Why Observability is Important in Building a Resilient Ecosystem

August 18, 2022 | 4 min read

Tony Kustwan

Director, Observability Practice, Concanon


Customer-centricity is a method many businesses strive to follow, emphasizing the importance of putting the customer first and always creating a positive experience. However, this insight into a customer’s service is not obtainable without proper Observability, or the process of clearly observing a system's normal behavioral state and noting when a system state of behavior becomes abnormal. Therefore, achieving customer-centricity service management is essential as it fosters a customer-centric environment to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty. This helps an organization have a stronger relationship with its customers, higher retention rates, and increased customer referrals.

In the application development world, Observability is not a new concept, as it’s been used to monitor code to measure:

  • How it runs in production

  • How it works or fails

  • How it impacts the user experience

Observability in the Wild

Observability harnesses logs, metrics, and traces; critical components of a complex eco-system to gather actionable data.

In the application development world, Observability determines:

  • What was the output?

  • Has the application maintained consistency?

  • What path was taken to get there?

By applying these concepts, it's easy to understand why Observability can play a critical role in abnormal behavior detection, prevention, and remediation (or response).

With Observability, an organization can determine when an abnormal behavior occurred and gain insight into what users were doing when this abnormal behavior occurred. Then, application development owners can use that information to improve customer outcomes.

Understanding what happened before, during, and after an abnormal behavior was detected is a potential game-changer for customer-centric service management.

Observability vs. Monitoring: Key Similarities and Differences

While Observability and Monitoring are similar concepts, each serves a different purpose and, at the same time, complement each other. Monitoring is the systematic process of collecting and analyzing performance data of individual assets. On the other hand, Observability is the creative practice of IT service management principles with contemporary agile thinking and performing methods. As a result, organizations can deliver value-added services in a collaborative, adaptive, and measurable way, with enough structure and control to help ensure customer-centric outcomes. After all, you cannot manage it if you cannot measure it.

The Cost of Not Doing Observability

Traditional Monitoring is not enough to identify issues fast enough. Monitoring using applications like Nagios, Prometheus, which are common in IT, and others rely on asset monitoring and setting arbitrary thresholds to indicate you are currently having a problem. Using a traditional strategy such as UP-DOWN monitoring can lead to identifying a broken system or customers complaining about the application's poor performance. UP-DOWN Monitoring commonly leads to a bad reputation with the customer, lower retention rates, and decreased revenues.

To illustrate the actual cost of not doing Observability, consider that according to ITIC's 12th annual 2021 Hourly Cost of Downtime Survey: "Enterprise downtime is now more expensive than ever: Some 44% of firms indicate that hourly downtime costs exceed $1 million to over $5 million, exclusive of any legal fees, fines or penalties. Additionally, 91% of organizations said a single hour of downtime that takes mission-critical server hardware and applications offline averages over $300,000 due to lost business, productivity disruptions and remediation efforts.”

The question is, can your organization afford to stay with the same old monitoring strategy?

How Observability Differs From Traditional Monitoring

Traditional infrastructure monitoring tracks hosts, containers, and other back-end infrastructure components' availability, performance, and resource utilization. Observability monitors a user-centric perspective to ensure applications and services are available, functional, and performant across all customer experience failure points in real time. Observability uses a framework to explicitly understand the precise impact on business KPIs by using tools that combine application performance data, real user behavior, and synthetic Monitoring to pinpoint digital experience issues.

Benefits of Observability

When done correctly, Observability helps provide operation center and application development teams with the knowledge required to address abnormal behavior within their environment that could negatively impact customer satisfaction with critical business services. In addition, many of the advantages enable an organization to create and implement customer-centric business strategies, enhancing the overall user experience and increasing consumer trust.

Organizations should strive for three Observability goals:

  • A stronger relationship with its customers

  • Higher retention rates

  • Increased customer revenue

How BlueVoyant Concanon Enables Observability

BlueVoyant Concanon Observability enables your IT team to achieve the ultimate goal of focusing more on user experience and less on fire fighting. By empowering IT teams to build user-centric approaches focused on improving an organizations' ability to detect abnormal behavior, organizations can enhance alert efficiency, and improve the agility of incident response in service management Observability. This helps an organization have a stronger relationship with its customers, higher retention rates, and increased customer revenue.

To deep dive deeper into Observability, check out this blog series where we break down different tools used to gain insights into user-centric service monitoring.

Need help assessing your user-centric service monitoring maturity? Contact [email protected].

Tony Kustwan serves as Director, Observability Practice for Concanon, a BlueVoyant company.