Canadian Underwriter

Digital and app users not waiting around, quick to bail on non-responsive service: Australia research

August 2, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter

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A huge divide exists between consumer expectations of their digital service experience and what is being delivered, with three-quarters of recently polled consumers in Australia reporting they will stop trying a digital app or service within a minute if it stops working or slows down.

Findings in State of Digital Operations: Australia, clearly show “a disconnect between consumers’ high expectations of their digital service experience and how quickly IT organizations can adapt to the rise of digital service offerings and resolve customer-impacting incidents,” reports PagerDuty, digital operations management firm.

More than three-quarters of respondents say they will leave a digital (website or mobile) app or service in one minute or less if it is unresponsive or slow, reports the San Francisco-headquartered company, which has regional offices in Toronto and Sydney.

Findings are based on a two-part survey of more than 200 IT personnel in development and operations and 300-plus consumers in Australia. Digital services is defined as those offered through digital interfaces, such as computers, tablets and smartphones, spanning both professional services, as well as those used for personal reasons.

The lack of consumer satisfaction has some big potential costs attached. “Digital incidents now have a direct impact on the business,” the statement contends, pointing out that 33.4% of respondents report “one hour of IT downtime costs their companies between AU$500,000 to more than AU$10 million.”

Related: U.S. insurers failing to deliver on digital customer experience: study

In addition, more than half of the 200-plus IT personnel in development and operations surveyed say they are still experiencing customer-impacting incidents (slowness or downtime) at least one or more times per week. In all, the report states 90% of IT personnel in development and operations say their organizations take six minutes to more than one day to resolve IT incidents that impact consumer-facing digital services.

Incident management appeared to be the most effective way for IT organizations that felt prepared to effectively support digital offerings, the company reports.

Asked about the specific time it takes for the organization to get consumer-facing digital services running following an incident, 9.5% report it takes 1-5 minutes; 39% say it takes 6-15 minutes; 31% say it takes 16 minutes to one hour; 16.2% say it takes one hour to one day; and 4.3% say it takes more than a day.

Related: 35% of top global insurers have appointed a chief digital officer to oversee business transformation: PwC’s Strategy&

The survey reveals that resolving consumer-impacting incidents takes IT teams more than five times longer than the amount of time consumers are willing to wait for a service that is not performing properly, PagerDuty points out.

In all, 90% of the polled IT professionals say IT operations is most responsible for ensuring seamless delivery of their organization’s digital offerings, “ultimately holding the key to consumers’ brand loyalty and business revenue.”

Even so, just 21.4% of polled organizations prioritize informing business stakeholders after a disruption.

IT organizations face challenges in light of the rise in digital offerings. “IT personnel cited increased difficulty in capacity planning (e.g., increase in volume of data), increased complexity resulting in more cognitive load, an increase in the number of tools and as the top operations challenges,” states the report.

PagerDuty argues that ensuring excellent digital experiences is no longer just an imperative for the developers and IT operations teams responsible for managing infrastructure. That said, the company suggests there is a positive side to findings, with results indicating “there is opportunity to align consumer expectations with IT performance, highlighting the need for digital operations management.”

To meet consumer demands and remain competitive, “businesses must integrate machine and human intelligence with incident response best practices to enable effective business-wide response, leveraging the excellence of digital operations management,” suggests PagerDuty CEO Jennifer Tejada. “The alternative could mean a loss of customers and millions in revenue,” Tejada cautions in the statement.

Other survey findings include the following:

  • non-IT departments most impacted by IT operations issues are sales, research and development, accounting and finance, marketing, customer service and production;
  • only 44.3% of organizations contact affected customers or users;
  • 71.9% of respondents say they are confident their IT organization is prepared to support digital services;
  • 56.2% of respondents note their organizations are still experiencing customer-impacting incidents (slowness or downtime) at least once a week;
  • IT organizations say incident management is tops among those who feel prepared to effectively support digital offerings, with DevOps, continuous integration, agile development and ChatOps identified as other common practices; and
  • 68.7% of consumers selected security and reliability as the primary reasons they would stop using a digital app or service.

“Consumers were asked what would lead them to stop using a website or mobile application to complete tasks such as banking, dinner reservations, finding transportation, grocery shopping and booking airline tickets,” notes the report.

“Results indicated that consumers are heavily influenced by their digital experience, with reliability and security cited equally among the primary reasons consumers stop using a given app/service,” it states.

“Today’s IT teams are faced with more complex architectures that result in a number of new operational and technological challenges,” David Wall, managing director and country manager for Asia Pacific at PagerDuty, says in the company statement.

“As organizations bridge between IT performance and a superior digital experience, their IT teams and lines of business must be equipped with digital operations tools and services that enable even more visibility into the digital stack,” Wall continues.