IT needs greater visibility over how outages impact consumers so they can prioritise their response when problems inevitably arise.

That’s the view of Jennifer Tejada, CEO of PagerDuty, an IT incidents management company which launched in Australia this week.

“You never have one [IT] problem at a time, they usually come in 10s, 20s, 30s yet we often delegate the decision on which problem to solve for first to an engineer who may or may not have visibility into the impact this could have on the business,” Tejada said during a launch event in Sydney yesterday.

“As a CEO the first question I ask is, how many customers are impacted? How many customers know they are impacted? How many tickets do we have? How many people are tweeting at us?”

“People really like to communicate with us via Twitter. Sometimes when people are angry and they are on call they’ll post their ‘on call selfie’ and tweet me directly to make sure I get to wake up with them at 4 o’clock in the morning.”

Awareness of how outages directly impact users is part of IT’s broader shift from “keeping the lights on” to responsibility for digital experiences that directly generate revenue for businesses.

“In a lot of ways the role of the developer in a business is changing dramatically. If you think back to 15 years ago, a lot of the software engineer community was focused on keeping the lights on, managing the infrastructure, managing what we thought of as the backend, the underpinning of technology. But now most companies are software companies,” Tejada said.

“I think the business community is starting to make a turn towards understanding that their developers, their engineering community are the architects, the designers, the managers and the owners of the end customer experience. It’s time we stopped treating them like they are shoveling coal into the furnace in the infrastructure basement of a business.”

According to a PagerDuty survey of 200 Australian IT personnel nearly all (90 per cent) said IT operations is most responsible for ensuring seamless delivery of their organisation’s digital offerings, ultimately holding the key to consumers’ brand loyalty and business revenue.

But rising customer expectations and increasingly complicated tech stacks aren’t making their jobs are getting any easier.

The rise in digital service offerings has created operations challenges for IT organisations such as increased difficulty in capacity planning (eg increase in volume of data), increased complexity resulting in more cognitive load and an increase in number of tools.

According to PagerDuty’s State of Digital Operations survey nearly one third of respondents reported that one hour of IT downtime costs their companies between $500,000 to more than $10 million AUD in lost revenue.

Despite IT incidents becoming increasingly tied to business success and the bottom line, only 21.4 per cent of organisations prioritise informing business stakeholders after a disruption occurs. And less than half of organisations (44.3 per cent) contact affected customers or users.

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