Machinery working heart example of the digital immune system at work

Gartner 2023 Trend: What is the Digital Immune System?

Gartner expects these 2023 trends to impact enterprise strategies in the coming three years: The biggest one is optimizing resilience, operations, or trust. Another important area is scaling vertical solutions, product delivery or everywhere. On many technology roadmaps is the importance of pioneering customer engagement.

Below you will find critical ways the Digital Immune System enhances the client experience by combining multiple risk-aversion software engineering strategies. It delivers resilient systems that mitigate operational and security risks through observability, automation, and extreme design and testing.

Gartner’s Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends allow you to align your technology innovation with the future strategic objectives of your enterprise.


What Is a Digital Immune System?

A digital immune system (DIS) combines practices and technologies for software design, development, operations, and analytics to mitigate business risks.

A powerful Digital Immune System shields and protects applications and services from anomalies such as the effects of software bugs or security flaws by making applications more resilient and proficient in recovering quickly from failures. DIS can reduce the business continuity risks that arise when critical applications and services are seriously affected or fail to function.

Enterprises face unprecedented challenges in ensuring resilient operating environments, accelerated digital delivery, and the reliable end-user experience,

Joachim Herschmann, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner.

Why Does a Digital Immune System Matter?

Optimum DIS interlink practices from the areas of observability, software testing, chaos engineering, site reliability engineering, and supply chain security of applications. A digital immune system involves a combination of software design, development, automation, operations, and analytical technologies to enhance the user experience (UX), which will reduce system failures that impact business performance. A DIS protects applications and services, making them more resilient and allowing them to recover quickly from failures. 

According to a recent Gartner survey on overcoming digital execution barriers, nearly half of respondents (48%) stated that the primary goal of their digital investments is to improve the customer experience (CX). DIS will be essential in ensuring that CX is not jeopardized by defects, system failures, or anomalies such as software bugs or security flaws. 

By 2025, organizations that invest in building digital immunity will increase customer satisfaction by decreasing downtime by 80%.


Six Prerequisites for a Strong Digital Immune System

When building digital immunity, begin by developing a strong vision statement that will help to align the organization and ensure smooth implementation. Then consider these six practices and technologies listed below: 

  • Observability enables software and systems to be “seen”. Building observability into applications serves as a useful tool for levels of sensitivity with accuracy and resilience and as well as improves UX by observing user behavior. 
  • AI-augmented Testing allows organizations to make software testing activities less reliant on human interference. It supports and extends traditional test automation by providing fully automated test planning, creation, maintenance, and analysis. 
  • Chaos Engineering engages experimental testing to identify flaws and weaknesses in a complex system. Teams can safely master the practice in a nonintrusive and test-first manner used in preproduction environments, and then apply the lessons learned to normal operations and production hardening. 
  • Auto-remediation’s goal is to integrate context-sensitive monitoring and automated remediation functions straight into an application. It monitors itself, automatically corrects issues as they arise, and returns to a normal working state without the involvement of operations personnel. It can also prevent problems by combining observability with chaos engineering to fix a bad user experience.  
  • Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) is a set of engineering principles and practices focused on improving CX and retention by leveraging service level objectives to drive service management. It balances the need for speed with stability and risk, reducing rework and technical debt for development teams, which allows them to focus more on creating engaging UX.
  • Software Supply Chain Security addresses the risk of software supply chain attacks. The software bills of materials (BOM) improve the visibility, transparency, security, and integrity of open-source and proprietary code in the software supply chain. Strong version control policies use an artifact store for trusted content and vendor risk management throughout the lifecycle. This protects the integrity of internal and external code.

How Will Digital Immunity Improve Your Software Quality?

Software and application engineering leaders who build the five elements of a digital immune system will increase end-user satisfaction through applications that achieve greater uptime and deliver a stronger user experience.

Digital immunity enables the following significant changes in the software and application engineering approach:

  • Replaces the traditional application or project-centric quality focus, which promotes an ecosystem-wide view of quality. 
  • Incorporates quality into every aspect of the application development process as defined by the end-user’s needs. 
  • Determines the roles, technologies, and practices required to build resilient applications and appoint personnel with the necessary skills.


To create digital immunity that is as powerful as possible, you must first evaluate what makes for an engaging user experience (UX). Always ask questions such as “how could it perform better?” or “how could it possibly be more resilient?” This calls for an innovative mentality, a move toward incorporating quality into the product, and preparation for the possibility that bugs will find their way into production software.