F5 Research Reveals Tradeoffs of Accelerating Digital Transformation

INDIA, APRIL 19, 2022 – F5 today announced the availability of its 2022 State of Application Strategy Report. Now in its eighth iteration, this year’s report shows the challenges organizations face as they transform IT infrastructures to deliver and secure digital services that have become inseparable from everyday activities, such as performing job tasks or consulting a doctor. With highly distributed architectures and a broader threat landscape resulting from the ongoing digitization of previously physical experiences, organizations are turning to a variety of solutions to help manage complexity and address widening IT skills gaps. However, survey results also indicate pitfalls ahead that, if ignored, will prevent organizations from becoming more responsive and agile.

“The pandemic induced push towards digital adoption has forced organizations across size and sectors to rethink their digital strategies and increase their investment in emerging technologies. This holds true for India as well,” said Dhananjay Ganjoo, MD, India and SAARC, F5. “Our 2022 State of Application Strategy Report shows that India is intrigued by the promise of the technological developments in IT and OT convergence, 5G, and Zero Trust. Interestingly, this excitement aligns well with their plans to increase deployments in edge locations, a critical component of the user experience for all digital services. Hence, organizations require reliable security, end-to-end visibility, and robust automation in their app deployments. This will enable organizations to provide seamless experiences and value to their customers, open doors to newer opportunities, secure their business against threats in real-time, and ultimately deliver better business outcomes.”

Respondents rank visibility across different environments as the top challenge for those deploying applications in multiple clouds, followed closely by consistent security. To help, 90% of global organizations across all industries are planning to implement AI to better serve customers and surface valuable insights. Yet, effective AI requires better data transparency, integration, and governance than is currently available. Similarly, the survey identifies site reliability engineering (SRE) as a key piece of the puzzle, with 77% pursuing SRE approaches for their applications and systems, but enterprise architecture must evolve in parallel to support distributed, application-centric models and further advance organizations’ digital transformation efforts.

Top findings include:

  • IT and OT are converging –  Indian respondents (44%) rate the convergence of IT and operational technology (OT) systems as one of the most exciting developments in the next few years. Integrating OT systems that manage industrial and enterprise operations with data-centric IT systems will help close the automation loop and make digital businesses more adaptive so they can better anticipate and respond to shifting customer interests and market conditions.
  • 5G to unlock opportunities– Almost half of the Indian respondents (42%) are excited by the immense opportunities that 5G offers in the coming few years. The excitement is justified as the advantages of 5G over existing technology are significant. The future state of 5G will require adaptive applications to deliver enhanced value for customers and partners. While deriving value from 5G, an organization still needs to protect the network at a massive scale, at every layer, and from multiple threats; failing to do so can significantly hurt the bottom line.
  • Edge essential for user experience – Today, 85% of Indian organizations are planning to deploy workloads at the edge. The report finds that these edge deployments are being planned to enhance digital experience and security workloads. Businesses now realize that to achieve improved performance for applications and users, their technology solutions must be present in locations other than just a centralized data center or public cloud.
  • Complexity is becoming untenable – With 89% of Indian respondents using cloud-based as-a-Service offerings, associated challenges range from overlapping security policies and fragmented data to the deployment of point solutions that ultimately add complexity, increase fragility, or inhibit performance. Broader distribution throughout the infrastructure means app security and delivery services are no longer tethered to the deployment model or location of the applications they serve, which allows businesses more flexibility but impacts consistency and can degrade the user experience.
  • Security is evolving to risk management – Even as complexity has increased the number of potential failure points, performance remains paramount, with almost all (90%) of Indian respondents admitting that—given a choice—they’d turn off security measures to improve performance. Managing a spectrum of risks with real-world objectives demonstrates businesses are taking a modified approach to risk management, contributing to identity-based security surpassing traditional app security and delivery technologies in terms of prevalence.

Taken together, these results indicate that IT decision-makers are still coming to grips with limitations tied to modernization, business imperatives, and deployment methods as they reap the benefits of digital transformation. Organizations face a continuous balancing act between controls, costs, customer and employee experiences, and an extended set of application and API protections, resulting in heightened interest in sophisticated behavioral analysis and AI-based solutions that can better assess context to deliver the security, performance, and insights required for adaptive applications.

F5’s 2022 State of Application Strategy Report represents nearly 1,500 IT decision-makers worldwide from a breadth of industries, organization sizes, and professional roles. The survey focused on respondents’ priorities, challenges, and expectations to form a compelling perspective of how organizations are evolving application strategies to better serve customers’ current and anticipated needs.

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