Customer and Employee Needs are Changing: Here's How the Channel Must Adapt

It's time to optimize digital transformation efforts in move to cloud-native and hybrid environments.

December 27, 2022

4 Min Read

By Mark Maslach


Mark Maslach

Without question, the “next era of innovation” is upon us. Organizations have left behind the reactive firefighting of the last few years and look to optimize their digital efforts in a world where hybrid work is the norm.

Across all customer segments, the speed and scale of innovation is set to accelerate in response to customer demand for more intuitive and personalized digital experiences. Additionally, a looming economic downturn and subsequent layoffs increase pressure for IT departments to not just innovate but optimize all areas of operation so they can deliver on their organizations’ digital transformation objectives in a controlled, sustainable and secure manner. In fact, analyst firm Gartner listed optimization as one of the top key themes in strategic technology trends for 2023.

Channel partners need to be ready with the right expertise, skills and solutions to support their clients, particularly in the shift to cloud-native technologies. These partner solutions will be essential for IT departments to improve development velocity and achieve more agile and resilient IT infrastructures.

Cloud-Native Shift Requires Channel Collaboration

In our latest research surveying more than 1,150 IT decision-makers from around the globe, we found that IT teams need to overcome immense challenges to satisfy their organizations’ demands for accelerated innovation. Technologists across virtually all industries are looking to reimagine their applications over the next year to meet evolving end-user needs. We’re seeing a broad consensus that IT departments will need to accelerate the shift to modern application stacks, based on cloud-native technologies, so they can deliver on the digital transformation business leaders demand.

Our research showed technologists expect their organizations to increase investment in a wide range of areas over the next 12 months to support the shift to cloud-native, including application security, OpenTelemetry, networking monitoring, advanced AI and hyper-automation.

Perhaps most notably, technologists point to a need to increase investment in technologies and platforms that provide greater visibility across the entire IT stack. A majority, 71%, of technologists believe it will be essential to increase investment in solutions to observe cloud-native applications and infrastructure over the next year.

Visibility Is Key

Currently, few technologists have full and unified visibility across fragmented and complex IT environments. Data from every corner of their IT estate is bombarding their systems, but they lack the tools and insight to cut through data noise to quickly identify and fix issues before they impact end users. This puts technologists on the back foot, unsure where to focus their efforts and keep up with overwhelming demand.

A bad situation can rapidly become worse if organizations make drastic changes before looking. If they move toward modern applications stacks without ensuring their IT practitioners have visibility into new environments, it can leave them with an even greater volume of data to sift through without the tools to help. Cloud-native technologies are built on highly distributed systems that rely on thousands of containers and constantly spawn a massive volume of metrics, events, logs and traces (MELT) telemetry.

IT practitioners are aware of the need for visibility into their IT environments — in fact, 85% say that full-stack observability is core to sustainable transformation and innovation in their organizations.

Without the right tools in place, IT teams will be unable to manage massive levels of data noise when troubleshooting application availability and performance problems caused by infrastructure-related issues that span hybrid cloud environments. This, of course, will have knock-on effects in terms of digital experiences for customers and employees.

Combination of Solution and Skills

Channel partners have a crucial role in helping customers meet their digital transformation goals. They also ensure the strategic and sustainable implementation of tools needed for the transition to modern application stacks.

From delivering clients a broader set of products and services to providing access to cloud-native observability solutions that are customized to the needs of future applications, channel partners must prioritize functionality, scalability and speed. This allows IT practitioners to simplify cloud-native application architectures for observability into dynamic and complex cloud-native applications, landscapes and architectures.

Partners need to deliver the capabilities that clients will need not just over the next 12 months but in the years and decades to come. Even businesses that haven’t switched to cloud-native technologies yet will want to know their partners can support them when the time comes.

We see our most strategic partners doing this by aligning with clients to structure the right processes and frameworks to ensure the smooth roll-out of new, full-stack observability solutions. Organizations require a trusted partner that can deliver best-in-class solutions and help them navigate the needed cultural and operational changes.

We’re already seeing most of our partners help accelerate the move into cloud-native and hybrid environments. These digital transformation efforts are perhaps the most important thing to act on in a tumultuous macroeconomic environment and uncertainty within the technology industry.

Mark Maslach is vice president of Global Channels and Strategic Alliances at AppDynamics, part of Cisco. He has been with Cisco for more than 22 years, holding leadership roles across channels, sales and product management. You may reach him on LinkedIn or @AppDynamics on Twitter.

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