Skillsoft Blog

DevOps – Out of the IT Shadow

DevOps - Out of the IT Shadow

I know the title sounds like something out of a bad movie but in the spirit of good faith, stay with me.

The DevOps market size is expected to grow from $3.42 billion in 2018 to $ 10.31 billion by 2023.

That’s a phenomenal figure, especially when the subject of DevOps is for many people somewhat ambiguous and misunderstood. For others, particularly the tech crew, it’s a touchy area. To them, this is old news, and for years now they’ve tried to get us all on board but to no avail.

What is DevOps?

Tamlin Magee, online editor at Computerworld UK writes, “As the name suggests, it’s a marriage of ‘development’ and ‘operations’ – but in practice, the term is a wide umbrella promoting collaboration, automation, and potentially radical changes to company culture.”

I like to think of DevOps as the way to ensure all departments collaborate and work together producing the software that will improve the smooth running of the organization for all.

Why DevOps now?

Yes, DevOps is nothing new, and yet at the minute it’s garnering a lot of attention, a trend I expect to continue for quite some time. Many factors contribute to this, but fundamentally its rise in popularity is tied to the meteoric rise of the role IT now plays in every aspect of business. Meanwhile, the continuous emergence of digital/infiltrating technologies across cloud, mobile and applications mean technological data is now even more valuable.

This emphasis on technology is having the knock-on effect of making the role of CIO more critical and elemental to business than ever before. In some organizations, the CIO now has a seat at the table, and this position ensures organizations can now design and produce solutions in-house tailored to address specific strategic and employee needs, thereby improving the outcomes for both the bottom line and the employee.

This shift for IT, from siloed to centralized function, is fantastic and the added value that it creates is driving the rise of CIOs and IT Directors.  Now that business and IT are working so closely together there is even a new title – Chief Digital Officer with some predicting this new role will eventually replace the CEO.

DevOps is nothing new, and yet at the minute it’s garnering a lot of attention, a trend I expect to continue for quite some time. Many factors contribute to this, but fundamentally its rise in popularity is tied to the meteoric rise of the role IT now plays in every aspect of business. Meanwhile, the continuous emergence of digital/infiltrating technologies across cloud, mobile and applications mean technological data is now even more valuable.

DevOps – Why should I care?

In the 1960’s the average lifespan of a Fortune 500 company was 75 years. Today, it’s around 15 years. Think about what this means. A few years back no one could have anticipated that technology would one day disrupt the taxi industry, but look at what Uber, or the people behind it, achieved by combining Agile and DevOps with technologies like cloud and microservices to transform (dare I say replace) an age-old industry.

Or think about this – a recent CIO trend report found that even a basic chat-bot can produce a 10% increase in customer satisfaction. Think what this insight says to a business leader, the technology is here so why didn’t we think of it and implement it yesterday?

Before an organization jumps head first into such a project, a word of caution. Here are some questions that need answering.

  • How will the CIO and IT team react to a kick-off that only focuses on development?
  • Has anyone given any thought or consideration to other elements of the project?
  • How will IT find the resources to execute the plan?
  • What if it fails?

Digital transformation and DevOps

Everyone is talking about digital transformation and with good cause. The only drawback is that the rate of change digital transformation technology is precipitating is producing a fail-fast or fail-forward agile attitude. While we can all agree this is desirable, what happens when the digital project fails?

The failure of a single digital project can cost around 337,381 or $390,000, and we know that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Here’s where DevOps can help.

The Fujitsu PACT report suggests that what is needed for digital transformation projects to succeed is an emphasis on people, actions, collaboration, and technology — all pieces of a puzzle that can only be completed if all are included.

Coordinating all the pieces? Yes, DevOps can do that.

The Benefits of DevOps

What I love about DevOps is there are just so many advantages or benefits to it that it’s a win-win for everyone. There is also the employee culture, the idea that everyone in the organization shares the same vision for the company and their job. In the military, they call this “the sharp end” where everyone, no matter who they are or where they rank, points toward the same goal.

This “all in” mentality is mirrored by a story I heard about a VP at a large insurance company who when they define DevOps talks about how everyone received a T-Shirt that read “Everyone is responsible for delivery to production.”

I like to use this example. If the restroom is busted and an engineer wastes 20 minutes to use one on another floor, the janitor is now responsible for a delay in deployment to production.

 DevOps is no longer just a set of tools like Puppet or Chef to set automation, speed up and avoid recreating the wheel; it is the symbiotic relationship between technology and operational business lines to change behaviour.

“The tools we use reinforce the behavior; the behavior reinforces the tool. Thus, if you want to change your behavior, change your tools.”

Adam Jacob, CTO, Chef

 

Christopher Sly is a Solution Principal, IT & Digital at Skillsoft EMEA.

 

 

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