IT operators see promise in DevOps and new tech

A new Ponemon Institute survey of nearly 1,250 global public sector IT decision makers and managers revealed that public sector organizations undergoing digital transformation are losing confidence in IT operations’ ability to manage the influx of new technologies and evolving citizen and mission expectations. Despite the rising complexity of IT, respondents see promise in DevOps to help achieve future mission success.

Loss of confidence in areas of IT operations

IT operators devops

The confidence gap

The survey polled a wide range of public sector IT professionals from national and local government agencies, national security, emergency services, higher education institutions, and aerospace and defense.

A converging host of factors and trends including constantly shifting budgets, changing regulatory compliance and modernization initiatives have contributed to declining confidence, but emerging technologies focused on automation and increased visibility are helping public sector organizations today.

Among the key findings, at least 60 percent of respondents felt as or less confident in carrying out their responsibilities in the following areas than they did 12 months ago:

  • Handling the scale and complexity of IT operations
  • Assuring performance and availability to consistently meet service-level agreements
  • Pinpointing root-causes and sources of failure quickly
  • Ensuring efficiency of IT operations
  • Migrating workloads and applications to the cloud.

“The confidence gap we are seeing maps to other industry and government technology trends including growing public scrutiny, ever-present resource limitations and rapidly increasing expectations of technology by end-users. There’s never been a more important time for public sector organizations to embrace analytics to help them face and overcome these challenges with data,” said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder, Ponemon Institute. “It’s a challenging time to work in government IT, but there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful for the future. It’s not surprising public sector IT leaders are looking to analytics, cloud and DevOps to help accelerate IT performance and management.”

IT operations in constant, reactive fire drill mode due to silos and lack of visibility

The survey also highlighted reasons for the overall loss of confidence across the public sector. Respondents felt that siloed IT systems and technologies, and an inability to integrate those systems (72 percent), were keeping them in a constant reactive state rather than being able to proactively plan for the future.

IT managers also cited the lack of end-to-end visibility (73 percent) and too many alerts and false-positives (55 percent) among the biggest threats to service delivery along with a lack of skills, expertise and resources to effectively accomplish their jobs. Even where analytics tools were in place, most respondents felt they were ineffective at helping quickly pinpoint issues and determine root causes (78 percent).

As a result of limited visibility, overly manual processes and alert fatigue, the survey also found that the average system outage took 44 hours to resolve, while requiring 12.5 staff members to restore operational status to IT systems. This extended length of time and confusion often puts IT operators further underwater as they struggle to find the balance of executing day-to-day operations while setting long-term proactive IT strategy.

How DevOps will be used

IT operators devops

Optimism about new tech

Despite a current lack of confidence, public sector IT operators see an optimistic future for increased adoption of DevOps, with roughly half of respondents anticipating increased spending devoted to it (46 percent) over the next 12 months. Additionally, respondents were encouraged by new network visibility and machine learning technologies and capabilities, saying they could have a major impact on improving and strengthening IT operations in the future.

“There’s no question that a lack of visibility is a major factor shaking the confidence of IT operations staff and management,” said Kevin Davis, vice president of public sector, Splunk. “A majority of IT decision makers do not think or are unsure if challenges such as IT troubleshooting, service monitoring, security and business and mission analytics can be addressed using a single set of data. Splunk has helped many of our customers realize this and ultimately become more analytics driven. By giving our customers the ability to ingest data once and use it across their IT infrastructure, public sector organizations can get ahead of IT modernization programs, ultimately helping them embrace digital transformation.”


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