Unplanned Work, Part 2: The Impact on the Enterprise

by Ancy Dow September 17, 2019 | 5 min read

Today, technology problems can alter the trajectory of a business. Minutes of downtime or latency (slow is the new down) cost organizations dearly in lost revenue and can jeopardize customer relationships. However, there’s an even more important consequence of technology problems than top-line risk: reduced innovation as teams are forced into reactive fire drills that take time away from product development.

Many IT organizations have teams working in silos, each with their own processes and toolchains, exacerbating the already unwieldy challenge of orchestrating the right people to respond to an issue when seconds matter. In fact, according to our previous research, organizations take an average of five hours to resolve major customer-impacting incidents—which is a significant problem when you consider that large retailers can lose hundreds of thousands of dollars per minute during site failures.

Additionally, while major incident management and response is becoming harder due to increasingly complex operational environments, our conversations with customers, analysts, and other experts suggest that the frequency of major incidents is also increasing. These simultaneous accelerations of incident frequency and scale have major implications for culture, process, and how cross-functional teams must adapt in an always-on world.

To dig deeper into this trend, we commissioned a new study with Dimensional Research to research the rise and impact of unplanned work. Unplanned work is a major technical problem that requires immediate attention, oftentimes diverting resources from planned work. We will be releasing the report at PagerDuty Summit (September 23–25 in San Francisco), but wanted to give you a preview of the findings and their implications for the digital enterprise.

  • It’s only getting harder to meet rising customer experiences. Ninety-six percent of IT staff experience numerous hurdles to delivering good customer service. Top challenges include increasingly complex IT environments, hiring and retaining skilled talent, and silos/bottlenecks.
  • Unplanned work is a growing problem across the organization. Sixty-one percent of organizations routinely divert resources to unplanned work, and nearly 80% of respondents are doing more unplanned work this year compared to last year.
  • Yet, IT teams are largely underprepared to face the rise of unplanned work. Ninety percent of companies have little to no automation for technology issue resolution. Simultaneously, nearly two-thirds of companies with documented response plans indicate they are inadequate.

The good news is that the report also reveals some methods that leading organizations use to mitigate the impact of unplanned work. At PagerDuty Summit, IT leaders will be sharing use cases and practical strategies to drive efficient cross-functional collaboration, automation, and transformation at scale.

Below are a few sample sessions.

Session: Automate Incident Response With Business-Wide Orchestration
Track: Innovation
Date and Time: September 24, 2:45 p.m.

Major incidents strike at the most inopportune times, leaving teams scrambling to coordinate the proper business and technical response needed to minimize impact to the business. In this session, you will learn how the Sky Betting & Gaming team improves the automation and orchestration of incidents with PagerDuty Modern Incident Response and new collaboration integrations. We will also cover new feature updates in Modern Incident Response, along with industry best practices around running major incident response.

Session: The Business Impact of HybridOps
Track: Business Value
Date and Time: September 25, 1:30 p.m.

Digital transformation can have a material business impact, but it often leads to multiple operating models co-existing within an organization. As such, teams are increasingly adopting Hybrid Operations, where they work to mature practices and visibility across a mix of technologies and operating models. Leaders from Cox Automotive, Garmin, and ADP will share how they’ve implemented HybridOps and the business value they’ve realized from this approach.

Session: The Business Impact of Real-Time Work
Track: Innovation
Date and Time: September 25, 2:15pm

Managing real-time work is about more than going on-call, and the way we manage this work can have outsized impacts on business outcomes. PagerDuty not only helps you understand and manage this work, but with our Analytics and Visibility offerings, you can empower everyone in your organization to use business impact to drive decisions that lead to improvement. Hear from Willis Towers Watson on how it leverages business impact insights to drive better outcomes using PagerDuty.

Session: DevOps Transformation at Scale
Track: Business Value
Date and Time: September 25, 3:30 p.m.

DevOps transformation is crucial to modernizing both business and technology to create fully aligned teams that increase the speed of delivering successful business outcomes. But it’s far easier said than done, especially at large enterprises with entrenched processes, cultures, and tooling. Learn best practices from leading enterprises such as TD Bank and IBM on unifying development and operations to improve agility and collaboration across the entire software delivery lifecycle.


Want an exclusive preview of the full report findings or see what other session topics will be covered at PagerDuty Summit? With only a week left to go, we highly encourage you to check out the Summit website to see a full list of the keynotes and breakout sessions—and if you haven’t signed up already, be sure to reserve your spot by registering for Summit19 today!