IT Operations primed for dramatic change

Cisco launched its new IT Operations Readiness Index revealing how data is transforming the way businesses operate their IT.

The Index surveyed more than 1,500 senior IT leaders from across the globe to understand where organisations are on their IT operations transformation journey, revealing a four-step model for IT operations maturity, focused on how organisations handle events they face.

Joseph Bradley, Cisco’s Global Vice President, IoT, Blockchain, AI, and Incubation Business says: “Gone are the days of IT leaders relying on past monthly reports and hours upon hours of manual operational tasks to deliver results in the face of growing infrastructure complexity. Instead, fueled by data and empowered by automation, IT can operate in real-time, be predictive, and rely on detailed data to have a true seat at the table, delivering strategic value for their organisation and their customers.”

The report said that the IT department spends around 78 per cent of their budgets simply “running the business” which leaves little room for innovation. However, there’s a way to reallocate budgets to prioritise transformational activities with some organisations already progressing along the IT operations maturity model.

Companies need to understand where organisations are on the four-step maturity model and where they would like to be in two years.

Organisations at higher levels of maturity reported collecting data from more areas of their infrastructure, running more analytics and using automation more extensively. To get “preemptive” capabilities, organisations must be more data-driven by using data indicators to predict events (such as outages) and automation to make continuous changes and maintain optimal health.

Bradley said: “As organisations advance along the model, they use data to look further into the future. Through analytics and automation, CIOs can evolve from blindly reacting to events—such as outages—to continuously monitoring and optimising their infrastructures based on predictions of future needs. As a result, they can deliver strategic outcomes for their business partners, with change moving from being surprising and threatening to become something to control.”

The report found that operations have become a strategic focus for business success with 28 per cent of survey respondents’ IT budgets are spent optimising and remediating IT operations. More than 68 per cent of respondents expected to increase that budget over the next 12 months. 40 per cent of respondents said they already rely “heavily” on IT operational data for business decision-making.

Investing in operations drives customer benefits and value to the business with 88 percent of IT leaders said their investment in IT operations over the past 12 months had improved external customer satisfaction and 89 percent noted improvements in innovation.

Only 14 percent have reached the highest level of IT operations capabilities, with 26 percent are still at the lowest level, where IT events are reacted to as they occur (“reactive” operations). Yet 33 percent expect to have reached preemptive operations within two years.

The most advanced, those with “preemptive” operational capabilities, are twice as likely to perform continuous automation than the least advanced organizations, and more than 50 percent more likely to perform organization-wide automated data collection. Only 26 percent collect data on an ongoing basis; 17 percent use real-time automated analysis. Most activities are still periodic.

As Zeus Kerravala of ZK Research said, “In the future, the most successful companies are the ones that have the best quality data, AI algorithms to interpret it and a CDO to ensure quality and consistency.”