How to Achieve Hybrid Observability Amidst the Global Pandemic

The concept of hybrid observability has gained newfound importance in today’s world of remote work, hybrid infrastructures, and technological convergence. In this video, Christina Kosmowski, President at LogicMonitor, shares five tips on how to power your business forward and achieve hybrid observability during uncertain times. 

Video Transcription

Thank you for attending our session titled How to Achieve Hybrid Observability Amidst the Global Pandemic. I am Christina Kosmowski, the President at LogicMonitor. It has been a tough 12 months for IT teams and businesses in general since the pandemic first began. With the widespread shift to remote work and the rise of digital transactions, IT and developer teams have been under greater pressure than ever before. According to a research study, we conducted a few months ago among 600 global IT leaders, 51% of organizations have experienced an increase in IT outages and brownouts since March 2020. The strain on IT infrastructures and systems was unprecedented. As it turns out, many companies and their IT personnel were not prepared to transition to and support a fully remote business model and a workforce during this pandemic. 

As physical stores closed down and commerce shifted online, the roles of CTOs and CIOs have become more important than ever before. In fact, according to LogicMonitor’s research, 79% of global CIOs and CTOs feel that their input and influence within the boardroom has increased during this past year, and their involvement in the trajectory of the business while the pandemic continues and into the future remains increasingly strategic and important. And this is because IT and business leaders like all of you have this unique opportunity to help your businesses get through this pandemic. 

We have been seeing the shift towards digital transformation for years, but the global pandemic has made initiatives such as Cloud Migration and Tool Consolidation urgent business imperatives. We work with thousands of enterprise customers and Managed Service Provider customers here at LogicMonitor with CIOs and CTOs. And what we have seen over the last year is every organization has come to the realization that they must modernize and put legacy systems and processes aside. On-premise technology has failed organizations when their offices went into lockdown and their workforces had to shift to remote work overnight. And to ensure business continuity, to keep the wheels turning, businesses have to evolve and modernize. ITOps, developers, DevOps, QA, all these teams are the ones whose jobs are more relevant now more than ever. They are powering businesses today. And by following the five tips I am going to outline today, I hope you are able to power your business forward. Tip number one, do not lose sight of your customers. Remain agile and do whatever it takes to ensure that your customers are able to transact smoothly and avail themselves of your services. 

The global pandemic has shattered confidence across many organizations. From the C-suite to the individual practitioner, IT teams had to deal with a number of unforeseen challenges due to remote work and unexpected loads on systems, such as having to deal with internet outages remotely, the strain on the network from too many individuals logging in remotely, having to deal with coworkers logging in through VPNs, not being able to access hardware, and finally, teleconference software not being secure. This makes it very challenging to ensure a positive customer experience. However, it still has to remain your top priority. Let me share an example of a brand that adapted in record time when the pandemic hit, to prioritize the experience of its internal customers, its employees.

Ted Baker is a British clothing retailer, who uses a wide array of technologies within their infrastructure and systems. They use Cisco Firepower, Meraki, VMware, LogicMonitor, Citrix, etc. And Ted Baker relies heavily on its premium brick-and-mortar retail locations. However, it had to move quickly once the government lockdowns went into place to transition its employees to remote work. Prior to the pandemic, 99% of its team worked on-site and many teams found it very difficult to make the transition to working from home so suddenly, and IT was included. So Ted Baker suddenly had to monitor hundreds of remote connections- OneDrive storage usage, VPN connections, Microsoft teams usage, and hundreds of Citrix connections. The team needed to prevent any downtime and proactively monitor internal teams and the website availability. Because if the access to the VPN goes down, their employees simply cannot work. 

Ted Baker adapted its internal systems to better service employees during the global pandemic. However, at the same time, the retailer used LogicMonitor’s cloud-based agentless monitoring platform to keep tabs on the retail sales by country. Ted Baker saw brick-and-mortar sales flatline for the month of April 2020 due to the global pandemic closing storefronts. Once legislation around the pandemic made it clear that Ted Baker was able to open certain sites in May 2020, the retailer was able to monitor sales slowly starting to creep back up using LogicMonitor. More importantly was that during this massive brick-and-mortar plunge, Ted Baker was able to shift business to its website to capture the revenue online. Ted Baker was also able to monitor hardware failures during the lockdown and restart hardware that went unused for months once the lockdown lifted. Ted Baker used technology and monitoring to ensure customers still had a great experience with online shopping, even though the pandemic could shut down their physical storefronts. Even if you are not in retail, you can still assess the current customer experience you are offering your users and tweak it to better suit their needs. 

Tip number two, although it may not be as glamorous as apps or web commerce, do not forget to shore up data security and cloud. In today’s world of remote work and digital transactions, enterprises need to prioritize data security, cloud, and IT Automation. In fact, according to our study, 28% of global IT leaders plan to expand the use of the cloud within their organizations in 2021. 75% of organizations plan to increase spend on data security and on cloud in the next one to two years. With more businesses happening virtually than ever before, you can not let down your guard when it comes to security. Make sure you have a log management solution within your tech stack to assist with this as well. 

Tip number three, invest in automation and AIOps. You probably did not hear it here first, but it remains true. AI is the hot topic on the horizon as we head towards 2025. Nearly 20% of IT leaders think AI will be the next big thing by 2025 and 8% deem automation a top priority. As one of the global IT leaders we spoke to says, “AIOps will transform how observability within companies is orchestrated and maintained. Having network engineers and Ops collaborate with developers to work towards a unified automated environment will improve efficiency beyond comprehension.” So look for platforms that include AIOps and automation capabilities. These capabilities will help your busy teams automate routine manual tasks so that your skilled engineers can spend more of their time focused on that skilled work. Half of IT outages are due to human error at the end of the day. So automation and AI built to your monitoring or ITSM platform can also help you to reduce human error and steer clear of disruptive downtime. 

Tip number four, observability. It is defined as gaining full visibility and business, and technical insights into and control over your applications, your networks, and your infrastructure. It can be a challenging concept to achieve. However, assembling the right IT stack goes a long way towards achieving true hybrid observability. IT experts around the globe all agree that monitoring tools, APM technology, and log management tools are required to achieve IT observability. 80% of the enterprises already have the necessary technologies in place, but unfortunately, one tool often resides within one area of the business while the other tools remain siloed in a completely different part of the business. True hybrid observability can only be achieved if ITOps and developers are working together to share insights and their tools to gain that full context. 

Once the right technology stack is in place and accessible to the right folks, the benefit of observability is endless. Achieving hybrid observability provides opportunities for improved performance visibility, faster troubleshooting in the case of downtime or issues, the ability to automate workflows, collaborate more effectively across teams, and even reduce costs by consolidating the total number of monitoring tools in use within the organization. Achieving hybrid observability carries immense benefits for the entire organization, but it will take teamwork to get there.

Last but not least, we get to tip number five. Do not forget to tie IT initiatives back to tangible business outcomes. Monitoring from a technical perspective is incredibly important, but monitoring in other IT initiatives has to tie directly into business metrics to gain the full support of the organization. Your CEO, CIO, and CTO will be able to review and measure all the amazing work you and your teams are doing if you prepare the right dashboards and executive use within your platform to showcase IT’s impact on the business. Execs may not care all about your digital infrastructure, but they certainly care about employee productivity and they care about the customer experience. Platforms like LogicMonitor empower teams across the organization to monitor what matters and display the heartbeat of the business through customizable dashboards. A centralized, comprehensive monitoring and observability platform is where a smart team can tie an investment in data security, cloud, employee productivity tools, license information, and SaaS applications. It shows the impact of all these investments on business metrics such as revenue per store, online sales, or customer onboarding time, just like I showed in the Ted Baker example. 

So in summary, invest in data security and cloud. Invest in IT productivity and real-time collaboration tools. Prioritize and invest in a hybrid observability powered by AI platform. Encourage your teams to adopt an agile approach. And if you do all of these, you will likely avoid business disrupting outages. These are the types of problems and challenges that the right monitoring and observability platform can solve. 

Have you suffered IT outages and downtime due to lack of visibility into your applications and infrastructure during the pandemic? Or are you facing poor feedback and satisfaction from employees and customers due to poor digital experiences? Are you finding it slow or cumbersome to use legacy on-premise tools? Are you challenged by monitoring multiple complex environments including SaaS applications? If any of these are true, you can visit our resource page to grab a free copy of our Race to IT Observability study for more tips on how to achieve the end-to-end observability in today’s age of digital transformation and technological convergence. Thank you so much for joining me today. If you have any questions about what you saw today, feel free to tweet me @ckosmowski.

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