You’ve probably read a lot on what the new year has in store for the enterprise when it comes to digital transformation. The statistics are overwhelming; it’s clearly not an option to maintain your legacy framework in the next generation of innovation and enterprise. IDC reports in its latest research report, “IDC FutureScape: Worldside CIO Agenda 2016 Predictions“, that only 25% of CIOs actually feel prepared to drive new strategy towards digital innovation. The majority are stuck in trying to make legacy IT frameworks work for a rapidly evolving industry without the proper budget or resources. Today, your CIO requires insight into the scope of the enterprise and its existing technology to be able to understand an end-user’s growing capabilities and needs. As their role develops to bridge the gap between business and technology, the objective relies on honing in on an end-user’s experience. Gartner’s CEO survey stated that customer experience management is the highest priority across CEO’s with 37% of them making it a major push in the next 5 years. Thinking ahead of the customer is a key way to keep the customer engaged. This is accomplished by making small changes to applications and measuring the way users interact with the new change versus the old change. In order to remain customer obsessed and understand customer preferences, these small experimentations are necessary.
There’s more at risk within an enterprise when it comes to an end-user’s unique interaction with your applications. When the complexity of everything from design to network transactions increases, it’s much harder to identify and solve problems arise during an interaction. Those problems affect your users, hence the ultimate focus and understanding behind your customer. If your systems don’t work and your customer has a poor experience is not only tarnishing to you as an IT organization, it’s tarnishing for the brand of the company.
Today, the organizational shift towards DevOps, require major cultural changes which span people, process and technology. The ultimate goal is to speed up agility of the business by empowering IT to iterate and make smaller changes more quickly. With this agility complexity becomes a growing concern beyond the existing legacy and technical debt in most organization. With this shift toward becoming more agile teams must consist of engineering which is cross-disciplinary in nature versus being siloed in an ITIL organization. In the past, you might think of an application development team that wrote job applications for an accounting team, then an operations teams deployed the code and managed the application middleware, another team would manage the database, another team for servers, yet another for storage, and finally another team for the network. Each of these teams existed in silos, each team bought their own technology stacks, their own tools to manage and monitor the specifics of the silo. In order to move faster as a cohesive unit using agile methodologies, it’s necessary to create smaller teams, often usually between four and eight people responsible for developing, testing, and operationalizing products. This DevOps transition is more about a cultural change than it is a technological change— empowering employees to make decision with the right data, APM technologies provide the data and glue to enable these cross-functional teams to collaborate and work together more effectively, a key tenant in the DevOps philosophy.
So what’s the gameplan? How does an enterprise CIO transition towards empowering their employees in order to be successful in the digital economy? Application and user visibility is often one area, APM becomes a way for the CIO to think above the infrastructure. In order to be successful with an initial implementation a specific strategic application should be selected as a first foray into modern APM. Identifying a champion and owner throughout the project is key, this individual can see the project through, and expand that success across the organization. Most successful APM customers follow the same methodology. IT managers know the risk of buying suites of tools which often lead to shelfware, which are too costly and complex to be implemented at scale, or cannot cope with the detail and volume requirements of today’s digital businesses. The role of the CIO has much more to manage than an IT landscape today, they must be the digital leader for the organization. Digital transformation requires a CIO’s office to collect and manage data on throughout the product lifecycle from development to business outcomes in order to remain customer-centric and ultimately drive their organization’s success in the new year.