencies are facing right now. 

In fact, government technologists were most likely to cite this increased ability to deploy IT teams on strategic activities as a key benefit of having improved visibility into the IT stack. This clearly demonstrates the impact that full-stack observability can have in driving critical digital transformation across the government over the coming years.

Interestingly, the research indicates that it isn’t only technologists who are feeling the benefits of having greater visibility into IT availability and performance. Organization leaders have recognized the impact these early initiatives are delivering and are now eager to accelerate future plans. As many as 86 per cent of technologists in the public sector report that senior leaders are supportive of their full-stack observability programs and providing the budget and resources they need to drive success. This is a huge shift compared to just 12 months ago, when many IT departments were still trying to build a case for investment.

Technologists identify key areas of focus for 2022

While the progress they have made over the past year has been impressive, government agencies are still at the very earliest stages of the move towards full-stack observability. This is to be expected given this is such a nascent and rapidly evolving area of technology.

However, government technologists recognize they are embarking on a complex, multi-stage journey and there is more work to be done to achieve their ultimate goals. While there are clearly obstacles to overcome, particularly around technical implementation and integration challenges, technologists are determined to stay the course and drive through the necessary change.

Importantly, the research finds technologists have identified specific priorities for the next 12 months which they feel will enable them to progress. These include defining new practices, creating and continually refining a clear strategy and execution plan, and establishing a common goal to unify teams. More than anything though, 69 per cent of technologists point to the need to develop the right skills within their team as critical to hitting their full-stack observability objectives in 2022.

Full-stack observability brings on the excitement

Without doubt, this will be a pivotal year for agencies as they look to build out their monitoring capabilities and bring their existing tools together. Of course, there is still a long way to go, but technologists are right to feel positive and confident. Their hard work and skill have put them in a great place to deliver game-changing impact for their organizations, with the strategies, support and determination to make monumental strides on the journey to full-stack observability.

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Joe Byrne

Joe Byrne

Joe Byrne is the Vice President of Technology Strategy and Executive CTO at Cisco AppDynamics.