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Digital is business: how to drive perfect customer experience through modern digital ops

By Michael Cucchi, VP of Product at PagerDuty

For today’s digital consumers, and that’s everyone, experience is everything. Three-quarters (73%) cite experience as a major factor in purchasing decisions and a third (32%) say they’d walk away from a brand they love after just one negative interaction. If that was true before the pandemic, it’s written in stone today. But under pressure to deliver a perfect customer experience every time, your DevOps and IT teams are struggling. Not only must they innovate further and faster than ever, but also do this while managing unprecedented complexity and demand.

In short, they need a modern digital ops platform to help them cut through alert noise, automate repetitive tasks, and respond with agility to real time incidents. In a world where digital success means business success and uptime is your bottom line, nothing less will do.

The problem with today’s digital ops

The best digital experiences appear seamless to the end-user. But the reality is they’re built on complex cloud and application infrastructure, featuring hundreds or thousands of microservices and potentially hundreds of thousands of complex dependencies. It’s no surprise that as these services continue to grow in size and importance to the business, so have incidents. A 2020 PagerDuty study found that in the previous 3-6 months alone, digital incidents had risen by 47% on average. This could have serious implications for customer churn, brand reputation and most critically, the wellbeing of IT staff.

Legacy tooling, manual processes and siloed data are compounding the problem. Existing sequential ticket-based systems, while fine for non-urgent work, are too slow and rigid to cope with modern digital operations challenges. When critical issues occur, your DevOps and IT ops teams need real-time solutions built for these contemporary dynamic environments.

PagerDuty was made for this. Our digital operations management platform can be set up in minutes, and deliver ROI in days.  It is simple to use and works at cloud scale. When seconds count, it automates repetitive low-level tasks and directs the urgent work to the right individuals so they can fix digital experience issues before the customer has even noticed.

Making event management smarter

Part of the challenge facing incident responders is the sheer volume of alerts generated from complex infrastructure and applications. Time and again this noise and false alarms drown out the genuine signals they need to pick up to get to the root cause of issues—delaying resolution times and impacting productivity. AIOps has been promoted by many vendors as a silver bullet to these challenges. Yet too often it’s overly complex and time-consuming to deploy and requires highly skilled professionals to implement.

PagerDuty takes a different approach to AIOps. Our intelligent event intelligence solution requires zero data science knowledge or expensive model training. It works out-of-the-box, using built-in machine learning trained by our 700,000+ users to group alerts into single incidents—cutting through the noise and enabling responders to prioritize. It understands context, surfaces relevant info to the right teams, suggests immediate improvements, and can even automate remediation.

Why automation matters

Automation runs through the entire PagerDuty platform—it’s vital given industry skills shortages and the growing volume of work generated by complex digital systems. In fact, 82% of organizations we spoke to said automated on-call and incident management can reduce the number of people required to resolve business and customer-impacting incidents.

We use powerful yet easy to use runbook automation on-premises and in the cloud, enabling anyone in the organization to self-service as first-level responders. This reduces unnecessary escalations to subject matter experts (SMEs) and puts an end to tickets and queues for routine work. It all adds up to faster, more effective incident response and remediation while freeing SMEs to work on higher value projects and innovation.

Full-service ownership: setting the right culture

These tools and capabilities crucially support what we call a full-service ownership approach, which introduces both greater accountability and visibility into digital operations. In the legacy model, developers produce code before handing off to separate operations teams or site reliability engineers. These siloes can impact the quality of code and cause confusion over who is responsible for what when an incident occurs down the line.

The essence of full-service ownership can be summarized as: “If you code it, you ship it and you own it.” By empowering engineers to own their services in production, those who build the software take the reins as first responders in the event of a problem. The result is a reduction in mean-time-to-resolve (MTTR), less uncertainty and buck-passing and minimal customer impact.

Full-service ownership delivers a world that connects business outcomes to humans, technologies and complex, constantly changing microservices. It shows technical teams and developers the direct impact they have on business outcomes and the customer’s experience, bringing them closer to the value they create. As a result, teams pay attention to shipping higher-quality code faster, innovating at speed and working collaboratively to maintain these services.  But today it goes beyond just developers and operations teams. Silos are being broken across organisations, with everyone from Dev, Ops and Security and now customer service and business executives. Today the entire company is focused on what matters most, the digital services that are devoted to their customer’s experience. 

The PagerDuty platform’s focus on visibility, operations automation and the real time routing of actionable events through clear paths of ownership makes it a favored tool for driving full-service ownership. With full-service ownership guiding strategic efforts and digital operations platforms like PagerDuty’s doing the heavy lifting, it’s time to usher in a new era of IT productivity and customer experience excellence.

To watch the on-demand version of the PagerDuty Summit, the virtual event for digital operations professionals, click here