Time-critical, unplanned work caused by IT disruptions continues to plague enterprises around the world, leading to lost revenue, significant employee morale problems and missed opportunities to innovate.

unplanned work

In fact, more than 81% of respondents agreed that urgent, unplanned work keeps their company from focusing on key objectives. These are just some of the key findings from a study of more than 500 IT professionals released by PagerDuty.

Orgs frequently experiencing technology issues

The global study also found that almost half of participants said their organizations experience major technology issues at least once a month. In addition, 40% of North American respondents said their issue resolution process is entirely manual, and customers worldwide are discovering major issues before tech teams become aware.

“Today, every company is a software company with customer experience determining your success. Delays, outages or any form of downtime are unacceptable and redirect teams away from innovation projects. The downside of this is lost productivity, revenue and brand equity,” said Jonathan Rende, SVP of Product at PagerDuty.

“Compounding the situation is the fact that ensuring a perfect customer experience is very difficult. Complicated ecosystems, lack of time and resources and changing consumer behaviors create huge complexity for developer and IT teams. It’s very difficult to plan for every possible situation that could arise which means many companies are on the back foot when something needs urgent attention.”

“So, what if your organization is trying to adjust to a remote workforce almost overnight? Where do you even start? First, you should make sure you have an infrastructure in place for communication and collaboration. Without that, everything else fails. Also consider that with people not in the office anymore, you are going to have two types of communication needs: synchronous (real-time) and asynchronous (not real-time),” said Cody Cornell, CEO at Swimlane.

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Unplanned work leaving little time for innovation

One of the most striking findings in the report shows that 62% of IT professionals in North America spend more than 100 hours each year on disruptive, unplanned work.

“Based on the average IT team size of six to eight people for a mid-market company, you’re looking at nearly two days a week spent on firefighting and dealing with time-critical unplanned work. This leaves little time for innovation or working on the projects that matter, consistently.”

Unplanned work also surfaced as a major factor in employee unhappiness, particularly in North America. While nearly one in every five employees worldwide said they would leave their positions as a result, nearly three-quarters (72%) of North American respondents said unplanned work impacts their work-life balance, compared to 55% in APJ and 49% in EMEA.

“Unplanned, time-critical work is unavoidable. How you prepare for it makes a huge difference. You need to take an automated approach so that when unplanned work arises you can bring together the right people with the right information in real-time.

“This is what allows identifying and resolving issues in minutes and seconds, not hours. It also means your teams are freed up to focus on innovation and fueling your company’s competitive edge,” adds Rende.

“Once you’ve figured out how to keep your team feeling connected and your company moving forward, what now? How do you keep things interesting and engaging? While this might be a moment of uncertainty and stress, it can also be an opportunity to learn, become savvier, and focus on personal and professional development. To help with this, Swimlane has launched the SOAR Learning Hub. We’ve aggregated content for security professionals at every level to learn more about and become knowledgeable of security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) tools, security automation workflows, common and unique use cases and more. And we’ll continue adding content in effort to help SecOps professionals gain new skills while navigating through this moment in history,” Cornell concluded.

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