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PagerDuty State of Digital Operations report cover PagerDuty

Companies Racing to Implement Automation in IT Operations in 2024

Enterprise IT incidents are on the rise as digital transformation, automation, and AI efforts ramp up, PagerDuty's State of Digital Operations 2024 report finds.

A new report from PagerDuty reveals how enterprises are prioritizing AI, automation, cloud infrastructure, and security in 2024. The "State of Digital Operations 2024" report surveyed more than 300 business and IT leaders on their priorities and budgets for the year. It found that operational complexity continues to rise, especially for large enterprises.

The research reveals critical pressure points as companies strive to balance innovation with stability. According to the report, customer-facing incidents rose 13% year-over-year amid a surge in enterprise adoption of artificial intelligence (AI), automation, and other digital transformation efforts.

Related: Omdia Report Details Top Tech Trends That Will Shape 2024

Key findings in the report include:

  • 57% of organizations are planning an increase in 2024 IT spending versus 2023.
  • Operational complexity increased 16% for large enterprises.
  • 71% are expanding investments in AI/machine learning this year.
  • 76% are pursuing automation of IT and business workflows.

"The biggest surprise from the report was the level of disconnect between business leaders and technical leaders," Jesse Purewal, vice president of brand at PagerDuty, told ITPro Today. "From helping to deliver reliable customer experiences to making employees more productive, business leaders were decidedly less optimistic about the progress their organizations had made on operational transformation than their IT peers."

PagerDutybusiness versus IT decision-makers chart

Why Customer-Facing Incidents Are a Growing Issue for IT Operations

The report found that customer-facing incidents rose year-over-year, which is a concerning trend for IT operations.

Purewal pulled quote

Factors contributing to the increase in customer-facing incidents include the complexity of modern IT environments, technical debt, and the deluge of data coming in from disparate systems, Purewal said. Add to that the human element: IT teams are constantly bombarded with alerts, to the point where they can't separate genuine incidents from alert noise.

"To get ahead of incidents, organizations need to move from a reactive to a proactive approach using AI and automation," he said.

Purewal emphasized that companies have to scale their teams with automation and AI. This helps reduce alert fatigue, detect issues before customers notice, streamline operational workflows with intelligent solutions, and ensure that people and teams are focused on strategic, high-value work.

Organizations Accelerate AI and Automation Adoption as Complexity Rises

The report also found that operational complexity continues to rise, especially for large enterprises. Analysis of PagerDuty's own incident data showed a 16% increase in volume for enterprise customers last year.

In response, companies are racing to implement AI, machine learning (ML), and automation on a wide scale in 2024. Seventy-one percent of respondents said their company will expand investments in AI/ML, while 76% are pursuing workflow automation. The report concludes that after years of testing, this will be the breakthrough year for AI and automation to become core components of business infrastructure.

The technology industry leads in adopting these new technologies, with more than 90% pursuing AI/ML and automation. By contrast, industries like financial services and media lag behind. Challenges such as data privacy, security, and legacy systems slow the pace of change. But make no mistake — across sectors, these technologies have become table stakes for digital operations.

IT Budgets Trending Upward Led by Security and Cloud

The good news in the PagerDuty report is that budgets are trending up, with 57% planning an increase in 2024 IT spending versus 2023. 

When it comes to where the money is going, security and cloud infrastructure lead the pack. Seventy-five percent of respondents are boosting spend on cloud storage and services; 73% plan to expand security infrastructure investment. Why? As operations rely more on cloud platforms, security risks grow in distributed work environments.

Related: IT Industry Anti-Predictions: Tech Trends We Won't See in 2024

These areas remain foundations of digital business that require constant upgrading as technology evolves. So while new AI/automation initiatives take center stage, long-term priorities such as security and cloud anchor budget planning.

How Companies Are Balancing Innovation with Stability

As organizations race to embrace more automation and AI, those technologies can impact overall IT operations stability in some cases.

"While the adoption of AI and automation offers significant efficiencies, companies must implement the technologies strategically, aligning them with core business goals," Purewal said. "Risks can be mitigated through phased deployments, reskilling employees, and strong change management programs."

About the author

 Sean Michael Kerner headshotSean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.
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