During its recent Partner Summit, Cisco announced seven new modules on its observability platform expanding on its full-stack observability ecosystem. These include updates in AI and automated workflows. 

Writing on the event in an industry update for GlobalData, analysts Charlotte Dunlap and Steven Schuchart note that Cisco jumped onto observability well before its competitors, giving the company a first-mover advantage in its partnerships. 

However, they both write that observability is a term still on the rise. 

“In the past, every technology domain in the enterprise had its own monitoring, or a third-party product used to cover just that technology,” Dunlap and Schuchart write, “Observability is the idea that data can be gathered and analysed from each technology domain.” 

Unlike previous ways of monitoring, Dunlap and Schuchart point out that observability provides beginning to end context for teams, removing barriers between workers and providing a fuller picture of the root cause of an IT issue.

Observability relies not just on one data set, but rather the inputs and outputs of a whole system, thereby making it easier to see how cross-domain events have affected each other. 

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“Developers can watch microservices and even monitor code itself in production,” they write, “Outages and slowdowns can be much more quickly pinpointed and resolved. Predictive actions can be taken, based on past behaviour of the entire environment.” 

In a post-pandemic era where working from home has continued to boom, observability offers both new challenges and opportunities. After 2020 lockdowns, it has become common for workers and entire teams to be permanently based within their homes where home networks are far more unstable than corporate ones. 

Verdict spoke with Entec Si, a business change consultancy, to see how their team operates being based entirely at home. 

Whilst the team experienced less face-to-face socialisation, Entec Si remains optimistic that its team is still able to operate efficiently and socially. 

“Our approach to client work means there is no significant team crossover and collaboration,” a spokesperson for Entec Si explained, “To encourage interactivity, we invest in a rewards and recognition app (Perkbox) which provides free wellbeing resources and opportunities that recognise team members for good work.” 

This investment earned Entec Si a regional win in the British Chamber of Commerce Workforce Development Award in 2023. 

However, although working from home may not negatively affect employee productivity or teambuilding, visibility into home offices and networks remains a challenge. Observability may help make working from home more secure and safe. 

However, Dunlap and Schuchart reiterate, in their update, that there are currently no real standards for observability and that there will soon be an intersection of observability and AI.

Their advice to businesses wishing to choose an observability vendor? Ask hard questions before commitment.

“Buyers should be able to see the advantages of observability, the efficiency, and view of the IT practice across the board. If an infrastructure vendor says it can monitor code software as well as a developer vendor, or if the developer vendor says it can do network observability better than infrastructure vendors, don’t believe it,” according to the update.