Perspectives From a Product Intern: What NOT to Expect in 2018

by Kaivalya Gandhi December 22, 2017 | 5 min read

As we close out an exciting year here at PagerDuty, I wanted to share some perspectives I’ve gained during my internship with the Product team on what’s ahead (many thanks to Eric Sigler, PagerDuty’s Head of DevOps, for providing the inspiration for this post). Unlike most of the other  trend reports out there that tend to make optimistic predictions of the future, I’m going to cut to the chase and outline what NOT to expect in 2018.

kai and cliffe

My manager Dave Cliffe engaging with the local product community in Toronto, while I do some field research for this post.

Digital Operations Won’t Succeed All the Time

Managing digital operations has become increasingly crucial to sustaining a successful business in our era of technology. As products get more advanced, so do their maintenance needs. While we’d love for technology to never fail, perfect operations is still a vision of the future. As more organizations prioritize operational excellence, we hope to see digital operations succeed more often. In the process of transformation, mishaps are bound to happen.

While digital operations won’t succeed all the time, here’s what we can expect to persist:

Security and Reliability Issues Will Continue to Occur

Over the last few years, the technology world has been affected by major breaches having widespread impact and downstream consequences.

Organizations across every vertical need to be prepared to react quickly to black swan events, which affect the entire industry. In the eyes of David Shackelford (one of our Group Product Managers), empowered and agile teams will outperform command-and-control organizational structures in such situations.

DevOps Will Increasingly Become “the Way Things Are Done”

Agile will no longer be the sole norm. DevOps will become indispensable to operations for small- and medium-sized organizations. In the words of our Director of Engineering, Arup Chakrabarti, DevOps will be “just the way it is” for these companies. Enterprises on an evolutionary path will adopt the practice in microcosms across various teams in their organization, but more work will need to be done to make it mainstream.

David Hayes, one of our Product Directors, proclaims 2018 to be the year where everyone declares victory in integrating artificial intelligence and machine learning with DevOps and Agile workflows. As the culture and practice of DevOps is increasingly adopted by the community, it will be crucial to drive alignment and knowledge sharing across the industry. This will require empowerment as practitioners take on responsibility to define and achieve operational success while balancing innovation and driving business outcomes.

Customer Expectations Remain High

As customers across industries increasingly adopt software to help them achieve more, the competition continues to grow. Slow release cycles and mediocre experiences have proven to be a definitive formula for companies to relegate themselves into irrelevance. The stakes are higher than ever before, with both customers and consumers expecting to get more while having to do less.

Keeping up with constantly changing customer expectations will continue to be a pressing challenge at every organization. On that note, it will be crucial to be mindful of how customer interactions will be influenced.

Micro-moments Will Drive Brand Perception

Jennifer Tejada, our CEO, continuously advocates for ways organizations can win more positive mindshare with their customers and consumers. As organizations strive for operational excellence, they are propelled to position themselves to capture affirmative micro-moments with their audience through each interaction they deliver. After all, with industries experiencing a consolidation of brands and services, bringing an A-game experience is the only way to stay relevant and keep winning in the survival of the fittest.

The Best Will Get Better

The best brands and companies will continue to get better. In such environments, the ability to turn signals into action and react to customer demand in real-time is key. An e-commerce company receiving an unexpected influx of positive sentiment through social media—and capitalizing on the opportunity by providing personalized discounts to their fans—is a great example of how businesses can leverage real-time insights to exceed the evolving expectations of their target markets. Such scenarios reaffirm my belief that facilitating an amazing customer experience through efficient operations is table-stakes in today’s world.

Automation Works Only for Technical Teams

A common misconception that I’ve observed is that people think automation is hard. At PagerDuty, we disagree—we believe that technology is for everyone. While our product’s use cases have benefited DevOps practitioners the most thus far, we’ve seen some incredible success stories of teams across organizations, from security, marketing, to customer support and beyond, leverage automation to manage digital operations. We anticipate more such use cases to proliferate in 2018.

Digital Transformation Is Inevitable Across Functions and Industries

John Baldo (one of our Product Managers) believes the future holds tremendous opportunity for digital operations platforms to empower every function in an organization to be far more productive. Getting real-time information from digital signals and being able to appropriately act upon insights can be the differentiating factor in staying ahead of the competition. For instance, customer support teams can be immediately informed about major incidents affecting customers, and proactively prepare and mitigate impact before inbound tickets start flowing in. This type of faster decision-making across teams leads to higher-performing organizations.

The coming year holds great potential for technology-enabled organizations to achieve more, while embracing the challenges ahead to effectively manage changes in the industry, grow customer expectations, and adopt digital operations across the business. What are some challenges that you and your organization face, and what changes are you excited about? Head over to the PagerDuty Community to share your perspective—we’d love to hear from you!