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Poor data leads to IT squabbles and work stress

Covid-19 has boosted IT in business, but IT workers feel they are overworked and are often in conflict with colleagues. Can better data help?

Research for Cisco AppDynamics suggests that IT workers are overworked and unable to switch off, due to the pressures of having to support the business during the pandemic.

The survey of 1,050 IT professionals in organisations with a turnover of at least $500m, conducted by Insight Avenue in December 2020 and January 2021, found that 89% of technologists report feeling under immense pressure at work. 

The survey, published in AppDynamic’s Agents of transformation 2021 report, found that almost two-thirds (63%) reported increased levels of conflict with colleagues during 2020, while 84% admitted having difficulty switching off from work.

The findings reveal a dramatic increase in IT complexity caused by the need for urgent innovation – and the resulting technology sprawl.

In particular, the survey found a link between businesses’ response to the pandemic and growing IT complexity. It reported that three-quarters (75%) of technologists claimed their response to the pandemic had created more IT complexity than they have ever experienced.

According to AppDynamics, the survey suggests that the timeline for the implementation of major strategic transformation projects accelerated three-fold in 2020. “Innovation initiatives that would typically have taken 21 months prior to the pandemic were delivered within seven months last year,” the report’s authors noted.

To facilitate transformation at this speed, the survey suggests that businesses were forced to fast-track their move towards cloud computing, said AppDynamics, but this, in turn, led to more complexity, with technologists facing the challenge of controlling systems both inside and outside the core IT estate. According to the report’s authors, this resulted in technologists struggling to manage overwhelming “data noise”, without the resources and support they needed.

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According to AppDynamics, although technologists are acutely aware that they need to contextualise IT performance with real-time business data, two-thirds (66%) do not have the resources and support they need, and 96% point to at least one barrier their organisation must navigate in order to adopt this new approach.

AppDynamics said that to deliver on their organisations’ innovation goals and control heightened levels of IT complexity, technologists require full visibility and real-time insight into technology performance. The report’s authors urged IT departments to monitor and optimise each and every part of the IT estate and to connect the dots up and down the technology stack, so issues can be fixed before they impact customers and colleagues.

“Full-stack observability is the only way technologists can deal with the sprawling IT estate and increased complexity created by such rapid rates of innovation,” said Linda Tong, vice-president and general manager, Cisco AppDynamics. “But on its own, it’s just not enough. Technologists have recognised that without business context, they will quickly find themselves drowning in complexity and data noise.”

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