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Friday, 11 September 2020 10:31

Pressure of digital services increases during COVID-19 pandemic Featured


More than 79% of Australian organisations - and 80% globally - have experienced a significant increase in pressure on digital services since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study.

The study by digital operations management company PageDuty also found that these same global companies cited a 47% increase in the number of daily incidents - and 44% in Australia - resulting in 71% of Australian IT and DevOps practitioners spending more than 10 extra hours per week resolving incidents compared to six months ago (62% globally).

The global survey of more than 700 Dev and IT practitioners across APJ, North America, EMEA also shows that in Australia 44% of organisations - compared to 40% globally - expect this digital pressure to get worse in the next six to 12 months.

“The pandemic has irreversibly changed the way we live, work, communicate, learn and shop. We now exist in a digital default world and the stakes are high. Downtime can mean millions in lost revenue and keeping digital services running perfectly is a complex job,” said Abhijit Pendyal, Manager - Solutions Consulting at PagerDuty.

“This research underscores the fact that every company is facing the challenge of accelerating their digital transformation to keep pace with customer expectations and needs, while grappling with increased digital complexity and strain. It also candidly points to the human cost of this dramatic change - an immense strain on the practitioners charged with keeping digital services running which can lead to massive fatigue and burnout,” said Pendya.

According to the study, since the pandemic began, 55% of respondents divulged that they are being asked to resolve incidents during their personal time five or more times a week (51% Australia), and 39% say they are firefighting or focused on unplanned work 100% of the time - and 4 in 10 (40%) in Australia - leaveing no room for proactive, innovative work.

As a result, the study found that globally organisations are having to cancel an average of 7.6 projects compared to 7.3 in Australia.

Other global and Australian survey highlights include:

IT and DevOps practitioners feel they play an important role in the digital economy.

  • The top reason respondents stay at their jobs is because of the teams and the camaraderie in DevOps/IT (71%) and (70% in Australia).
  • 58% said they are grateful for the opportunity to play an integral role in the digital economy.

However, they are worried about keeping up with the significant volume of work.

  • 53% of survey respondents globally and an overwhelming (59% of Australians) said the pressure to keep digital services running perfectly has reached unprecedented levels in the last 3-6 months.
  • 46% of practitioners (44% in Australia) feel overwhelmed when thinking about the next 12 months and feel the volume of work in the future will be significant.
  • 79% of DevOps and IT practitioners (77% in Australia) believe digital acceleration has to be their company's number one priority in 2021.

Practitioners and teams believe intelligent insights and automation will be critical to the success of their job.

  • 51% cite intelligent data and insights (49% Australia) that help prioritise where to spend time are critical.
  • 64% (and 63% in Australia) believe automation that removes manual processes will be critical to do more with less and meet increased demand on digital services.
  • Australian practitioners ranked the highest (74%) with believing that smart integrations are critical to doing their job better (69% globally).

“As organisations strive to capitalise on the new norm of digital first, they must adopt modern service-ownership practices while automating the management of their digital operations, because the old approach doesn’t work anymore,” said Pendyal.

“As technical architectures grow and expand, so do the operational processes. You need AI and machine learning, automation, and process efficiencies in order to remove complexity, be proactive (even predictive) and improve engineering productivity.

“Any company that fails to mature their approach, compromises customer experience, employee health, critical projects and risks significantly impacting cost structure,” Pendyal concluded.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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