In conclusion, the 2023 Observability Forecast results show that data, team, and tool fragmentation persists, full-stack observability improves service-level metrics, observability provides significant business value, and organizations see the value and plan to invest more in it. We’ve provided updated tips to attain the ideal state of observability as well as outcomes to expect.
Organizations continue to invest in observability
Advocacy for observability is even higher this year across all roles. This finding tends to support future observability deployment plans as organizations are more likely to expand deployment if individual roles and teams see the value in and advocate for observability.
While most organizations still don’t monitor their full tech stack, this is changing with more capabilities deployed year-over-year (YoY) and more planned for the future. In three years, respondents expect to deploy most observability capabilities.
This stated intent to deploy a large number of observability capabilities is once again one of the most eye-opening results from this study as it suggests that most organizations may have robust observability practices in place by mid-2026. The finding highlights the current state of observability and growth potential in the near future.
Observability improves service-level metrics
Outages are expensive, but having full-stack observability and/or a mature observability practice helps. The data once again supports a strong association between full-stack observability and better business outcomes. Results show that full-stack observability can lead to improved service-level metrics, including:
- Reduced outage frequency
- Improved mean time to detection (MTTD) of outages
- Improved mean time to resolution (MTTR) of outages
- Lower outage costs
- Higher median annual return on investment (ROI)
The data also supports a strong association between a faster MTTD and deploying five or more observability capabilities. And it indicates a clear connection between investing in observability—by deploying more capabilities, employing more observability characteristics, and/or spending more on observability—and improved MTTR. In addition, it predicts a positive association between certain observability capabilities and a faster MTTD/MTTR (less than 30 minutes).
Investing in observability pays off
Most said they receive value from their observability investment. Developers and engineers seek data-driven solutions that reduce toil, increase cross-team collaboration, and help them use their time proactively. While IT decision makers (ITDMs) were more focused on strategy and achieving key performance indicators (KPIs).
Organizations very much see hard financial stakes attached to observability. In particular, they anticipate higher operation costs and revenue loss from downtime as the concrete financial impacts of not having observability.
The median impact of observability spending is a 2x annual return in value or ROI. In other words, respondents received 2x annual return on their observability investment. Several factors had an even more positive impact on ROI, including achieving full-stack observability, having a mature observability practice, deploying at least five observability capabilities, and employing at least five observability practice characteristics.
Overall, the results indicate that investing in observability continues to deliver a clear, positive business impact, leads to better business outcomes, and transforms an organization’s business, technology, and/or revenue. In addition, organizations need a combination of capability adoption with implementation of best practices (including training) to get the most value from observability.
Data, tool, and team fragmentation persists
Survey respondents overwhelmingly reported using more than one tool for observability, learning about interruptions through more than one monitoring tool, and having more siloed telemetry data this year. The data shows more siloed data leads to less desirable service-level metrics. And many respondents cited siloed data and too many monitoring tools as barriers to achieving full-stack observability.
Taken together, the current state of observability is still mostly multi-tool and fragmented, yet we see an increasing move toward and strategic preference for a single, consolidated observability platform with the knowledge that tool fragmentation is a significant hindrance to full-stack observability.
Once organizations reach the milestone of achieving full-stack observability, the next logical step is to optimize it further by consolidating tools. The data also shows that using a single tool for observability is more cost-effective than using multiple tools. If organizations consolidate some or all of their tools, that additional spend on multiple tools could become savings instead. All of this is likely why many organizations indicated plans to consolidate tools in the next year.
Business observability is a gap
Capturing telemetry across the full tech stack and including business context to quantify the impact of events and incidents are both required to achieve business observability. Notably, both decreased YoY.
Most observability tools lack business context, so many organizations struggle with quantifying the business impact of technology and often think of analyzing technology separately from analyzing business. So it’s not a given that they will naturally progress to the point of adding business context—it’s something that requires intention.
Observability platforms can support business metrics. It just requires a different mindset. There’s an opportunity for organizations to leverage observability as a business enabler rather than just an insurance policy to resolve problems. This requires top-down thinking (products, services, customers, business processes) rather than just a bottom-up (technology, speeds and feeds) approach.
Adopting a purpose-built business observability app like Pathpoint can help bridge this gap.
Tips to attain the ideal state of observability
Based on the survey results, we believe the ideal state of observability is one where organizations monitor the entire tech stack in all stages of the software development lifecycle (SDLC), employ mature observability best practice characteristics, have unified telemetry data, and include business context to quantify the business impact of events and incidents—ideally in a single, consolidated platform.
So, how can organizations get to the ideal state of observability? They can start by addressing the challenges that often prevent it.
Educate users about the benefits and value of observability and how it can make their job easier, including:
Move towards an all-in-one observability platform:
Prioritize and achieve full-stack observability:
Insufficient organizational support, including lack of:
Plan to support observability goals:
Incorporate observability into all stages of the SDLC:
Poor business outcomes:
Implement business observability:
Purchasing, pricing, and billing concerns:
Select the right observability platform and vendor. Top 10 aspects to look for:
Business outcomes to expect
Once organizations have attained this ideal state of observability, the data shows that they see many positive business outcomes.
Improved uptime, performance, and reliability
- Mitigates service disruptions and business risk
- Improves service-level metrics
- Improves real-user experience
- Ensures peak demand performance
- Manages security vulnerabilities
- Improves collaboration across teams when making decisions related to the software stack (DevOps, DevSecOps)
- Provides feedback for all SDLC stages
- Enables data visualization from a single dashboard
Business and revenue growth
- Improves revenue retention by deepening understanding of customer behaviors
- Creates revenue-generating use cases
- Delivers about 2x return on investment
Happy developers and engineers
- Shifts developer and engineer time from incident response (reactive) towards higher-value work (proactive)
- Improves skillset/hireability
- Makes job easier
- Improves work/life balance
- Increases innovation
- Helps drive business strategy, establish a technology strategy, translate it into tactical execution, and achieve technical and business KPIs
- Includes telemetry data with business context to quantify the business impact of events and incidents
- Enables time prioritization and less guesswork when managing complicated and distributed tech stacks
- Increases productivity (developers and engineers find and resolve issues faster) and software release velocity
- Frees up time to work on other projects and prioritizes environment updates and new service rollouts
Like to see a 2x annual ROI too? Start here.
First, read the report. Then contact us to learn how our team can help you dive even deeper into the business value of observability. We’ll give you specific observability insights that fit your business, with an actionable plan to realize results, fast. There’s no obligation—just opportunities.