Why does the growth of IT only aggravate burn-out, and how to remedy it?

Estimated read time 5 min read

Why does the growth of IT only aggravate burn-out, and how to remedy it?

If working in IT – development, engineering, administration, support – is considered one of the most pleasant jobs in the world, it is also a source of professional burnout. The main causes are excessive workloads, excessive volumes of working hours, lack of recognition and lack of challenges, explains Nick Kolakowski in a recent Dice report.

Let’s take a closer look at the first two factors: workload and excessive working hours. While technology professionals have to carry out many activities head-on, one of the things that clutters their days the most is the overwhelming number of glitches, outages, breaches and other incidents that require their attention.

When systems fail, end users and customers can be extremely frustrated. Of course, the IT teams take care of it. But they are just as frustrated as anyone else when it comes to solving problems.

More than half of IT managers indicate that they receive more
more incidents than they can handle

Business leaders should be frustrated too, because this represents a real cost for their organization. Incidents can cost large companies more than $100 million a year, according to a recent analysis by Constellation Research. “What is even more surprising is that 49% of these incidents are simple and repetitive, and can be automated,” observes the author of the report, Andy Thurai, from Constellation Research.

More than half of the 317 IT managers who responded to Constellation’s survey, or 57%, indicate that they receive more incidents than they can handle. “This situation is alarming, especially since the number of incidents continues to increase and the incident response teams are already overwhelmed,” according to Mr. Thurai. “A bad experience in incident response, with manual and repetitive work, can lead to employee attrition”. In fact, this is the number one cause of employee attrition.

Added to this is a lack of support and awareness on the part of the organization. “The management lacks visibility on the most important incidents, the work of the teams, the exhaustion of the teams and the costs of incident response,” observes Mr. Thurai. “The continuation of the old practices leads to too many alerts, which creates a weariness with regard to alerts”.

“Companies have not reduced the rate of major incidents with their production infrastructure in the cloud”

Although there are robust tools and platforms on the market that help automate and mitigate this, the growth of the cloud, analytics and distributed systems has made incident response even more complex. “Incidents, whether major or minor, are more frequent than expected,” the investigation says. In addition, “the current way of responding to incidents is failing”.

Progress has been made in the five years since Constellation’s previous investigation into this topic. In both cases, more than a third of the respondents reported more than five major incidents that occurred in the last 12 months in their cloud production infrastructures. (34% this year, a slight decrease compared to 38% five years ago).

“In other words, companies have not reduced the rate of major incidents with their production infrastructure in the cloud,” emphasizes Mr. Thurai. He cites the increasing adoption rates of cloud computing and the new applications being deployed, as well as the predominance of manual processes to respond to IT incidents. In addition to this, there is a shortage of qualified IT personnel, who are already overwhelmed by multiple requests.

Companies with a high degree of automation are the ones that respond most effectively to incidents

Constellation’s survey shows that IT managers are almost unanimous on the need to act. Nine out of ten agree that companies with a high degree of automation are the ones that respond most effectively to incidents. The same number states that “application downtime is one of the main causes of customer dissatisfaction and disaffection”.

Here are some of the measures recommended by Thurai to reduce burnout:

  • Automate as much as possible. This should include self-healing abilities. “These can be remediation measures before or after automation in order to avoid incidents.

  • Educate and train: Help IT staff become “more competent so that they can resolve incidents without escalation”.
  • Embark the trades. Every member of the board of directors should ask these questions to their IT managers: If a major incident happened to us, how would you handle it? Would we be able to manage it and prove to our customers that we are worthy of their trust, or would we miss everything and cease to exist? If we are not prepared today, how can we be? Ask for an action plan and evidence. Be prepared to finance what is necessary for this to happen”.

  • Adopt a team approach.
    Thurai recommends the “automated creation of collaboration rooms”, as well as the “creation of conference or video call links associated with the incident in order to reduce the need for manual intervention and save precious time during major incidents”. 

Measures to combat incident-related fatigue also create a rewarding, useful and – yes, I say it – fun working atmosphere.

Source: “ZDNet.com “

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