It’s widely known the pandemic increased the pace of digital transformation. Yet IT teams continue to face challenges and rising complexity, which threaten to curtail the digital agility they need to adapt to rapidly changing customer expectations and market forces.

As shown in Cisco Connected IT Insights, our interactive experience built using the huge volumes of anonymized data generated by our customer base, there’s been a sharp increase in the number of anomalies detected per application during the pandemic. There has also been a tendency for organizations to oversize their cloud provisioning in response to the seismic shift to remote working and digital transactions.

With applications being used more often and at greater scale, IT teams now face exceptional pressure to deliver:

  • Consistently excellent digital experiences and application performance
  • Faster application development and deployment
  • More efficient use of resources

To help shoulder the massive increase in operational burden, IT operations must be more flexible, resilient, and intelligent. Automation will be a critical factor in achieving these goals and dealing with the unprecedented business changes underway.

We wanted to understand more of how automation enables operational maturity and – ultimately – the business itself.  That’s why we partnered with Forrester Consulting to conduct primary market research with a global footprint that includes organizations of varying sizes across industries.

Operational maturity: the bottom line

Our Forrester study, Operational Agility is the New Imperative, found that most organizations are focusing operations work on improving data quality, resilience, remote worker inclusion, and technology dependability. However, it revealed two major learnings:

  • Market leaders are investing heavily in data quality and IT/OT convergence, whereas beginners are investing in generic cost-saving initiatives
  • Automation maturity determines business results, both for the top and bottom line

Cornerstone to this comprehensive research is the definition of a new operational maturity model based on strategy, technology, process, and governance.

The data speaks clearly to the differences between “beginners” and “leaders”. The latter have automated more of their business and IT processes, moving beyond just customer-facing processes to deploy more advanced automation tools such as cloud management and workload automation.

Automation leaders also value high-quality data and are not afraid of investing in the right solutions, even during times of economic uncertainty, whereas less mature organizations (the beginners) tend to be more risk averse.

Crucially, the Forrester study confirms that automation leaders are the market leaders – growing fast and outpacing their competitors.

Start your journey to operational agility

Automating processes leads to clear business benefits. So, if you’re looking to modernize your technology operations and embrace increasingly complex architectures and multicloud strategies, the Forrester study provides the essential insights you need to get started and stay ahead of the pack.

We’ll be publishing the findings in four installments, each focusing on a specific topic:

  • Modernize IT operations to digitally transform and weather any storm​
  • Operational maturity is critical to business success
  • Automation is not without challenges, but they can be overcome​
  • Automation + operational maturity = major business benefits

Follow our automation strategy series, based on commissioned studies

conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Cisco.


Fabio Gori

Vice President

Cross-Architecture Marketing