Key Insights

A New Era of Data-Driven IT Operations

A Cisco research study of more than 1,500 senior IT leaders reveals how IT is driving business value by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence and automation. The research validates a four-step maturity model in which IT leaders are optimizing operations through data-driven insights. A new Readiness Assessment Index enables IT leaders to use the model to benchmark themselves against their peers and chart a course for operational transformation. Read on to learn more about Cisco's research findings and complete the IT Operations Readiness assessment.

Scroll to read the highlights, or read the full report.

Insight 01

How AI and Automation Help Optimize IT Operations

Through analytics and automation, CIOs can evolve from blindly reacting to events, to continuously monitoring and optimizing their infrastructures based on predictions of future needs — ultimately delivering strategic outcomes for their business partners.

The heart of the IT Operations Readiness Index is a four-step model for IT operations maturity, focused on how organizations manage events they encounter. As organizations advance along this continuum, they use data to look further into the future and continuously optimize their operations.

IT leaders can use the model to benchmark themselves against their peers and chart a course for change.


Insight 02

Why Transforming IT Operations Is a Key Priority

A multitude of initiatives are competing for attention and budget. But IT leaders recognize that transforming operations is a priority.

28% of IT budgets are spent on optimizing and remediating IT operations today.
68% of respondents expected to increase that budget in the next 12 months.

What is the increase going toward? Respondents have big plans to gather operations data from more areas of their infrastructure, to perform more analytics, and to extend automation into more processes and infrastructure areas.


Insight 03

40% of IT Leaders Already Use Operational Data to Make Business Decisions

When the business makes direct use of operations data, a range of positive outcomes result.

Opportunities for applying operations data to influence business decisions are endless. They can include anything from optimizing retail store layout by analyzing Wi-Fi traffic, to improving team productivity by analyzing the adoption and utilization of collaboration tools. All result in better decisions that deliver value to the business.







Insight 04

How IT Operations Investments Drive External Customer Satisfaction

88% said their investment in IT operations in the past 12 months had improved external customer satisfaction.

42% saw “significant” improvement in external satisfaction
89% noted improvements in innovation
46% cited “significant” improvement in innovation


Any CIO would be proud of such outcomes.


Insight 05

Preemptive Analytics Are Critical to Future Competition

Nearly half of organizations either have preemptive capabilities or are working to get them.

  • Only 14% of respondents have reached the highest level of IT operations capabilities, which we call “preemptive”.
  • 26% are still at the lowest level, reacting to IT events as they occur (“reactive” operations).
  • Yet 33% expect to have reached preemptive operations within two years.

“Organizations can’t stay reactive.
Very quickly, these businesses will fall behind and many will go out of business.”

Zeus Kerravala, ZK Research


Insight 06

Advanced Organizations Collect More Data for Continuous Automation

The most advanced organizations, those with “preemptive” operational capabilities, are twice as likely to perform continuous automation than the least advanced organizations.

50% are more likely to perform organization-wide automated data collection.

They collected and analyzed data from more areas of their infrastructure. With the speed, complexity, and sheer size of the data sets being gathered from IT infrastructure, static business rules and manual data processing become unworkable. As a result, most organizations see AI as the answer.


Insight 07

Digital Leadership, Talent, and AI Will Shape the Future of IT Operations

42% said that AI was the emerging technology that will have the biggest disruption to their effective automation operations in the future.

In regard to leadership, 70% of respondents said they have a Chief Data Officer (CDO) implemented in their organization. Research shows that CDOs play a valuable role mediating between the business and IT to ensure that the organization obtains full value from operational data. A CDO can also partner with the CIO to help bring new roles and disciplines to IT teams, thus creating new talent opportunities for the business. As new technologies, such as AI, continue to disrupt familiar ways of working, these evolving roles will be critical to the future of IT operations.


Insight 08

Internet of Things (IoT) Technologies Are the Bridge to the Business

Many IoT devices, such as connected cars or smart meters, are considered business assets, and the operational data they produce is vital to the business.

Preemptive organizations see this.

79% of preemptive organizations said that Internet of Things (IoT) technologies are critical to running their IT infrastructure more efficiently.


74% of “preemptive” organizations gather data from IoT today
vs. 59% of “reactive” organizations.


Insight 09

Security Proves the Value of Preemptive Operations

82% of respondents already collect operational and performance data about their security infrastructure, the highest of any area of IT.

Security is the clearest use case for getting real-time insight and control, and CIOs can use it to prove the value of investing in data-driven operations.


Insight 10

IT Operations Are a Potential Competitive Differentiator

With the right data, key insights mined from them, and the ability to automate operational tasks across your infrastructure, you can deliver a strategically superior service to your business.

The IT Operations Readiness Index outlines four stages of maturity that organizations pass through. We’ve created a five-minute online self-assessment tool that you can complete to map yourself against the model, and benchmark your maturity score against your peer groups.


Operations Readiness Assessment Tool




Take the assessment or learn more.



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