New Relic + ETR Observability Study 

State of Observability for IT and Telco Organizations

New Relic | Daren Brabham PhD | ETR Research  

| June 06, 2024

In addition to being responsible for managing critical consumer infrastructure, IT and telco providers face high levels of industry regulation. Security and privacy are a constant concern. Consumers expect IT and telco providers to take their data management seriously and adhere to regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union, the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) in the United States, and the Consumer Data Right (CDR) in Australia. These concerns translate to a strong focus on the adoption of security and compliance policies, data controls, and user privacy. Additionally, consumers expect to engage with IT and telco providers not just online but via their mobile devices. This mobile-first expectation requires organizations to provide an optimal digital customer experience (DCX) and seamless connectivity.

New Relic's full report focuses on the adoption and business value of observability across the IT and telco industries and is based on insights derived from 423 respondents surveyed in association with the 2023 State of Observability Forecast, in conjunction with ETR. This article highlights some data from the IT/Telco Observability report, but the full version is available here and should not be missed.

Outage frequency and downtime

IT/telco organizations experienced high-business-impact outages at a higher frequency than other business types, with 37% reporting these outages at least once a week compared to the average of 32%. This finding means that IT/telco organizations had the second highest outage frequency across all industries.

Nearly half (44%) of IT/telco respondents said it takes at least 30 minutes to detect high-business-impact outages, and 23% said it takes at least an hour. Three in five (60%) indicated that it takes at least 30 minutes to resolve them, and 35% said it takes at least an hour. Given the relative frequency of outages noted above, this mean time to detect (MTTD) and mean time to resolve (MTTR) adds up to considerable downtime. In fact, the median annual downtime for IT/telco organizations was 26 hours, which is higher than the overall average of 23 hours.

Outage cost

All that downtime comes with a price tag. More than a third (35%) of IT/telco respondents said critical business app outages cost more than $500,000 per hour. Almost a quarter (22%) estimated these outages cost their organizations more than $1 million an hour. This adds up to a median annual outage cost of $12.71 million, which is notably higher than the $7.75 million annual outage cost across all industries surveyed and third highest overall compared to other industries.

It’s clear that the stakes are high. If an IT or telco provider’s website goes down or services are interrupted for 30 minutes, it could cost them millions of dollars and negatively influence its customers’ brand perception. But observability can help. For example, 65% said their MTTR has improved to some extent since adopting an observability solution. Additionally, IT/telco organizations that had achieved full-stack observability reported even more substantial MTTR improvements: 40% of those with full-stack observability said MTTR improved by 25% or more since adopting observability, compared to just 29% of respondents without full-stack observability.

Nearly half (48%) of IT/telco practitioners said observability helps improve their life the most by increasing productivity so they can find and resolve issues faster. Plus, 40% of all IT/telco respondents said observability improves system uptime and reliability, and 37% said it mitigates service disruptions and business risk.

The above is just a small selection of insightful data and analysis from New Relic's full report, which also discusses:

  • Trends driving IT/telco observability adoption
  • Observability capabilities deployed
  • Number of IT/telco data monitoring tools and preference
  • IT/telco observability spend
  • The business value of observability
  • Challenges preventing full-stack observability
  • The future of observability for IT/telco.


The emergence of AI, 5G, edge computing, and other technologies is greatly impacting IT and telco organizations and contributing to the creation of large amounts of data that are often contained within siloed environments. When combined with evolving consumer expectations for a reliable, mobile-first experience, high levels of industry regulation, and user privacy requirements, it’s clear that organizations in this arena are facing a gamut of challenges and changes.

Insights from the State of Observability for IT and Telco show that the IT and telecommunications industries are experiencing a high number of outages. Engineering teams are spending significant time and money tool-hopping to understand the different aspects of their business and resolve issues that lead to costly outages and poor customer experiences.

The data suggest that IT and telco organizations are beginning to consolidate tools. Given their strong interest in deploying more capabilities in the next few years, signs indicate that these organizations will move from point solutions to more robust platforms that provide end-to-end visibility. As the complicated networks of information that sit behind these organizations grows, the need for observability does too.

Read and download the full report on New Relic's website:

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