IT Ops Lessons from the Lock-Down
A Reg Reader Study

1. About you and your organisation

1.1 Which of the following best describes your primary role?


1.3 How large is the organisation you work for?

1.4 Where are you located?


1.5 Which of the following best describes your organisation's core business?

1.6 Which of the following best sums up how your organisation's business overall has been impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic?

1.7 Has your organisation generally found (or is it exploring) new ways to drive sales/income as a result of the pandemic?

2. So, what's going on from an IT perspective?

2.1 Let's begin with the obvious. As a result of the pandemic, have your IT ops, application and/or development teams had to attend to any of the following?

Yes, but settled down
Yes, and still ongoing
Just getting into this
Not anticipating
Getting (more) users working safely and effectively from home
Dealing with increased demand on your customer facing systems
Responding to newly emerged application and service requirements
Handling more support calls/cases (e.g. from users, customers, partners)
Accelerating digital initiatives that were already underway pre-pandemic
Putting non-essential projects and initiatives into hibernation
Doing whatever you can to save money

2.2 From a systems perspective, has there been a need for any of the following in response to the crisis?

Yes, but settled down
Yes, and still ongoing
Just getting into this
Not anticipating
Acquiring/provisioning more on premise infrastructure
Reallocating existing on prem resources to where they are now needed
Grabbing additional compute/storage resources from the public cloud
Adopting/extending SaaS based solutions to meet changing user needs
Migrating selected on-prem systems and data to the public cloud
Moving workloads between public clouds to optimise your estate
Strengthening your network to deal with changing access patterns
Strengthening your security to deal with changing access patterns

2.3 How much of the following has been a challenge along the way?

Big challenge
Not an issue
IT staff forced out of their comfort zone with no time to prepare
Infrastructure not geared up to enable rapid change
Significant manual effort required to implement changes
IT team activities hampered by absences and social distancing
Having to work within tighter budget and funding constraints
Need for undesirable compromises to get things done quickly
Need to shortcut normal due diligence to get things done quickly
Emphasis on 'fast and easy' rather than 'good and future-proof'
Rapid build-up of technical debt that will come back to bite later

2.4 Have you stepped up your focus on the following to help your IT teams(s) work together more efficiently and effectively in a more volatile and uncertain environment?

Yes, significantly
Yes, to a degree
No, but we should
No need, focus already high
Don't see as relevant
Agile software development
DevOps and/or Continuous Delivery
Enhanced collaboration systems and processes within IT
Self-service within IT (e.g. to allow dev and apps teams to self-provision resources)
End user self-service (e.g. to allow business users to self-provision applications)

3. Taking advantage of automation opportunities

3.1 Has increased pressure from the current crisis encouraged any of the following?

Yes, extensively
Yes, to a degree
No but should explore
Unnecessary, already in good shape
Not relevant
More emphasis on automation to increase operational efficiency within IT
More emphasis on automation to speed up change management and boost flexibility
Acquisition of additional ops automation capabilities, e.g. new tools, tooling upgrades, etc
Exploitation of ops automation capabilities already in place but not previously being used
Bringing ideas from the public cloud to bear on your on-prem environment
Finding or developing good/best practices for automating IT operations

3.2 Building on that last point, how would you sum up your current use of the following?

Committed early adoption
Limited/niche use only
No activity or plans
Software defined infrastructure (SDDC, SDS, SDN)
Integrated hybrid/multi-cloud environments
Advanced orchestration and workload management
Container-based architectures
Kubernetes in particular
Serverless computing model(s)

3.3 How much would you agree or disagree with the following when considering traditional style virtualisation versus more dynamic cloud-like systems?

Strongly agree
Strongly disagree
Cloud-like environments are more flexible and efficient than traditional virtualisation setups
A big difference between traditional virtualisation and cloud-like systems is the level of automation
A big difference between traditional virtualisation and cloud-like systems is support for self-service
Over the years, IT vendors have been adding more cloud-like features into their traditional offerings
It's hard to keep up with new features and functions rolled out by vendors from release to release
We have undoubtedly overlooked potentially valuable cloud-like features in our existing environment(s)
We have sometimes bought additional tools to provide capabilities that we later found we already had
Moving from traditional virtualisation to an on-prem cloud model doesn't require a total 'rip and replace'


3.5 What progress have you made in transforming your traditional virtualised environments (where it makes sense) to make them more cloud-like?

4. Drill down on self-service

4.1 How much would you agree or disagree with the following?

Strongly agree
Strongly disagree
The notion of self-service is integral to the cloud delivery model
Use of public cloud has awakened many to the value of self service
Full cloud adoption is not a pre-requisite for implementation of self-service
Self-service can take the form of a consumption layer on top of traditional platforms
Self-service is a key enabler of effective DevOps and Continuous Delivery
Internal IT focused self-service can ease the burden on operations teams
End user focused self-service can ease the burden on IT teams in general
Policy-driven self-service can enable flexibility while assuring compliance

4.2 Whether you have done much in this area or not, how would you rate the value, or potential value, of support for the following in relation to self-service?

Highly valuable
No value
Don't know enough to say
A policy-driven and open API-enabled service catalog
Definition of abstracted services that hide implementation detail
Free mixing and matching of non-cloud, on-prem cloud and public cloud resources
Services based on blueprints to provision and manage entire application landscapes
Definition of configurations, run-books, etc as code using standard scripting languages
Integration with commonly-used SCM tools for code and version management
Integration with provisioning and orchestration engine(s) for automated deployment
Policy-based workflow and approval mechanisms to manage cost, compliance, etc
Role based management and access via customisable self-service portal
Reporting and analytics in relation to service adoption, health and other metrics

4.3 Given that automated self-service systems can be implemented in many ways that aren't mutually exclusive, how do the following approaches figure in your activities or plans?

Used/using successfully
Used/using but not ideal
Considering or would consider
Would not rely on this
No idea
Implement mostly by leveraging features already provided by our core platform(s) and tools
Paid for extensions or upgrades to our core platform(s) that provide necessary features
A separately procured commercial service-catalog/portal environment delivered as an integrated solution
An open source based service-catalog/portal environment delivered as an integrated solution
A combination of two or more of the above
Some other approach (please specify)

4.4 How much do the following inhibit or limit your use of cloud-style self-service for on-prem and hybrid systems access?

Major impediment
No problem
Limited knowledge of this general area
Lack of demand or interest from the business
Cost of acquiring the necessary solutions
Lack of confidence in the enabling technology
Unsure how to implement in a governed manner
Specific concerns about 'resource hogging'
Corporate policy constraints
No time to investigate
Other competing priorities


5. And finally

5.1 How well would you say you are performing from an IT delivery perspective in relation to the following?

Very well
Very poorly
Enabling business advantage
Efficiency and cost control
Management of security and risk
Responsiveness and flexibility
Response to the Covid 19 crisis
Senior management satisfaction
End user satisfaction
IT staff satisfaction

As usual, your responses will be anonymous and your privacy assured.