In 2019, DEJ’s research covered a variety of topics across key areas of managing IT and its performance. The beginning of 2020 provided us an opportunity to draw the line and  look back at our historic data, analyze year-over-year (YoY) trends and identify key areas that are showing the most significant increase in importance.

1- Emergence of “Technology-as-a-Competitive-Advantage” (TaCA). Concepts such as “every company is a software company” and “digital transformation” have been around for a while, but in 2019 we saw a major increase in the role that technology plays in creating and executing business strategies. The research shows that organizations are increasingly shifting from a traditional approach where technology is used as an enabler of business initiatives and instead building strategies and business models with technology at their core. That new approach is changing technology and business landscapes and, when executed right, is creating significant business benefits causing power shifts in existing markets and creating new ones.

42% – increase in number of organizations that are leveraging technology to create new business models and/or revenue streams over the last 18 months

2 – IT transformation beyond technology deployments. DEJ’s research shows some major changes in the role that IT departments are playing, how they are structured and challenges they are looking to address. However, many of the most significant changes are not related to technology deployments. The research identifies four areas – people, organization, data management and processes – where the most true transformational efforts are coming from. Forty-six percent of organizations reported that boundaries and responsibilities between IT and other departments are becoming more blurry, while organizations are increasingly introducing new IT job roles and reporting increases in technology deployments that are driven by non-IT professionals. This is to show that organizations are realizing that the process of transforming the IT to meeting requirements of digital economy requires a holistic approach that goes way above deployments of new technologies and modernization of their infrastructures.

3- Customer becoming a key focal point of IT. The issue of aligning IT with business has been around for a long time and is something that many organizations have struggled with. Over the last 18 months, our research shows that these two sides have finally been able to find a common language – customer-centricity. The research shows a major uptake in the number of organizations that are changing their IT strategies to truly focus on customer and employee experiences. At the same time, business executives are reporting significant changes in customer expectations for engagement and experience. Improving customer experiences and creating a new one is a task that is on top of the list for both business and technology executives and finding the way to work together towards this goal will determine the success of business strategies in 2020.

4 – Power shift – advantage DevOps and engineers. The research shows a major increase in the importance of DevOps for achieving key strategic IT and business goals. This goes beyond just adopting DevOps frameworks and includes an increased awareness as to how organizations should be thinking about creating the business value from the IT, meeting market demands and ensuring optimal performance of digital services. The research also shows that DevOps and SRE are taking over some responsibilities that were traditionally owned by IT operations. The increase in customer expectations is driving organizations to shorten feedback loops and adopt a full-service ownership approach that brings development teams closer to the customer and, as a result, expands their responsibilities and importance in production.

5 – Velocity and pace of change. DEJ’s recent research study “The Roadmap to Becoming a Top Performing Organization in Managing IT Operations” shows that IT teams are dealing with a perfect storm of changes in both their external and internal environments. The research shows that this trend with continue in 2020, with the pace of change accelerating even further. As new technologies are “crossing the chasm” faster than ever and business requirements in digital economy have the need to continuously innovate, organizations are increasingly understanding that succeeding in these new environments means taking forward-thinking approaches when analyzing business and technology landscapes and customer needs.

46% – reported increased expectations to contribute to the business over the last 12 months

6 – Understanding limits of manual work. With the increasing complexity of managing IT environments, organizations are looking to improve productivity and effectiveness of IT staff by improving their skill sets, realigning processes and responsibilities, deploying knowledge management capabilities, adding new hires with domain expertise in emerging technologies, etc. Even though each of these actions results in some improvements, they are not enough to fully address most burning issues. As a result, organizations are increasingly understanding the limits of manual work, which results in a major spike in deploying AI-enabled solutions, automating more of their IT processes, leveraging machine learning capabilities and relaying on advanced analytics and data management concepts. 

34% – increase in the number of organizations reporting that “throwing more people at a problem” is not a viable solution, over the last 12 months

7 – Business taking things into their own hands. As a result of the emergence of TaCA, business executives are becoming more interested in exploring technology markets and identifying solutions that are the best fit for their business goals. The research shows that business professionals are increasingly becoming a part of the processes for evaluating and purchasing technologies and, as a result, value propositions of different solutions are seen more and more through different “lenses”. These executives are expecting technology vendors to help them connect the dots between key value points of different technologies and KPI and outcomes that are most relevant to them.

8 – Increased focus on employee experience. Traditionally, improving employee productivity has been one of the key tasks of IT teams. DEJ’s research shows that over the last 18 months organizations are increasingly realizing that employee experience and engagement is even more important and are becoming one of the key areas of managing the performance of digital services. As DEJ’s recent article reveled, business and IT leaders are understanding that the definition of user experience is changing and goes beyond traditional metrics such as availability and latency and, as a result, are becoming increasingly interested in solutions that provide visibility into a true employee experience.

9 – Speed to the market. Organizations in DEJ’s recent research reported, on average, up to $2.1 million in lost revenue from each month of delay in application releases. The YoY analysis shows that revenue lost due to slow application releases is trending closer to the cost of service outages. As organizations are increasingly using technology as a source of competitive advantage, the ability to ship out better code faster and with less resources required becomes one of the top items on CIOs agendas. As a result, DEJ’s research shows a 65% increase in the number of organizations that are deploying a CI/CD approach over the last 18 months with 59% reporting that these practices are strategically important to their business.

10 – New role of IT Operations. Traditionally, the value proposition of IT operations has been to ensure that IT services are performing at high availability and low latency while reducing operational cost. Over the last 18 months, the research shows an increase in the need for IT operations to create a business value by focusing on ensuring returns from deployments of transformational technologies, managing change and providing real-time insights into customer experiences. Additionally, organizations are increasingly looking to take a single-platform approach that would allow them to correlate data from different domains and perform unified analysis across the entire IT management tools stack.