AppDynamics delivers Agents of Transformation Report, revealing the elite technologists advancing the digital economy

AppDynamics, a Cisco company, has released The Agents of Transformation Report, a global research study that reveals the urgent need for Agents of Transformation, a new breed of technologist, primed to drive innovation and enable companies to thrive in the face of rapid technological advancement. 

The research also identifies why now is the time for companies to identify and nurture Agents of Transformation, and explores the huge opportunities for technologists wanting to accelerate their careers, and the challenges they may face along the way.

Technological advancements are transforming the world in ways we’re only beginning to imagine. The businesses who will thrive are ones investing in building engaging digital experiences to deliver on growing consumer-demands. But this brings to light the dichotomy of modern technology - while the customer experience has never been more simple and elegant, it has never been more complex and difficult for businesses and IT teams to deliver.  Organisations almost never understand the connection between the changes they make and the impact these changes have on customer experience and business performance until it is too late.

The Agents of Transformation Report found that only 22 percent  (17 percent UK) of global technologists are very optimistic that their organisation is ready for the rapid pace of technological change. To keep up with these increasing demands, businesses will require IT leaders who can build agile technology platforms to meet the ever-changing needs of the business.  According to the research conducted by Insight Avenue, these leaders will be a new breed of technologist - the Agents of Transformation - with the personal skills and attributes needed to drive innovation, improve user engagement and accelerate business outcomes. The report identifies that today only nine percent (six percent UK) of global technologists are Agents of Transformation. 

The time to act is now 

However, to remain competitive over the next ten years, organisations need at least 45 percent (44 percent UK) of their technologists operating as Agents of Transformation. 

Enterprises must quickly identify and nurture technologists with the technical, business and communication skills to drive organisational and cultural change. These individuals must also have the hunger, passion and vision to deliver that change positively and sustainably. Without Agents of Transformation, these businesses will face:

  • An inability to drive or complete innovation initiatives (35 percent global; 37 percent UK).
  • Competitive or financial repercussions (33 percent global; 37 percent UK).
  • A detrimental impact on customer experience (30 percent global; 32 percent UK).
  • Difficulties recruiting new talent (35 percent global; 35 percent UK).
  • A lack of positive role models for existing talent to emulate (31 percent] global; 34 percent UK).

“At AppDynamics, we’re proud to be working with many of the world’s most innovative companies, and supporting the most skilled, visionary, and ambitious technologists. We are committed to helping our customers become Agents of Transformation - the heroes of their companies’ digital transformation strategies - by providing them with the tools they need to make informed decisions that drive culture change, business performance and better end-user experiences”, said David Wadhwani, CEO, AppDynamics.

The Agents of Transformation

The goal of the research was to identify the characteristics and environments that technologists need in order to drive effective and sustainable culture change for their organisations. What emerged were five distinct typologies of technologists (The Five Types of Technologist eBook). Among them are Agents of Transformation, a group of elite technologists that are already primed and equipped to harness change and be the digital business leaders that companies truly need.  

Agents of Transformation possess the personal skills and attributes needed to drive innovation, and they operate within organisations that have the right culture, leadership and tools in place to enable successful digital and business transformation. They find themselves at the forefront of transformation initiatives, but they never stand still. They recognise the need for constant personal development and learning in order to remain relevant and fulfil their ambitions.

It is time for Agents of Transformation to take centre stage.

Huge opportunity for technologists

While today only nine percent (six percent UK) of technologists are Agents of Transformation, the research points to a huge opportunity for other technologists who aspire to make the journey to become Agents of Transformation and accelerate their careers.  

It reveals that 71 percent (69 percent UK) of technologists care deeply about how technology is changing the world; 76 percent (74 percent UK) believe that emerging technologies will give them opportunities to develop their skills and their careers; and 69 percent (68 percent UK) want their career to leave a lasting and positive legacy. 

Technologists view digital transformation and innovation as a huge opportunity for them personally, with 96 percent (95 percent UK) identifying at least one factor that excites them about becoming an Agent of Transformation. These include the chance to work on exciting projects, increased fulfilment and job satisfaction, the opportunity to learn and develop new skills, the possibility to inspire and teach others, and to leave a lasting legacy. 

Barriers to overcome

However, for those looking to become Agents of Transformation, there are challenges to overcome:

Cultural barriers 

  • 86 percent (87 percent UK) of IT professionals think their organisation lags behind the most forward/innovative IT team in their country in terms of skills, qualities and knowledge, and 45 percent (50 percent) see themselves lagging more than five years behind.
  • 55 percent (58 percent UK) of respondents say their organisation does not encourage technology professionals to embrace the creative, future-looking side of technology.
  • 54 percent (53 percent UK) of technologists’ day-to-day activity is having a positive impact on the business or driving innovation.

Leadership and job satisfaction

  • Only 26 percent (19 percent UK) of IT directors and managers feel their full potential is being achieved in their current role.
  • 60 percent (62 percent UK) of technologists say too much of their time is spent keeping existing software and systems up and running.
  • 58 percent (64 percent UK) say that often their work in IT is so reactive, they forget what attracted them to technology in the first place.

Outdated tools and skills

  • 56 percent (62 percent UK) of technologists say there is a surplus of outdated technology within their IT department.
  • 85 percent (50 percent UK) do not have access to the software and tools they need to turn data into real-time, context-specific insight.
  • 49 percent (52 percent UK) do not have access to the data they need to achieve innovation goals.

Quotes from Agents of Transformation:

  • Nicolas Matelot, DevOps Manager, La Poste: “Technology is advancing at an incredible rate, and it often sees technologists being pushed outside of their comfort sone in order to keep pace. Taking risks and being willing to try new things is key to transforming the companies we work for, and the industries we work in. Agents of Transformation require the will, the confidence and the motivation to make bold decisions and change the future of our companies, the success of those decisions will be our legacy.”

  • Michael Makar, Senior IT Manager, World Bank: “I get up every day wanting to make a positive difference. Otherwise I wouldn't get up and go to work. There has to be a greater goal in mind. There has to be a reason that we're tackling the problems that we are, so that we can make positive change and we can help people along the way. That’s really my main goal: helping people in the long term. For me, legacy is very, very important.”

  • André Sayfi, IT Senior Project Manager, WWK: “As a customer-focused business, we’re always taking an outside-in approach and thinking about how we can better serve our customers. AppDynamics has been instrumental in helping us to monitor their digital experience via the performance of our applications, as well as identifying errors before they impact the customer. I haven’t seen a better solution out there.”

Research Methodology

To better understand the current environment in which technologists are operating, AppDynamics undertook comprehensive research to uncover the aspirations, challenges, and priorities for technologists today, from board-level directors and CIOs to senior and mid-level IT management.

This comprised:

  • Interviews with 1,000 IT professionals in organisations with revenues of at least $500m
  • Interviews conducted across five markets: US, UK, France, Germany, and Australia, and throughout a range of industries, including IT, financial services, retail, public sector, manufacturing and automotive, and media and communications

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