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This Holiday Season, Navigate Digital Disruption to Turn Uptime into Downtime for IT

Digital disruption can cast a shadow on holiday cheer. Being equipped to rapidly detect and resolve issues will lead to well-deserved downtime for IT teams.

From streaming music to connecting with loved ones or even booking travel, applications have become critical to our everyday lives, let alone the holiday season. In a survey of 12,000 global consumers, we found a growing concern among consumers — disruptions to their digital experiences during holiday celebrations.

The stresses of the holidays make people painfully aware of subpar digital experiences. So much so, that if these services don't perform as they should, it could have a truly negative effect on people's holiday mood. In our research, as many as 60% expect to be using more applications and digital services this holiday season than in previous years, which means now more than ever, they play a vital role in everything we do during this festive period.

Digital Disruption — The New Holiday Nightmare

Almost two-thirds (63%) of global consumers now believe  applications and digital services are important to have an enjoyable holiday. On the flip side, if those applications don't perform properly, they quickly go from a poor digital experience to potentially ruining holidays. Whether it's a messaging app for connecting with distant friends and family or an application for an enterprise airline managing thousands of flights, application uptime and a lag-free experience is critical during the holidays.

Related: Tech Gift Guide: 8 Budget-Friendly Options

These are the very real concerns people are having as we approach what should be the most wonderful time of the year. In fact, nearly half of all consumers (45%) are concerned that if a digital service doesn't perform, it could ruin their festive celebrations. Fifty-five percent are worried about a banking application not working so they can't make an important payment or transfer, while 41% of people are anxious about the possibility of a retail application going down so they can't buy a last-minute gift or ingredient for their holiday cooking.

IT Must Be Ready to Spread Cheer This Season

Half of consumers have a zero tolerance stand toward brands, claiming they won't forgive an application that lets them down over this festive period. This means the stakes couldn't be higher for application owners and IT teams over the holiday season. On one hand, there is a huge opportunity to enhance the experience during heightened demand for applications and digital services. Those who can deliver innovative, intuitive, secure, and seamless digital experiences will be perfectly positioned to attract new customers and drive sales.

On the other hand, brands whose applications experience downtime, latency, or a major outage this time of year should be prepared to potentially lose customers, revenue, and reputation. IT and DevOps professionals should prioritize performance testing, conduct thorough performance tests in production, evaluate redundancy and failover systems, and prepare for increased demand through scalable infrastructure systems.

Related: Applied Observability: Converting System Performance to Business Performance

Implementing robust monitoring and observability solutions is crucial for real-time insights into application performance, user experience, and security, especially during the holidays. Not only is consumer demand higher this time of year, but companies are often more vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Turning Uptime into Holiday Downtime for IT

Organizations in all sectors need to ensure development and IT teams have the right tools and insights to manage application availability, performance, and security during major spikes in demand. This means implementing application observability to provide full and unified visibility across their application landscapes in both cloud-native and on-premises environments.

IT should be well-equipped to rapidly detect, understand, and resolve issues. And by correlating application availability, performance, and security data with key business metrics, they can prioritize those issues that pose the biggest risk to digital experience. Greater efficiency and uptime also means giving IT teams some well-deserved downtime this holiday season.

Gregg Ostrowski is CTO Advisor at Cisco Observability.

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