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May 5, 2020 By Bruno Kurtic

The New Opportunity

COVID-19 has changed how companies serve their customers, permanently.

Since various versions of lockdown around the world kicked in, we’ve all been forced to learn how to live as if we’ve just awoke from a deep stasis into a new reality in which everything on earth works differently. It was nearly that abrupt. And if there was ever evidence of how business adaptability is related to business success, it is now. Think about how different it is now to perform “basic” tasks such as getting groceries, exercising, entertaining your family, and even getting your mail. Activities you can still do the old-fashioned way, such as grocery shopping, are now associated with a huge increase in risk. And activities you can’t even do the old-fashioned way, such as getting a haircut (well, other than in Georgia), have to be completely reinvented.

Most things that required us to be in physical proximity are now more difficult, or risky, or outright banned. Thus, we’ve changed to doing them digitally. Getting groceries, prescriptions, entertainment, exercise, education, even getting a drink with friends have all been adapted to digital means. This has forced many companies to handle an abrupt jump in digital business whether they were ready for it or not. Where companies were not ready, others have stepped in to fill the gap. The COVID-19 pandemic has created a discontinuity in digital transformation forcing every business to accelerate implementation of digital business models.

There is an abundance of evidence out there. Amazon, a digital business supply chain company, more so than a retailer, needing to hire 100,000 new workers is just one example. Amazon is also a proxy for thousands of other businesses that leverage it for supply chain management as they serve their customers digitally. Sumo Logic serves more than 2,000 enterprises and I thought I’d look for more evidence in our own data. Thankfully, we serve digital companies to help them ensure operational and security excellence of their digital services and we are a data analytics company! Well lucky me.

One of the KPIs to look at is data volume emitted and ingested by our customers into our Continuous Intelligence Platform. Since we help our customers keep sites available, reliable, performant, and secure by analyzing their logs, events, metrics, traces from technologies such as AWS, GCP, Azure, Kafka, Cassandra, MySQL, Kubernetes, and many others, more data typically means more activity and traffic on their digital services. Here are some ingestion trends from three of our larger global deployments. Two are in the US and one in Europe.

US region 1
US region 2
Europe region 1

Data clearly shows a divergent and upward trend that begins around the time when most countries around the world, including the United States, issued shelter-in-place orders. Every one of our regions around the world showed a similar trend. When we examine individual industry trends, we see what we expect:

  • Technology, retail, and media -- industries that offer options for digital and low human to human contact -- jumped approximately 20% month over month
  • Travel, construction, and professional services -- industries disproportionately dependent on in-person presence or contact -- are all negative month over month, some significantly

I will do a deeper examination of industry data next time. In the meantime, it’s clear to see that the sudden change in consumer behavior is driving growth in digital revenue channels for enterprises, which is raising the importance of performance, availability, and security of their digital services. All of that and then some is delivered through continuous intelligence generated from the growing digital exhaust data generated by increased activity within their digital services. And, even more importantly, continuous intelligence will not only aid the business resilience of these digital operating models, we anticipate it will also yield a wealth of digital insights from the unprecedented demand these models are currently experiencing that will position these companies to be even further ahead from a market readiness perspective as we enter into the upturn.

Why is that important? Because, It is my belief that once we defeat COVID-19, human behaviors will not simply go back to the old behaviors. To some extent, of course they will, but many of these new benefits and behaviors will stick because they are better. Many people who never before adopted digital services are now forced to, and like some of us who might have been early adopters, many of those who are now forced to will inevitably like some aspects of the new world and will permanently change their behavior. This is likely going to further accelerate the digital transformation and adoption of cloud services by companies.

To summarize, many companies will have seen growth in their businesses, which will fuel further investments into those business models, so they pull out of this downturn stronger than when they entered.. On the other hand, some will have seen declines due to the lack of digital capabilities, readiness, architecture to adapt, and those companies will also increase investments into digital technologies in order to remain relevant in the new normal that’s coming, as well as the next time a discontinuity strikes. I am very proud of the fact that, with our help, our customers have not had to worry about scaling and managing their Continuous Intelligence Platform as many who run it themselves have had to do. Our platform grew with our customers without so much as anyone noticing. There were no scaling issues, alerts firing, or manual intervention -- in fact, I had to go look for evidence of growth. I’m happy that our customers didn’t have to worry about their monitoring, troubleshooting, and security tooling - our architecture took care of that. I’m also thrilled that, since we are a digital business model ourselves, leveraging our Continuous Intelligence Platform for customer insights, we were able to turn on a dime and provide our customers a free Work-From-Home Solution as well as the Sumo Logic App for Zoom to help them and their workforces be effective, efficient, and secure while they are transitioning to working from home - but more on that also next time.

Let us know how else we can help. Stay safe.

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Bruno Kurtic

Bruno Kurtic

Founding VP of Strategy and Solutions

Bruno leads strategy and solutions for Sumo Logic, pioneering machine-learning technology to address growing volumes of machine data across enterprise networks. Before Sumo Logic, he served as Vice President of Product Management for SIEM and log management products at SenSage. Before joining SenSage, Bruno developed and implemented growth strategies for large high-tech clients at the Boston Consulting Group (BCG). He spent six years at webMethods, where he was a Product Group Director for two product lines, started the west coast engineering team and played a key role in the acquisition of Active Software Inc. Bruno also served at Andersen Consulting’s Center for Strategic Technology in Palo Alto and founded a software company that developed handwriting and voice recognition software. Bruno holds an MBA from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and B.A. in Quantitative Methods and Computer Science from University of St. Thomas, St.Paul, MN.

More posts by Bruno Kurtic.

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