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PagerDuty “State of Digital Operations” Report Underscores Business and Human Costs of Pandemic

  • Report finds critical incidents rose 19%, tech teams worked an average of two additional hours a day, and a high correlation between employee turnover and after-hours interruptions

PagerDuty, a global leader in digital operations management, released findings from its inaugural “State of Digital Operations” report, presenting an aggregated view of data from its customer base of over 16,000 companies and 700,000 users. The report sheds light onto the volume of real-time work during the pandemic, the increasing burden on technical teams, and direct correlation between this new load and employee turnover.

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“Today, digital operations are a core business strategy. That means more complex systems, more rapid rates of change, and more pressure on the teams tasked with keeping those operations running smoothly”

“Today, digital operations are a core business strategy. That means more complex systems, more rapid rates of change, and more pressure on the teams tasked with keeping those operations running smoothly,” said Sean Scott, Chief Product Officer at PagerDuty. “Digital operations maturity is the difference between preventing an incident before it begins, and losing customers because it takes too long to remediate an issue. With this report, PagerDuty is sharing our unique insights on how the right practices can help organizations unburden their teams and bring order and intelligence to operations management.”

As companies accelerate their digital efforts, they are embracing modern tech stacks and they must take into account the resulting volume of real-time work and the increasing burden placed on technical teams. The data shows users who were frequently involved in fixing problems off hours were also more likely to quit.

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Key takeaways from the PagerDuty 2021 State of Digital Operations report include:

  • Human Factors
    • Over a third of PagerDuty users worked less consistent hours in 2020, the equivalent of two extra hours per day, totalling an extra 12 weeks of work
    • Users experienced 9% more off-hour interruptions (6PM-10PM) and a 7% lift in holiday/weekend interruptions
    • “Burned Out” responders (top 10% of users who are interrupted) have 19 non-working hour interruptions a month – 10x more than that of the median responder
    • Each incident requires an average of 1.2 responders and takes 126 minutes to resolve
  • Business & Industry Impact
    • A 19% year-over-year growth in critical incidents from 2019 to 2020; companies with less than $10 million in revenue saw the highest increase in critical incidents (16%)
    • The Travel & Hospitality and Telecom industries had the greatest YoY lift in critical incident volume (20%), while the Media & Entertainment category was flat
    • Companies experienced an average of 105 critical incidents per month
  • Operational Health
    • Looking at companies over a five-year span, incident acknowledgment time has steadily decreased, despite the increase in incident volume; large companies succeed in reducing incident acknowledgement time from six minutes to under four minutes
    • ChatOps (e.g., Slack and Microsoft Teams) adoption increased 22%, filling the void of in-person interactions that resulted from remote work environments

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PagerDuty will publish the “State of Digital Operations” report annually, with regular updates to the aggregate topline metrics shared on the microsite. The report includes data on noise reduction, incident response, time to resolution, and the impact this has on overall business performance, operational health, and all employees as the world revolves around digital services.

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