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DigitalCFO Newsroom | 13 July 2022

Spiraling Complexity and Business Expectations Spawn Growing Skills and Resources Demands

  • Cisco AppDynamics has released the annual Agents of Transformation report which reveals the
    emergence of a new class of post-pandemic technology leaders who are reimagining applications
    and digital services delivery as the lines between IT operations and business strategy blur.
  • 74% say their experiences in recent years have accelerated their careers, and 88% now consider
    themselves to be business leaders and believe what it means to be a technology expert has changed.However, just 10% have reached the elite status of ‘Agents of Transformation’.
  • While technology leaders are looking to better understand and adapt to digital transformation with
    solutions that positively affect the overall business, 66% say it is now more difficult to be an Agent
    of Transformation, and one-quarter say their organization remains stuck in “fire-fighting mode.”

Cisco AppDynamics, a leading provider of Observability and Application Performance Monitoring technology, has published findings from Agents of Transformation 2022, the fourth annual report that analyzes the skills and attributes of elite global technologists.

In the wake of the pandemic, it reveals the emergence of a new class of technology experts stepping up to meet critical challenges that are blurring the lines between business strategy and IT operations. The report also cites the demand to make all products and services digitally available in the Experience Economy amid heightened security threats, increasing complexity, and the accelerated shift to hybrid work and the cloud.

“The bar continues to rise, and over the last year we have seen a redefinition of what it means to be an
Agent of Transformation. These leaders are looking to better understand how issues in their respective
domains impact the total experience of users and applications, adapting to change with solutions that
positively affect the overall business,” said Liz Centoni, EVP, Chief Strategy Officer, GM of Applications.

According to the Cisco AppDynamics report, 74% believe that their experiences in recent years—
particularly during the pandemic—have accelerated their careers, and 88% now consider themselves to be business leaders. However, just 10% of technology experts have reached the elite status of ‘Agents of
Transformation’. These individuals represent top-flight leaders who are reimagining and delivering high-value applications and services that create the always-on, secure, and exceptional user experiences now
demanded by end users and customers.

Respondents cite a fundamental change in the role of technologists, including the skills and resources
required to operate effectively and proficiently. At the same time, they say they now contend with soaring
complexity and volumes of data from across the technology stack and must integrate a massively
expanding set of cloud-native services with existing on-premises systems and tools.

  • 88% believe that what it means to be a technologist has changed
  • 84% say the skills and qualities that define an Agent of Transformation have evolved
  • 66% indicate that it is now more difficult to be an Agent of Transformation
  • One in four say their organization remains stuck in reactive, “fire-fighting mode”

Digital transformation means almost every company and organization interacts with consumers via web
and mobile applications, and the transition to hybrid work means more interaction with SaaS tools and
web interfaces. While consumers can pivot fast to another brand’s app or service, companies that cannot
instantly improve digital experiences risk having loyal customers walk away.
“The new Agents of Transformation recognize a need to reimagine applications not just in response to
post-pandemic challenges, but also, to create flawless, reliable digital experiences that address some of
the world’s greatest problems—from meeting critical human needs to giving people the skills and
resources to succeed in the digital economy,” Centoni said.
While acknowledging the far-reaching consequences of this change, respondents in the Cisco
AppDynamics report note that they need help navigating the technical and operational ambiguities of
digital transformation. Specifically, they are looking for unified visibility into their IT environments to
better manage and optimize application availability and performance. This requires focusing investments
on application security, observability over cloud-native applications and infrastructure, and linking IT
performance to business decision making.

  • 77% believe it will be important to invest in application security over the next 12 months to meet
    customer and employee needs
  • 71% think their organization will need to invest in observing cloud-native applications and
  • 84% say that the need to maintain the performance of business applications is now more
    important than ever
  • 85% state that full stack observability is core to sustainable transformation and innovation in their