How to Leverage IT Automation and Cloud To Put Customers First

In the face of unexpected crises or disruptions, maintaining business continuity has become more important than ever. Last year, businesses around the world had to shift to a remote workforce model overnight. Were their IT departments prepared for this massive shift? In order to understand how IT departments evolve their approaches and technologies over time to maintain business continuity, LogicMonitor commissioned a survey of 500 IT decision-makers from the US, Canada, UK, Australia, and New Zealand. In this video, I go over some of the key findings of the survey and explain how you can leverage IT automation, SaaS-based applications, and the cloud to put your customers first.

Video Transcription

Hello there, my name is Mark Banfield and I’m the Chief Revenue Officer here at LogicMonitor. I’m here today to talk to you about how to leverage IT automation, SaaS-based applications, and cloud to put your customers first in a COVID-19 year. There are three things we’re hoping to achieve today. First of all, we want to provide you with some interesting information from research that we conducted on how IT organizations and IT executives, in particular, are responding to this current crisis that we’re living in. The second thing we want to do is to provide some practical suggestions on how you, as an IT executive, can take action to cope better. And lastly, give you a little bit of information about how LogicMonitor is helping organizations in doing that.

First of all, a little bit about LogicMonitor. We are an observability monitoring platform that helps organizations all over the world to monitor their critical infrastructure and applications to provide a better customer experience and a better employee experience. We’ve just completed a study called The Evolution of IT. It’s a very large study that we’ve done with more than 500 IT decision-makers from all over the world, including down in Australia and in New Zealand, where we’re presenting today. We’ve asked a range of questions to understand how people are dealing with the current crisis, how they’re dealing with their IT in the current environment, and we’re going to share some of that information with you today. And if you go to our website, you can download this report, and there’s a wealth of information there that’s really interesting and valuable.

I’ll start by saying this, which is perhaps one of the most interesting takeaways from the report. 84% of global IT executives are responsible for ensuring a positive customer digital experience, but two-thirds lack confidence in their ability to do so. Increasingly, organizations all over the world are very dependent upon digital transformation and a digital experience since their customers are now interacting with them digitally instead of in person. It’s quite stark that two-thirds of the executives that we surveyed don’t have the confidence in their tools, their systems, and their processes to be able to provide that compelling positive customer experience.

Do you lack confidence in your infrastructure’s ability to withstand the crisis? From our research, only 36% of global IT leaders feel that their IT infrastructure is very prepared to withstand a crisis. Also, 39% of IT decision-makers feel very confident that their IT department can maintain continuous uptime and availability during a crisis. Very low statistics and low percentages of people that feel that they’re well prepared to cope with a potential crisis that could happen in their IT. We also know just how catastrophic an IT outage or something that goes wrong with your IT infrastructure could be both on your employees and your customers. For employees, it means no productivity. It means they can’t operate. They can’t do their job, which, therefore, impacts the running of the business and impacts your customers. For your customers themselves, if you’re dependent upon any kind of web interaction with your customers, any kind of mobile application, or any kind of digital service, you’re going to be impacted if you don’t have confidence in being able to resolve these issues. 

Where are these concerns coming from? What are the major issues? The first is from our survey, we found out that having to deal with the internet outages remotely is a big challenge for people. Second, is the strain on the network from too many individuals logging in remotely, having to deal with co-workers logging in from VPNs, and not being able to access hardware. And lastly, teleconference software not being secure. These were the top five things that we learned from interviewing IT executives about the challenges they see and the biggest concerns they see in the running of their IT. As you can see, they are all major issues anyway in a normal running of a business, but they’re particularly a challenge when you’re dealing with a pandemic like we are currently today.

To ensure a seamless customer experience and business continuity in the face of a crisis, IT organizations have to modernize. I think one of the major takeaways from today’s presentation is that many of the organizations that have coped well with COVID-19 were able to seamlessly transition to remote working. They were able to continue to provide a compelling customer experience because they were already digitally transformed. Those organizations have already gone through the process of modernizing their IT architecture, modernizing the way that they provide services to their employees and their customers. As a result, these organizations have flourished during this crisis and have been able to continue to provide services to their employees and their customers. The organizations that haven’t modernized have struggled. At LogicMonitor, we’ve seen that extensively through the customers that we have. The people that are using LogicMonitor, which we’ll talk a bit about, later on, have been able to provide a great experience for their customers. 

We’re now going to talk about three ways that you, as IT Executives and CIOs, can respond to the current crisis. The first thing is to invest in productivity tools. Sounds obvious, but a lot of people haven’t done that from our research. The number one thing that people are doing globally right now is investing more in productivity tools, such as Zoom, Office 365, Slack, and many others. The second area is expanding the use of the cloud because with the current remote work environment, people aren’t able to go to offices and data centers. Relying upon cloud environments is a much more effective, quicker, faster, and cheaper way to provide IT.

The third thing is investing more in IT monitoring and thoughtfully investing in artificial intelligence and machine learning. One other thing to mention here is that LogicMonitor is helping organizations to monitor SaaS and cloud-based applications. One of the things we’ve done is provide what we call a Cloud Monitoring Accelerator Program. You can, completely free of charge for 90 days, get set up with LogicMonitor to monitor your environments such as Office 365, Cisco Meraki, Slack, Zoom, ServiceNow, AWS, Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure, etc. It allows you to monitor those environments and ensure the quality of service for your users. Go and check it out, and you can start to use the product straight away, completely free of charge.

The second area to talk about in terms of how you can respond, and a suggestion on how you can respond in the current crisis, is to invest in the cloud. It’s one of the biggest transformations happening in our industries, the shift to the cloud. It’s amazing how few people are still doing that. What we did find out is that 87% of global IT leaders say that the pandemic itself has accelerated their organization’s migration to the cloud. And that makes sense because if you don’t have cloud-based solutions and cloud-based applications, it’s very difficult in this current crisis to be able to manage the systems that you’ve got that are on-premise. The pandemic has highlighted, as I talked about earlier, the organizations that are already digitally transformed and those that are not.

To provide an example, Ted Baker is a global fashion retailer with more than 3,000 employees and hundreds of stores around the world. One of the challenges they had is that they were using multiple monitoring tools, as well as a visualization tool and other alerting tools. The common theme is that they were all on-premise systems. Even before the pandemic, they were already challenged with dealing with all of those disparate, on-premise systems. One of the reasons that they chose LogicMonitor was to shift everything to a SaaS space, a cloud-based delivery model. They now have a single pane of glass that provides visibility into all of their production environments globally. That includes their web environment, all of their stores, e-commerce, and all of their business intelligence.

The entire business is monitored and run off of LogicMonitor, which allows them to provide the best quality of service to their employees and their customers. As they’ve shifted to a cloud-based delivery model, Ted Baker can monitor all of their cloud environments. So more and more of the applications they’re building and systems they’re using are shifting to the cloud. As a result, LogicMonitor is able to monitor those cloud environments in AWS, Google Cloud, or Microsoft Azure and provide instant visibility into the metrics that are running in those systems. Another great customer example there, which hopefully illuminates some of the ways that you as IT executives could think about improving your current modernization strategy.

The last area to talk about is investing in automation and AIOps. This is something that’s talked about a lot currently. The first thing to say is, encouragingly, we found from our surveys that 74% of IT leaders already employ intelligence systems, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide insight into IT infrastructure. People are embracing this already today, and it’s critical. As your infrastructure grows, as you become more and more dependent upon IT and providing digital services, it is essential to employ an AI approach to how you manage your operations because it will allow you to reduce the cost in how you provide those services. The question for everyone is, are you embracing AIOps here? And if you’re not, it’s something I think you have to make a priority in the coming years. 84% of the executive IT leaders that we spoke to expect IT automation to become a focus in the next three years, and if it isn’t already, they say it will be in due course. 50% who have a great deal of automation are very confident in their ability to maintain continuous uptime. 

Let’s talk a little bit about what do we mean by automation? What we mean by AIOps and how does LogicMonitor help? One of the ways that we think about is providing early visibility, so rather than being reactive to your IT infrastructure problems or your application problems, it’s about using our platform to be proactive. It’s about providing early visibility, early insight into issues that are happening in your networks and your systems. The system itself, the platform itself, can start to overcome those issues. We use things such as dynamic thresholds and anomaly detection. We’re analyzing all this vast amount of data to provide you immediate insights and pinpoint the exact issues before they become major issues to your environments and your customers. 

A good example of this is Bupa, which is a global healthcare company and is a customer of LogicMonitor down in Australia. There is a video on our website that you can go and watch. It talks about how they modernized their monitoring practice by using LogicMonitor. One of the challenges for Bupa was a very complex infrastructure environment and a lack of visibility, sort of flying blind and not knowing where the issues are or how to resolve them quickly. A lot of manual tasks using multiple tools and a heavy cost. One of the challenges when you’re using multiple on-premise tools and you’re using a lot of manual processing is to identify where the issues are. Your costs are increasing because the only way you can cope with that as your environments grow is to continually keep adding more people to do the work. The solution from LogicMonitor is about streamlining IT operations with hybrid infrastructure monitoring and AIOps. The big benefit for Bupa is increased efficiency and decreased cost with automation in ServiceNow, ITSM, and CMDB integration. Bupa was able to move to a single, consolidated SaaS space platform for doing their infrastructure monitoring. It allows them now to monitor any kind of environment, so any new environment they deploy is instantly discovered in LogicMonitor and instantly monitored. That information’s pulled immediately into the CMDB and ServiceNow via the CMDB integration.

Again, you’re taking away manual processes. AIOps is allowing organizations to move with confidence, to move with speed, and to monitor everything that comes into their environment. Any new application being developed is immediately monitored, and the infrastructure is immediately visible in the UI. This allowed Bupa to transform the way they provide service. But most importantly, it reduced cost, as well as in a current pandemic like we’re in, allows their users and the engineers to be able to access that platform from anywhere and at any time and to be able to monitor any end-user service, customer service, or any kind of infrastructure immediately.

A few questions as we move to the end of the presentation now. Are you suffering outages and downtime due to a lack of visibility into your applications and infrastructure? Is that something you experience? Are you facing poor customer feedback and satisfaction from your employees, from your customers due to the digital experience you’re providing? Is it affecting the customer satisfaction scores you have? Do you have frustrated employees who are unable to access services easily and seamlessly? Are you finding it slow and cumbersome to use legacy on-premise tools? Has it been difficult in the current climate to be able to rely upon those tools to provide the service that you’re trying to provide? Are you challenged by using multiple monitoring tools in a complex environment, including SaaS? Are you able to monitor all of the SaaS applications and services you’re providing? And not just the SaaS service like the Zoom application, but all of the underlying infrastructure that makes that service run.

For example, the network right down to the switches, are you able to have full visibility of the entire stack of that service? Are you struggling to resolve IT issues through lack of visibility and a poor time to resolution? The reason I ask those questions is that these are the questions we asked people when we’re talking to them. When we speak to IT executives, people that are responsible for running IT applications, IT infrastructure. We ask these questions because, very often, the answer is, “No, we don’t have great visibility. No, we don’t have great feedback from our employees and customers in terms of the service we provided. Yes, we do have challenges with our issues. Yes, we do have challenges in being able to rely upon the tools that we’re using to provide the service that we need to provide.”

It is a real challenge, it’s the theme of this presentation. In the current climate, you have to really think about modernizing. Lastly, I talked a little bit about it today in terms of customer examples, but we’re helping organizations do this. What we provide is an observability platform for your digital infrastructure. Across the entire stack from the storage through the virtualized environment to the servers, both on-premise as well as server capabilities that are in the cloud. All of your microservices, Kubernetes environments, any kind of infrastructure that you have are automatically monitored with LogicMonitor.

One of the unique things about our platform is the SaaS, which means it’s very quick time delivery. But it also is an agentless approach, and that’s getting quite technical, but we don’t rely upon putting an agent on every single device. We’re able to use this very intelligent collector that allows us to automatically discover and identify almost any environment that you might have and start pulling performance metrics from those environments. That’s incredibly compelling because it allows you to move with confidence and move with speed, and that’s critical in the current climate we’re in. Going forward, you have to move with confidence, you have to move with speed, and LogicMonitor also allows you to do that by monitoring all of your environment seamlessly.

We also collect log information. Log information is brought into the product, so we automatically collect all the up logs that are coming from your IT infrastructure. What we’re running is AI algorithms on those logs to identify anomalies, so we’re able to, very quickly, be able to identify an anomaly, that piece of log data that looks out of place. Something doesn’t seem right, and then we pair it together with the metrics that we get from the infrastructure. What it allows you to do is very quickly identify the issue and resolve the issue. Again, it’s about using AI. It’s about providing you with the ability to identify issues very quickly and resolve them instantaneously. In the modern business world, that’s maybe of the most paramount importance because every second that a customer or an employee is frustrated by the use of your services is too long. You have to find a way to ensure that you can provide that service.

We’ve surveyed all of the customers that we work with. One of the things we do is a business value assessment. What we do is we analyze the running of their current environment, using the current tools they’re using, and then we look at it afterward, once the LogicMonitor has been implemented. What we found is that, on average, there’s a 4X average ROI in the first year. So, on every dollar that’s spent on the product, there’s a 4X return of investment in the first year, and on average, is a six-month payback. Our customers have told us this, we’ve sat with them, we’ve understood it, but it is a compelling business case. That business case is made up of our ability to modernize their environments, which allows them to provide a single pane of glass, allows them to reduce the number of tools they’re using down to one platform, and allows them to provide true visibility into their environment. It allows them to act quickly to resolve issues quickly. Your meantime to resolution in terms of solving IT outages and IT issues goes down dramatically. Your employee satisfaction and your customer satisfaction go up, and your overall running costs in terms of the manual time you’re spending today using lots of disparate tools go away because you’re using one single source of truth.

Thank you for letting me speak to you. I’ve enjoyed providing you with some interesting information. Hopefully, something to make you think, to make you question what you’re doing today, and to make you think about how you might do things in the future. Thank you very much.

Evolution of IT Research Report

Learn how IT departments are evolving to maintain SLAs and business continuity in the era of remote work

evolution of IT research report booklet