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Global Survey Reveals Key Challenges and Technologies Expected to Drive the Next Phase of Digital Transformation

New Relic, Inc. (NYSE: NEWR), the industry’s largest and most comprehensive cloud-based Observability Platform built to help customers create more perfect software, today announced findings from a global survey evaluating the success of digital transformation projects.

According to the survey, progress has been made despite obstacles, however technology leaders are finding that running their digitally transformed organisations is challenging and they are under increased pressure to prove business value.

Key findings from the survey include:

● 1 in 2 tech leaders are challenged in managing and monitoring their digitally transformed organisations
● Almost 50 percent of respondents admit that their customers more likely to uncover problems before them
● 89 percent of the survey respondents believe AI and ML will become important for how organisations run their digital systems

The study commissioned by New Relic in partnership with Vanson Bourne surveyed 750 global senior IT decision makers of enterprises with 500 to 5000-plus employees in U.K., Australia, France, Germany, and the U.S.

U.K. respondents have shown stark differences in terms of their attitude towards digital transformation compared to other markets:

● Managing expectations: While 58 percent of Brits feel that their expectations were met, just over a quarter (26 percent) revealed that the results were not as anticipated; globally this sentiment was shared by only 9 percent. In total, 74 percent of respondents have expressed that their digital transformation met or exceeded their expectations.

● There are underlying challenges, obstacles, and tensions: Technology leadership in the U.K. are running up against more resistance and intransigence than others – their number one obstacle is restricted IT budgets (43 percent), followed by resistance to shutdown/side-lining legacy systems, and more than a third (35 percent) report that they do not receive adequate support from non-tech leadership (the global average is 19 percent).

● British CEOs and CMOs are less optimistic: only 39 percent of business leaders in the U.K. are supportive (compared to an overall 47 percent). Rather than working as a team to solve problems, British CEOs and CMOs are more likely (47 percent) to demand answers when something goes wrong in comparison to other countries (40 percent). However, surprisingly, U.K. executives are least likely to request daily reports (31 percent), compared to the global average of 46 percent and the U.S. (54 percent).

“The next phase of digital transformation will focus on making sense of all the data so that organisations can move faster, make better decisions, and create best-in-class digital experiences,” said Buddy Brewer, GVP and GM Client-Side Monitoring, New Relic. “As indicated in our research, observing and acting on insights from data collected will play a critical role in helping digitally transformed organisations truly scale and realise the benefits of modern technological advances.”

The Challenges of Digital Transformation

Global organisations claim to be significantly progressing their digital transformation projects, with 39 percent of global respondents saying these are completed or close to completion. Satisfaction levels also seem to be high with 91 percent of respondents saying results met and exceeded. However, respondents shared that the top five challenges to successfully sustain digital transformation are:

1. Separate parts of the organisation are moving at different speeds to embrace digital transformation, which holds back collective progress;
2. shortage of skilled employees;
3. restricted budgets;
4. understanding and measuring business benefits;
5. and finally, continued resistance to shutting down legacy systems.

Factors Contributing to These Challenges

● Increased complexity: More than 50 percent of respondents say they find their complex new software and infrastructure hard to manage and monitor for performance issues. Most (63 percent) say that the pressure to respond to business needs means they are having to work longer hours to observe and manage software performance correctly.

● Higher expectations: Most respondents (79 percent) agree that the rest of the business has higher expectations in how digital systems perform; and expect the technology team to deliver more and more innovations and updates (72 percent).

● Lack of visibility: 48 percent of respondents admitted that their end users or customers tell them about a problem with digital apps before they know about it; and a further 46 percent say they are told about these issues before they know how to fix them.

● Accountability: 46 percent of their C-suite executives want daily updates about how software systems are performing for staff and customers (54 percent of US respondents reported this trend). A further 40 percent of CEOs also want more answers when outages or performance problems happen.

● Challenges analysing data: A root cause for how teams struggle to manage modern software may be how the amount of machine generated data is rising rapidly. More than half (56 percent) of all respondents acknowledged that it is humanly impossible to properly assess this data. Notably, the larger organisations agree more strongly this is a problem: 58 percent of respondents from businesses of 3,000 to 4,999 employees and 55 percent of those with more than 5,000 staff.

● Determining business metrics: 1 in 3 respondents report that they are challenged on business benefit metrics for their digital transformation projects.

Looking Ahead: Harnessing the power of cloud and AI to fuel digital transformations
● Moving to public cloud: The majority of respondents agreed that migration to public cloud (i.e., Amazon Web Services, Azure, Google) is at the core of respondents’ digital transformation journey – 82 percent in U.S., 75 percent in the U.K., 75 percent in Australia, 66 percent in France, and 63 percent in Germany.

● Efficient way of using resources: Many (46 percent) agree that while migration to cloud is great, they don’t have a clear way of knowing what their cloud bill is going to be every month. More than half (54 percent) also say that while cloud computing promises more efficient usage of resources, the promise of greater control is not a given.

● Expectations around AI and ML replacing jobs: Overall, 37 percent of the global respondents agree that AI and ML will replace their job in a decade, while 41 percent disagreed. These numbers were highest in France with 55 percent of the respondents confirming that they expect their current jobs to be replaced by these advanced technologies. These numbers were lowest in the US (32percent) and U.K. (23 percent).

● Promise of AI and ML: Interestingly, more than 92 percent of U.S. respondents agree that artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) will become important for how they run their digital systems. Globally, almost 84 percent of the respondents believe that AI and ML will make their role easier.