2018 was the year we saw digital transformation become constant transformation. User demand and rising expectations saw organisations accelerate the speed of innovation to push the boundaries of the services they provide for customers, but for organisations to be successful in this endeavour, agility has become absolutely essential, Michael Allen, CTO and VP of EMEA at Dynatrace.
Whether that be in cloud environments and the use of microservices and containers, or via the implementation of DevOps, the need to be agile has become central to delivering services customers expect.
Yet this constant transformation is introducing more complexity into hybrid cloud environments. Research in 2018 showed that a single web or mobile transaction now crosses an average of 35 different technology systems or components, compared to 22 just five years ago.
More technology makes monitoring a painstaking process and one that can be impossible for IT teams to manage, threatening their ability to innovate. The same research showed that the vast majority of CIOs believe the drive to accelerate innovation will put customer experience at risk. As a result, we can expect to see the following trends emerge in the next 12 months, as IT teams look to tackle this increased speed of innovation.
Cloud Complexity will Increase Outages
If 2018 showed anything, it’s that organisations are facing a massive challenge in keeping modern digital services up-and-running. We’ve seen giants like Facebook, Netflix and Instagram fall victim to outages and prevent users from using their services. Even institutions like the London Stock Exchange was affected by an hour long outage, resulting in millions of pounds of trades not being made. These incidents only reinforce how hard it is to keep digital services up and running. It’s also concerning CIOs, with research showing their concerns that cloud complexity will make it impossible to manage performance effectively.
With software failures still prevalent and the speed of innovation only increasing the number of technology systems or components behind services, we can expect to see complexity increase even more in the next 12 months. Without visibility into enterprise cloud environments and monitoring to provide real-time situational awareness, it’s likely there will be more front-page outages in 2019.
AI Will Revolutionise Cloud Operations
As organisations digitally transform, the pressure on IT operations also increases exponentially. More systems, increased complexity, higher user expectations but no more people – that’s the reality of IT today. As a result, organisations will have to transform cloud operations. Teams will turn to artificial intelligence to help understand and manage this complexity, laying the foundations to begin automating cloud operations.
For example, by using AI to get answers about the root cause of performance, automatic responses could be triggered to resolve the problem. Or as AI senses changes in web traffic throughout the day, it could trigger compute power to be increased or decreased accordingly.
These are simple examples, but with an amalgamation of AI and automation, enterprises can start to implement software that can heal itself – if you can identify root cause, the system can then be taught how to implement fixes to common problems. AI will help to take the burden off IT teams, who will spend less time on finding and fixing problems and more time developing new services.
Automation Will Begin to Address Customer Experience Problems
In the digital ecosystem, customer experience is king and can be a major differentiator for brands looking to carve out a niche, particularly in ecommerce. With automation already revolutionising other business processes like marketing and finance, it’s now set to play a role in shaping the customer journey any time the experience is less than perfect.
Currently, if an organisation suffers an outage and the website goes down, users will turn to social media to vent their frustration about the problem and lack of action, which damages the company’s reputation.
In 2019, we’ll begin to see the management of customer experience automated in simple but effective ways. For example, if the system can recognise that customers are having problems checking out, then it can automatically trigger fixes, but also offer discount codes to those affected as compensation. Organisations should focus on automating actions on the most important transactions to ensure disruption to customers is reduced at the key touchpoints.
Innovation Ushering in the New Age
Whilst innovation may be putting more strain on IT teams, natural ingenuity will see them tackle this issue head on. Clearly, AI will be the driving force behind organisations in 2019, who will use it in surprising ways to tackle the greater complexity that technology is bringing. To help deliver constant innovation, AI gives IT teams a means to understand their cloud stacks and the complexity behind them, speeding up remediation and allowing for the automation of cloud operations and beyond.
However, the time this gives back to IT teams and the cyclical nature of innovation means that it’s not all plain sailing, because in this era of constant transformation, finding ways to satisfy insatiable users will be a never-ending task.