Suppose youre already acquainted with observability — and you really should be, considering the markets projected value of more than $2 billion by 2026. In that case, you understand that it provides a solution that seamlessly integrates and encompasses visibility across data sets, networks, and user experiences. This need for visibility isn’t just a matter of convenience: According to a SolarWinds research report, three-quarters of technology pros have had the timeline or ROI of an IT project negatively affected because of inconsistent insight into networks. It’s a process that embraces machine learning (ML) and best data practices to analyze massive amounts of information across an IT environment. Observability tools can pinpoint the root causes of outages or performance issues and deliver tailored insights.

The potential benefits of observability are clear, both to your digital ecosystem and your bottom line. But what about the benefits to your people?

The principles of observability can do more than give your digital ecosystem the modern refresh it needs—they can do the same for your company culture, too. Observability as culture is all about integrating transparency, collaboration, and continuous improvements across every department, team, and level of your organization.

By building your culture on these principles, as well as technological troubleshooting tools, you can cultivate a more robust, more innovative, and more strategic organization that’s better prepared for future challenges.

3 Pillars of Observability

  • Transparency.
  • Collaboration.
  • Continuous improvements.

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Why Company Culture Matters More Than You Think

Though company culture may often seem intangible, the repercussions of a weak or nonexistent culture are far from inconsequential.

More than 90 percent of managers say that a candidate’s fit with the company culture is equally important to their skills and experience, if not more. Those on the other side of the hiring desk feel the same: Nearly half of prospective employees (46 percent) cite company culture as very important when choosing to apply to a company. Further, more than one in three (35 percent) would turn down an otherwise perfect job offer if the organizational culture clashed with their values. 

These challenges go beyond hiring and recruitment, too. Research shows that if the culture of their organization deteriorates, 71 percent of employees would look for new opportunities elsewhere. With 4 million Americans quitting their jobs each month between July and November 2022, culture may well have played a role.

Although the size and stakes of the task may be intimidating, it’s clear that, unlike spyware, your company culture isn’t designed to run independently in the background after being switched on. 

It’s also important to be authentic and specific when establishing the values at the heart of your culture. For instance, at SolarWinds, we debuted Secure by Design in 2021 as a set of guiding principles aimed at approaching security and cyber resiliency and how we do everything from infrastructure and software development to people. For us, these principles were important so that our culture didn’t just focus on what we do — providing leading security solutions — but on the trusted global leader we want to become and the commitment to all things security we strive to embody.

So, whether you’re establishing, refreshing, or reworking your organization’s culture, you can use the three pillars of observability as your guide.

 

Transparency

Observability is all about transparency. By providing a single pane of glass through which you can see your entire IT environment, observability helps organizations address and prevent issues before they arise. You can do the same thing with a company’s culture. Promote open communication, which gives all teams a greater view into the work and priorities of other departments and be purposeful and direct about the company’s values and goals. For example, observability could enable IT teams to identify a packet loss issue and fix it before it leads to a network outage.  

If getting buy-in in other areas of cultural development proves challenging, you can clinch an early, easy win by embracing transparency. Transparency costs nothing, yet the ROI can be massive. A company culture underpinned by transparency can deliver high-value benefits, including establishing trust, boosting employee engagement, morale, and retention, improving employee stress levels and productivity, and directly impacting your business’s bottom line.

On the other hand, without transparency, even the most thoughtfully planned initiatives to attract, retain, or just communicate effectively with employees can seem like a confusing or empty gesture.

 

Collaboration

Observability breaks down silos and makes collaboration easier across different clouds, databases, and dashboards seamlessly. For example, an issue that the DevOps team discovers through observability might lead them to collaborate with the design team in a way they may never have before. Leaders should aim to do the same for their teams by fostering greater collaboration across the entire organization.

A lack of effective collaboration and communication is the top cause of workplace failures, according to 86 percent of employees and executives. Just as observability is a step up from monitoring, collaboration is the output that evolves from transparent communication.

Your head of accounting probably knows precisely where each decimal point needs to be within a spreadsheet and why it needs to be there. Can they say the same about the IT team’s technology stack or the sales team’s go-to-market plan? With a culture underpinned by collaboration, employees won’t just learn how to get along. They’ll understand why each cog in your machine functions the way it does, as well as the effect of their work on their fellow employees, the end product, and the business as a whole.

Collaboration doesn’t need to apply only to interpersonal or interdepartmental work, either. For instance, learning to collaborate with machine learning tools is one way to keep employees engaged and productive. Far from replacing your employees, solutions like AIOps can support employees by delivering insights, automating mundane tasks, and reducing the risk of human error, all while freeing them up for the creative, innovative, and forward-looking parts of their jobs.

 

Continuous Improvements

Keep in mind that being transparent doesn’t just apply to the things you’re doing well. Renowned leadership expert Marshall Goldsmith once put it best: “What got you here won’t get you there.”

Being afraid of change has little place in today’s business landscape, where agility and flexibility are increasingly table stakes. If your organization is competitive and has longevity, it stands to reason that the challenges it faces tomorrow may not be the ones it met yesterday.

As the company grows, evolves, and shifts, make sure that the culture does as well. Otherwise, you may look around one day and realize that the business and its culture have fallen completely out of sync with one another. And nobody, least of all your teams, wants to start from square one.

Unlike technological observability solutions, no tool can monitor for cultural issues at the root cause and deliver tailored insights for remediation. And, unlike your beleaguered iPhone, your employees won’t accept “remind me to make these updates tomorrow” as an answer indefinitely.

The best way to know what improvements to make is simple: ask! With a diverse, distributed, and distanced workforce, the best practice for building company culture is to include your people in the process. Make a point of not just hearing but taking their feedback. To do this, you can host ongoing forums that empower teammates to feel comfortable sharing their feedback or hold quarterly anonymous surveys to gauge how your organization is doing. 

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Cultivate an Observable Culture

Any organization’s most valuable capital is its people. Your company culture should be shaped by and reflective of them, not vice versa. Become a leader who embraces observability in both your tech stacks and among your teams. You’ll gain more than just a clear view across your organization—you’ll gain a clearer understanding of the road to success ahead.

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