17 Areas Shaping the IT Operations Market in 2018

17 Areas Shaping the IT Operations Market in 2018

In 2017, DEJ conducted a number of surveys and interviews around IT Operations management that captured tens of thousands of data points based on insights from more than 2,500 organizations and coverage of more than 100 vendors. Based on this research, we identified 17 key areas that had the strongest impact on IT Operations in 2017 and are projected to be shaping this market in 2018 and beyond.

1 – Context is king

Historically, the value proposition of IT Operations management has been mostly around monitoring capabilities and gaining better visibility to achieve performance improvements. That is no longer the case. Even though improving monitoring capabilities is still critical for IT Operations strategies, the sole fact that organizations have more monitoring data on hand doesn’t necessarily translate to performance improvements.

Source – Digital Enterprise Journal, Inc – 2017

With increasing IT complexity, more data can actually have a negative impact on the performance – unless this data is delivered in a context that is actionable and relevant. Capabilities that TPOs are deploying should be used as a guideline for achieving this goal.

2 – Intelligent automation at scale

“31% increase in scalability as the key selection criteria since 2016” – DEJ

In order to modernize their IT Operations for digital economy, organizations need to build management strategies that include the right combination of data collection competencies, advanced analytics, automation, real time insight and scalability. New challenges of managing IT operations are making scalability one of the top selection criteria – for SMBs and large enterprise and service providers alike. Scalability as the requirement is no longer driven by the size of organizations and infrastructure managed (number of devices, nodes, etc.), but by technologies and infrastructure types that are being used and real time data processing power that they need.

3 – New technologies changing the market landscape

“37% looking to replace their IT Operations solutions to be able to support new technologies in 2018” – DEJ

With the adoption of new technologies, IT and digital transformation is creating a new set of management challenges for IT Operations and organizations are realizing that these issues cannot be addressed by using tools that were designed many years ago to deal with different types of IT environments.



Managing hybrid and dynamic environments requires a modern set of capabilities that range from dependency discovery, correlation and visualization to problem prevention, detection and resolution. This is causing a power shift in the competitive landscape, as it provides an opportunity for new innovative solutions to disrupt the market and grow their presence.



Managing hybrid and dynamic environments requires a modern set of capabilities that range from dependency discovery, correlation and visualization to problem prevention, detection and resolution. This is causing a power shift in the competitive landscape, as it provides an opportunity for new innovative solutions to disrupt the market and grow their presence.

4 – User experience as the key focal point

“58% reported that monitoring IT performance from user perspective as a strategic goal for IT transformation” – DEJ

Organizations are increasingly understanding that true success of their IT initiatives is measured by the impact on: 1) internal and external customers; 2) business results. User experience monitoring (UEM) technologies have been around for a long time, but in 2017 we have seen an uptake in interest for: 1) modern versions of these technologies where organizations are taking an outside-in approach for monitoring their IT initiatives; 2) new capabilities that are agnostic of the type of IT infrastructure or technologies that users are leveraging (devices, applications, OSs, etc.); and 3) a new set of business-centric metrics that go beyond traditional IT KPIs. With one of the key focus areas of digital transformation being customer focus and experience, digital experience monitoring technologies are well positioned to play a critical role in enabling IT departments to fuel a business growth.

5 – Building a business case is key for new market growth


“47% reported that inability to build a business case is the key obstacle for investing in IT Operations solutions” – DEJ


One of the key attributes of organizations that are having the most success in digital transformation is that they are more focused on business outcomes than metrics and KPIs. This has also translated to the area of IT Operations, as more organizations are looking for hard numbers in terms of business benefits before they commit to the purchases of these solutions. Historically, the business value of IT monitoring solutions, in general, has been around improving areas such as IT productivity or continuity of business processes that are hard to quantify. In 2018, organizations are looking to become more savvy in calculating the benefits of deploying IT Operations solutions which, in return, would allow them to justify investments in modern, advanced capabilities and improve their performance.


6 – Proactive approach is not optional


“53% increase in deploying capabilities for proactive approach as an requirement since 2014” – DEJ


For many years, we have been seeing a significant interest from organizations in having the ability to see the potential problems before users are impacted and act on it. However, we have also seen mixed results when it comes to executing on achieving this goal and investing in the right tools that can make organizations more successful in this area. Going into 2018, we are seeing a significant increase in the number of organizations that are realizing that a proactive approach is a critical part of successful IT Operations strategies. Additionally, organizations are becoming more aware of specific technology capabilities that can enable this approach, as well as the benefits that they can expect from being more proactive.


7 – Beyond monitoring

61% increase in plans for deploying non-monitoring capabilities for IT Operations in 2018” – DEJ


Going into 2018, we are seeing that some of the emerging solutions for modern IT operations management do not even include monitoring capabilities. With organizations looking to reduce the complexity and noise of traditional IT monitoring tools, they are becoming increasingly interested in solutions that are focused on areas like optimization, automation, correlation or knowledge management. This shows that creating winning IT Operations strategies is becoming more complex and requires a multi pronged approach that is taking into consideration all of the keys of IT goals.


8 – Automation, AI and Machine Learning – beyond marketing – With the increased complexity of management, velocity and volume of data, the automation of IT processes went from being a capability that organizations are considering (and many of them being skeptical about value and results) to a necessity, in a span of less than 12 months. The value of automation touches almost every single pain point that organizations are experiencing and it cuts across each of the key areas that organizations are looking to execute on.  With that the case, automation and AI became key parts of messaging  most of the vendors in this space and some of the “hottest” marketing terms in the market. With that in mind, organizations should be aware of the following: 1) not all the solutions are created equal (algorithms, people involvement, etc.) when it comes to automation; 2) automation is not a silver bullet and only becomes effective if its benefits are well understood and aligned with the key goals; 3) vendor messaging around automation is starting to cause market confusion, which makes it more difficult for organizations to make the right purchasing decisions.


9 – Connecting the dots to digital transformation – IT Operations management technologies play an important role, not only in enabling digital transformation and eliminating some of the key obstacles of becoming a digital business, but also contribute to the main business goals of digital enterprises. However, the link between the value proposition of IT Operations management and digital transformation is not easily noticeable. In 2018, IT Operations teams are looking to gain more visibility into how they contribute to the digitization of business processes and gain a better understanding of where they fit into the overall goals for digital transformation. Modernization of IT Operations is in line with this effort as some of its key areas, such as automation, advanced analytics, security and user experience focus, are well aligned with the agendas of digital transformation leaders.


10 – Service-centric, centralized approach can’t be optional


Organizations that are using a Single Pane of Glass capability for IT performance management are able to manage 36% more users per IT FTE as compared to all other organizations” – DEJ


The notion of the “single pane of glass” monitoring approach and breaking down IT silos have been reported – as both the goal and challenge – for more than 10 years by user organizations. Also, we have seen a steady year-over-year growth in business services – as opposed to individual infrastructure elements – being a focal point of IT management. However, some organizations are still struggling with embracing this concept, which is increasingly leading to a variety of management issues. Challenges of the increasing complexity and transformation of IT are making it apparent that a centralized, service-centric view into IT environments has become a “must have” capability for IT Operations.


11 – Enabling security initiatives


“36% of organizations are looking to leverage data from their IT Operations solutions for security purposes” – DEJ


With IT modern Operations becoming an automation, analytics and data management game, organizations are understanding the value of these solutions for managing security. Managing performance and security through a single platform allows organizations, not only to get the most out of their investments in IT monitoring and operations, but also to gain unique insights that their specialty security solutions are not providing. Additionally, due to the increased importance of security in digital transformation efforts, organizations are finding it easier to justify investments in IT Operations solutions if they are also secure of their IT environments as a part of the same process.


12 – Cloud management – from a “use case” to key requirement – Capabilities for cloud management are no longer critical only for organizations that are “born in the cloud” or some specific industry verticals, but they are becoming increasingly important even for industries that were more hesitant to adopt Cloud (such as financial services) in the past. Additionally, for IT Operations and DevOps managing, building and ensuring the performance of IT services in the Cloud is a completely different game from the management perspective, as it requires a new set of capabilities and a different approach. In 2018, Cloud management will continue to change from being just one of the IT Operations use cases to a key requirement for successful IT operations management.


13 – Power shift in the competitive landscape – Challenges of managing modern hybrid and dynamic environments calls for the next generation of IT Operations solutions and in 2017 we witnessed a number of emerging vendors successfully entering the market or expanding their market share. One of the key advantages that these solutions have is that they are built for dealing with present challenges that are becoming more and more important. This often gives them an edge over solutions that were designed in the past to address pain points that were experienced in different types of environments. One of the best examples of this trend is managing microservices and contain-based architectures, as organizations are starting to realize that solutions they deployed in the past are not as effective when monitoring these new dynamic environments.


14 – Containers and microservices changing the game


18x more data collected, on average, from monitoring components and dependencies in container-based vs. more traditional monolith environments” – DEJ


The emergence of containers and microservices is changing IT Operations management in a variety of ways. Not only is it that 31% of organizations are reporting that they are investing in new tools to be more effective in managing microservices, but also more vendors are using containers to deliver their management solutions. Managing performance of containers and microservices in production calls for new approaches to data collection, dependency mapping, service impact measurements, data processing and analytics capabilities at scale, application performance monitoring and a new set of KPIs. More importantly, managing these types of environments requires a mind shift when it comes to the design of the IT service delivery chain.


15 – The need for new incident management strategies – One of the areas of IT Operations that has become “on top of the mind” for IT decision makers going into 2018 is reducing noise created by events, alerts and metrics and instead use them to define relevant incidents with actionable context. Organizations are starting to  understand that managing this process by using legacy solutions is no longer humanly possible and increasingly expensive, so they are turning to innovative technologies to help them reduce risk, cost and complexity. Organizations are also realizing that effective IT incident management goes beyond technology deployments and requires a strategic approach that captures an entire lifecycle of dealing with this issue – from being more proactive and having centralized visibility to ongoing learning from previous incidents.


16 – Getting the most out of network monitoring data – Traditionally, network monitoring, as a class of technology, was centered around the health of network devices, visibility into network traffic and capabilities for troubleshooting and preventing performance issues. That lead to network monitoring capabilities becoming almost a commodity while most of the key challenges remained unsolved. In 2018, organizations are looking for network monitoring solutions to deliver on five key areas: 1) advanced analytics and automation for improving performance: 2) applying network monitoring capabilities for security purposes: 3) extracting network / wire data for business use; 4) lowering cost of deployment; 5) enable networks to support new technology deployments.


17 – IT Operations market will significantly grow in 2018 – but not as a whole

End-user plans for technology purchases per class of technology, capabilities and use case will outlined in the final document

IT Operations management is not a single technology market, but a combination of different submarkets with value propositions that often complement each other. In 2018, the demand for IT Operations management solutions is expected to grow by a fairly significant margin and that growth is predominantly being driven by specific pain points and use cases. It should be noted that this market significantly changed in 2017 and, with the broader adoption of new technologies and IT transformation, it is expected the same trend to even further accelerate in 2018. Therefore, user organizations should be aware of the ongoing innovation that is happening in this space when creating their purchasing plans for IT Operations management solutions so that they will remain competitive.

About The Author

Bojan Simic

Bojan Simic is Founder of Digital Enterprise Journal, a media and research firm focused on digital transformation and the business value of technology deployments. Bojan has been an analyst and entrepreneur in the enterprise technology industry for more than 10 years. As an industry analyst, Bojan has surveyed and interviewed tens of thousands of IT and business professionals from end-user organizations and has published more than 100 research reports. Bojan is frequently quoted in leading industry publications and he has presented his research findings at hundreds of market facing events.

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