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2019: A year of reckoning for digital transformation

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Outdated tools and technology can hold back transformation efforts and discourage technologists. In fact, our recent Agents of Transformation study of global technologists, reported that more than half of UK technologists (62%) say there is a surplus of outdated technology and skills within their IT department, and 62% say too much time is spent keeping existing software and systems up and running. It’s important for enterprises to continually re-evaluate tools and technologies throughout the year.

Get serious about serverless computing

Serverless or Function as a Service (FaaS) platforms are the next evolution for cloud computing. The promises of cloud have always centered on agility, enabling the fast development of new digital services, without the shackles of limited compute resources and traditional technologies in the datacentre.

As major cloud platforms have innovated so quickly, there is an abundance of options on offer. Multiple instance types available on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) platforms provide flexible options for capacity and scaling. But conversely, this can lead to ‘over-provisioning’ with many businesses selecting more compute resources than required. For developers, who still need to be concerned with traditional application architecture constructs, such as multi-threading or load balancing, this can result in the promises of cloud computing going unrealised.

Technologists have to get serious about serverless computing, as FaaS platforms such as AWS Lambda, Azure Functions and Google Cloud functions, handle resource management. This means that developers can focus on what’s important: writing code and delivering new features and applications quickly. Serverless will be central to digital transformation success in 2019.    

Get up to speed with Edge Computing

It began as a buzz, but the Internet of Things (IoT) has turned into a tangible benefit and delivery channel for many digital enterprises. IoT allows users (the consumer, customer or employee) to access what they want faster. IoT-based digital services are rapidly becoming more intuitive. For example, the voice recognition technologies used in Alexa or Siri have become less about novelty and are now providing the opportunity to personalise services.

The next phase of IoT will be to realise the benefits of Edge Computing. Edge Computing is the concept of ‘pushing’ application functions, data and execution power away from centralised points, to the logical interaction points e.g. the Amazon Alexa device, your in-car computer system, or your smartphone. These Edge devices have become ever-more powerful over the last decade and application architecture techniques such as microservices, have made it easier to distribute digital services closer to the user. This is important as you are not as reliant on networks, bandwidth or backend architecture components - therefore ensuring better performance and customer experience.  

Ensure your analytics and ‘big data’ strategy unlocks insights

Every B2B software vendor offers a form of ‘analytics’ or ‘big data’ related solutions. Analytics has become a one-stop buzzword to explain a whole host of features. Technology’s prevalence in the way we work, live, and learn has resulted in businesses doubling down on making digital experiences better, easier, and more engaging. To build stronger loyalty with customers, businesses are investing in agile models that heavily rely on multi-cloud and IoT environments, distributed services and microservices, APIs, and relentless code releases.

While these technology advancements enable faster innovation, they make it harder to have real-time visibility across technology stacks and increase operational complexity by orders of magnitude. Overwhelmed organisations are looking for relief by leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning to sift through volumes of data, derive real-time insights, and orchestrate targeted actions.

The foundational requirement for any analytics strategy is to correlate-in-context how your technology stack and associated applications are driving business value - and to be able to do this instantly. This analysis helps justify to executives why the business requires investment in new technologies, or why a new feature or digital service must be developed to solve business problems that impact the customer experience.

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Prepare for AIOps

Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps) will become a term that Agents of Transformation will become more familiar with in 2019. It’s a term that has started to appear more and more around Application Performance Monitoring (APM) and analytics over the past 18 months. But what does it mean? Much like in the early stages of Cloud and DevOps, there are many definitions and explanations for AIOps but at AppDynamics we believe that AIOps is a step-change towards an IT culture that embraces Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to automate the identification and remediation of common application or technology issues. It can’t just be one product that enables an AIOps mindset, but the culmination of different monitoring, analytics and automation solutions.

In much the same way as the human central nervous system takes input from all the senses and coordinates action throughout our bodies, the Cisco and AppDynamics AIOps strategy is to deliver the Central Nervous System for IT. This Central Nervous System will provide the deepest visibility and unparalleled insights into application environments with the ability to define automated actions that remediate problems and optimise results.

Don’t forget about traditional technologies

While 2019 promises a number of exciting technology developments, technologists still need to focus on traditional and existing technologies and systems. Technologists need real-time monitoring solutions that are able to give visibility and insight throughout the full technology stack.  

Often, businesses run many legacy systems, as a result of partial migrations or updates. Organisations should regularly evaluate the solutions and processes they have in place to keep pace with advancements and remain competitive. With the right solutions, enterprises can help advance the customer experience without a heavy replacement of monolithic systems, enabling the deployment of new technology at a much faster rate.

Digital transformation is no longer just a buzzword. Technology can and is being used to deliver great customer experience. The rise of consumers wanting to interact with businesses at anytime, anywhere, means that to thrive, businesses need to invest in engaging digital experiences. 

John Rakowski, Market Specialist for Application Performance Management and Analytics at AppDynamics