Monday, April 22, 2024

Experience is now a key focus for C-level executives 

Joe Byrne, CTO Advisor, Cisco Observability 

Across all industries, digital experience has become a key strategic priority for organizations. It is essential for attracting and retaining customers, driving engagement and productivity in the workforce, and ultimately gaining a competitive edge in the market. 

As a result, experience is no longer simply the responsibility of the IT and marketing departments; it’s now an enterprise-wide concern and part of the boardroom agenda. Business leaders have recognized that the ability to deliver innovative, intuitive, and seamless digital experiences is critical for their organizations, as it serves as the foundation for achieving the majority of their financial and strategic objectives. 

In recent research conducted by Cisco, 75 per cent of global senior global business leaders reported that digital experience has become a significantly more critical issue for C-level executives in their organization over the last three years. As a result, senior leaders are increasingly wanting to monitor and analyze experience metrics. They want to know how applications are performing and understand how application performance is impacting overall business metrics. 

With the spotlight on experience, IT teams have increased pressure to optimize application availability, performance, and security. Today, CIOs in a wide range of industries are urgently looking to ensure IT is fully aligned to wider business strategies and objectives. They recognize the need to demonstrate the impact application performance is delivering to the business. The problem is, however, that many IT teams currently don’t have the tools and visibility to effectively manage and optimize application performance or track how experience is driving business value. 

Business leaders are demanding visibility and insight into experience 

Surprisingly, research shows business-critical applications and digital services, along with their business impact, are consistently reported to C-level executives in up to 80 per cent of global organizations. This level and type of reporting were virtually nonexistent in many businesses just five years ago. 

However, in 2024, C-level executives look for enhanced visibility into application performance for various reasons. They aim to monitor customer and employee experiences on digital platforms, pinpoint critical performances, and security issues, and allocate resources strategically to capitalize on opportunities and safeguard revenue and reputation.  

Delivering seamless experiences is becoming harder for IT teams 

For IT teams, these results are encouraging. C-level executives now recognize the long-held technologists’ belief that application availability, performance and security are crucial. This acknowledgment underscores the need for organizations to allocate resources and investments effectively to ensure consistent seamless digital experiences for end users. However, this increased emphasis on experience among senior leaders adds pressure on IT teams responsible for application development, maintenance, and optimization. 

Technologists are facing an uphill battle, managing an increasingly complex and dispersed application landscape. Accelerated deployment of cloud native technologies and the shift to hybrid IT environments has left many IT teams without full visibility of their applications. 

Most IT departments are still deploying separate monitoring tools for different elements of their application environments, and this means technologists are unable to generate a unified view on how applications are performing. They’re being bombarded with data and have no way to cut through the noise. They can’t easily detect issues, and even when they do, it is nearly impossible to quickly understand root causes and dependencies to fix issues before they impact end user experience. 

It means we’ve reached an unfortunate situation where numerous IT teams are working under relentless pressure, constantly firefighting and scrambling to identify and resolve issues. Additionally, the constant monitoring coming from their organization’s senior leaders is only intensifying the pressure technologists are operating under. 

Observability is critical to deliver experiences that keep customers coming back for more 

In order to develop and deploy modern applications, IT teams need to implement a comprehensive full-stack observability (FSO) solution. FSO provides expanded visibility into cloud native environments to locate and highlight availability, performance and security issues across application entities. And crucially, it generates a clear, single line of sight for applications across hybrid environments – bringing together telemetry data from cloud native technologies and agent-based entities within existing applications. This unified visibility and insight are crucial for technologists to cut through complexity and manage volumes of data. 

FSO also enables IT teams to correlate application data with real-time business metrics, so they can identify and prioritize issues and threats based on potential impact to end user experience. With a business lens on application performance data, IT teams can move beyond firefighting and get ahead, focusing their skills and time on what matters most to customers and, ultimately, to their organizations. CIOs can start engaging with senior leaders at a strategic level, demonstrating how their teams are driving the organization forward. 

With almost all global business leaders (98%) predicting demand from C-level executives for visibility and reporting into digital experience will increase over the next two years, all technologists need to be sure they have the tools and insights required to respond. 

In today’s digital landscape, seamless experiences are vital for organizations looking to stay ahead. As IT teams face the challenges of optimizing application performance and security, the need for holistic full-stack observability solutions becomes increasingly clear. By embracing these tools and insights, businesses cannot only meet but exceed customer expectations, creating growth and maintaining a competitive advantage in the market.  


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Joe Byrne
Joe Byrne
Joe Byrne is Executive CTO Advisor at Cisco AppDynamics.