IT Survey

Software developers are under increasing pressure to balance innovation with issue resolution and are spending more than half their time addressing application performance issues rather than focusing on software development.

A global Cisco survey of 500 software developers found 85% of respondents have experienced heightened pressure to accelerate release velocity, with more than three-quarters (77%) admitting they feel strained to deliver seamless and secure digital experiences.

Despite these demands, developers are often diverted into “war rooms” to assist Site Reliability Engineers (SREs) and IT operations (ITOps) teams.

This is leading to frustrations and demotivation, with 82% feeling frustrated and 54% considering leaving their current jobs.

Shannon McFarland, vice president of Cisco DevNet, said what stood out for her is that developers are allocating more than half of their work hours to reactive tasks such as troubleshooting and attending extensive war room sessions.

“This is a diversion away from why most developers pursue their career as they want to develop and innovate new software solutions,” she said.

She explained solving technical challenges is a part of that, but added most of the reactive needs they’re working on could be more easily resolved (or even prevented) if IT teams invested in tools that give them better visibility into performance issues.

“Instead, developers have been putting out fires when an application goes down or has a service disruption,” McFarland said.

Developers Lack Critical App Performance Insights

Concerns were also raised over the lack of critical insights into application performance, with 75% fearing increased downtime and disruption due to insufficient visibility into IT performance.

Developers are increasingly advocating for full-stack observability – monitoring and analysis of software apps and infrastructure across all layers of the technology stack – recognizing its potential to provide unified visibility into applications and supporting infrastructure.

A significant majority (91%) believe they should play a larger role in shaping solutions, with 78% endorsing the implementation of full-stack observability to streamline issue identification and resolution processes.

Developers also expressed interest in leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to automate application issue detection and resolution.

McFarland said issues and anomaly detection can be time-intensive, especially if done manually. 

“With AI, IT teams can efficiently analyze large amounts of data to identify and rectify critical issues in real-time, which then frees developers from the tedious task of manual troubleshooting,” she said.

These efficiencies not only accelerate mean time to resolution (MTTR) but can also enhance a developer’s ability to focus on strategic, higher-valued projects.

For these reasons, 39% of developers feel their organization would benefit from deploying AI to automate application issue detection and resolution.

Collaboration with IT Teams Critical 

Collaboration between developers and IT teams was also seen as crucial, with 57% advocating for greater ongoing collaboration to embed application availability, performance and security considerations into the development lifecycle.

McFarland noted today’s IT infrastructure is only getting more complex, with disparate systems, hybrid environments and globally distributed workloads.

“Modern observability tools extend beyond just application monitoring, delivering one, unified platform that combines telemetry across domains,” she explained.

With the combination of AIOps, these tools can significantly decrease complex, offering more detailed, easier-to-digest incident summaries and simplified real-time monitoring.

“It brings better collaboration between teams and help discover and remediate the root cause of any issue more quickly,” she said. “It’s this type of unification and proactivity that can help the team across the entire stack work together more efficiently.”

Investing in Tools to Empower Insights 

From her perspective, organizations need better tools to give IT teams actionable insights, and said once an application is live, it’s critical that users get a seamless experience.

When an issue occurs—whether there’s a disruption in service or a user is experiencing lagging—being able to quickly identify, act and resolve the issue becomes a business imperative.

“An organization should be investing in tools that can empower teams to do just that,” McFarland said. 

She said the reality is that not all issues fall on the developer—it could be attributed to several factors given the complexity of the tech stack—so the sooner what’s going on can be identified, the faster the right team can address it.  

“Quickly identify where the issue is and what’s causing it, collaborate on a resolution and ensure it doesn’t continue to happen,” she said. 

McFarland admitted the market demands seamless and secure experiences, which is challenging developers to accelerate not only the pace of innovation, but also the performance of those applications.

“Balancing these demands requires more intelligent tools to automate manual processes and enhanced collaboration across IT departments to ensure both rapid delivery and rigorous security are maintained,” she said. 

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