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How the channel can help technologists to overcome the barriers to deploying full-stack observability

By Contributor
Tue 5 Apr 2022

Article by Cisco AppDynamics director of partner sales for APJ, Dylan Morison.

The transition from current application monitoring approaches to more comprehensive, full-stack observability solutions over the next five years represents one of the biggest opportunities for the channel today. 

This growth is being driven by an increasing recognition amongst technologists in all sectors that traditional application monitoring tools don’t fully meet their needs in a modern, hybrid cloud environment. Most solutions currently being deployed aren’t able to provide technologists with visibility into applications and underlying infrastructure for large, managed kubernetes environments running on public clouds. And that’s making it extremely difficult for IT departments to manage performance across an increasingly complex and dynamic IT estate.

Instead of deploying multiple, disconnected monitoring tools, full-stack observability provides technologists with a single, unified view of technology performance up and down the IT stack, across both legacy and cloud environments. And when full-stack observability is connected to business metrics, it allows technologists to prioritise actions based on end user impact and enables businesses to validate the impact of every IT decision.

This is why, according to the latest Agents of Transformation study, Agents of Transformation: The Rise of Full-Stack Observability, as many as 96% of global technologists believe that having the ability to monitor all technical areas across their IT stack and directly link technical performance to business outcomes is now important in order to achieve innovation goals.

With this in mind, channel partners need to ensure they’re ahead of the curve and equipped to help clients transition from Application Performance Management (APM) to full-stack observability solutions in the months ahead. Already, we’re seeing partners making plans to take their existing application performance monitoring practices and extend these into much larger, higher-value full-stack observability practices that can deliver a far broader and more strategic set of products and services to clients. 

Integration and the business case: Identifying the barriers to full-stack observability

Despite widespread recognition of the need for real-time visibility across the IT estate, most technologists are currently struggling to implement the type of full-stack observability, linked to business context that they need.

In our research, 96% reported at least one barrier that they need to overcome in their organisation in order to adopt full-stack observability. These include concerns around technology integration, scalability, a lack of relevant skills (particularly around cloud monitoring and Open Telemetry), and difficulties in building a business case to prove business value.

What’s more, due to the unrelenting pressures they face, to deliver innovation and optimise digital experiences in an ever more complex environment, most technologists simply haven’t got the time or headspace to think strategically about how they can overcome these issues to effectively implement full-stack observability. There simply aren’t enough hours in the day. 

Channel partners have a critical role to play, easing the pressure on clients and helping them to build holistic plans to introduce full-stack observability which directly addresses technical, and skills challenges.

Supporting the journey from application monitoring to full-stack observability 

Any business case for investment in full-stack observability should take a commercial, business-focussed approach, demonstrating how IT performance impacts key business KPIs. By linking IT performance data with real-time business metrics, technologists will be able to validate the impact of every IT action by analysing business KPIs. Channel partners need to be ready to help client stakeholders to articulate this to business leaders, showing how full-stack observability with business context can address the current measurement gap and help to embed a sustainable innovation-as usual culture across their operations. 

Partners also need to advise clients around the broader structural changes that a successful transition to full-stack observability requires. They need to build out education and communication plans to ensure teams are bought into full-stack observability and recognise the benefits it will deliver. It’s vital that all technologists are comfortable trusting in a single source of truth for all performance data. 

Partners have a unique view on a client’s IT infrastructure, across the four areas of IT operations – AppOps and DevOps, NetOps, InfraOps, and SecOps. And this means they can take a holistic view on technology performance and optimisation. Partners can help clients to identify key use cases at an early stage, whether that be hybrid application monitoring or cloud native application monitoring, and work with them to scope out how a full-stack observability solution can be implemented in a smooth and effective manner.

It’s important for channel partners to recognise that implementing full-stack observability requires a deeper, more strategic approach than previous application monitoring solutions. And therefore they need to work with a technology vendor that is truly committed and focussed on this space. They should be leaning on vendors to ensure they understand the key concepts around full-stack observability and to get the training and assets they need to effectively sell and implement solutions in the right way. In some cases, partners should be looking to vendors for co-investment to accelerate the building of specialist full-stack observability practices.

The time to act is now. There is now a two- to three-year window for partners to move from application monitoring to full-stack observability, otherwise they risk being left behind and displaced within client organisations. On the other hand, those partners that are able to accelerate this transition and establish a leadership position within this space will be able to fully exploit a largely uncontested but rapidly growing new market.

For more information on AppDynamics solutions, click here.

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