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New Splunk Research Finds Declining Confidence in Public Sector IT Operations

IT Operators See Promise in DevOps and New Technologies to Fuel Mission Success

SAN FRANCISCO – July 19, 2017Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLK), provider of the leading software platform for real-time Operational Intelligence, today unveiled the results of the 2017 Splunk Public Sector IT Operations Survey. The Ponemon Institute survey of nearly 1,250 global public sector IT decision makers and managers revealed that public sector organizations undergoing digital transformation are losing confidence in IT Operations’ ability to manage the influx of new technologies and evolving citizen and mission expectations. Despite the rising complexity of IT, respondents see promise in DevOps to help achieve future mission success. Download the full 2017 Splunk Public Sector IT Operations Survey on the Splunk website.

The survey polled a wide range of Public Sector IT professionals from national and local government agencies, national security, emergency services, higher education institutions and aerospace and defense. A converging host of factors and trends including constantly shifting budgets, changing regulatory compliance and modernization initiatives have contributed to declining confidence, but emerging technologies focused on automation and increased visibility are helping Public Sector organizations today. Among the key findings, at least 60 percent of respondents felt as or less confident in carrying out their responsibilities in the following areas than they did 12 months ago:

  • Handling the scale and complexity of IT operations
  • Assuring performance and availability to consistently meet service level agreements
  • Pinpointing root-causes and sources of failure quickly
  • Ensuring efficiency of IT operations
  • Migrating workloads and applications to the cloud

“The confidence gap we are seeing maps to other industry and government technology trends including growing public scrutiny, ever-present resource limitations and rapidly increasing expectations of technology by end-users. There’s never been a more important time for public sector organizations to embrace analytics to help them face and overcome these challenges with data,” said Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute. “It’s a challenging time to work in Government IT, but there are plenty of reasons to be hopeful for the future. It’s not surprising public sector IT leaders are looking to analytics, cloud and DevOps to help accelerate IT performance and management.”

IT Operations in Constant, Reactive Fire Drill Mode Due to Silos and Lack of Visibility

The survey also highlighted reasons for the overall loss of confidence across the Public Sector. Respondents felt that siloed IT systems and technologies, and an inability to integrate those systems (72 percent), were keeping them in a constant reactive state rather than being able to proactively plan for the future. IT managers also cited the lack of end-to-end visibility (73 percent) and too many alerts and false-positives (55 percent) among the biggest threats to service delivery along with a lack of skills, expertise and resources to effectively accomplish their jobs. Even where analytics tools were in place, most respondents felt they were ineffective at helping quickly pinpoint issues and determine root causes (78 percent).

As a result of limited visibility, overly manual processes and alert fatigue, the survey also found that the average system outage took 44 hours to resolve, while requiring 12.5 staff remembers to restore operational status to IT systems. This extended length of time and confusion often puts IT operators further underwater as they struggle to find the balance of executing on day-to-day operations while setting long-term proactive IT strategy.

Optimism About New Tech

Despite a current lack of confidence, Public Sector IT operators see an optimistic future for increased adoption of DevOps, with roughly half of respondents anticipating increased spending devoted to it (46 percent) over the next 12 months. Additionally, respondents were encouraged by new network visibility and machine learning technologies and capabilities, saying they could have a major impact on improving and strengthening IT operations in the future.

“There’s no question that a lack of visibility is a major factor shaking the confidence of IT operations staff and management,” said Kevin Davis, vice president of public sector, Splunk. “A majority of IT decision makers do not think or are unsure if challenges such as IT troubleshooting, service monitoring, security and business and mission analytics can be addressed using a single set of data. Splunk has helped many of our customers realize this and ultimately become more analytics driven. By giving our customers the ability to ingest data once and use it across their IT infrastructure, public sector organizations can get ahead of IT modernization programs, ultimately helping them embrace digital transformation.”

Splunk experts will be available to discuss survey findings in deeper detail at Black Hat 2017 (booth #1254) as well as at .conf2017, Splunk’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., taking place from September 25-28, 2017.


The Ponemon Institute surveyed 1,227 decision makers and operations staff across federal civilian agencies (31 percent), federal defense and intelligence agencies (29 percent), state and local government agencies (18 percent), higher education institutions (9 percent), and federal systems integrators including aerospace and defense contractors (13 percent). The margin of error was 3.8 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. The survey polled IT workers and leaders from IT organizations of at least 100 people or more and was conducted on behalf of Splunk through online interviews in May 2017.

About Splunk Inc.

Splunk Inc. (NASDAQ: SPLK) is the market leader in analyzing machine data to deliver Operational Intelligence for security, IT and the business. Splunk® software provides the enterprise machine data fabric that drives digital transformation. More than 13,000 customers in over 110 countries use Splunk solutions in the cloud and on-premises. Join millions of passionate users by trying Splunk software for free:

Splunk, Splunk>, Listen to Your Data, The Engine for Machine Data, Splunk Cloud, Splunk Light and SPL are trademarks and registered trademarks of Splunk Inc. in the United States and other countries. All other brand names, product names, or trademarks belong to their respective owners. © 2017 Splunk Inc. All rights reserved.

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