Digital transformation is one of the hottest buzzwords in the technology industry today. While it tends to be overused, the term does represent a widespread, ongoing movement that will set a standard for the next generation of enterprises.
Digital transformation is all about keeping up with the pace of innovation and using technology to achieve business goals. A key differentiator in the age of digital transformation is customer experience. Consumers are increasingly engaging with brands on digital platforms, whether it be a website, social media profile or mobile app. The foundation of all these platforms is, of course, software.
Agile software delivery is key because it helps organizations innovate faster and gets new software in the hands of consumers sooner. This requires new, more productive ways of working for enterprise IT teams. Development teams have already undergone several “transformations” in recent years, from the siloed waterfall approach to agile methodology and now DevOps. Software is the true differentiator in the age of digital transformation, and many companies are using DevOps to ensure their software meets the standard.
Here are a few best practices for using DevOps to keep up with the pace of digital transformation:
- Automate wherever possible. We no longer collect the work of multiple engineers over multiple sprints into a release. To out-innovate the competition in the digital transformation era, a team must release the work of a single engineer as soon as it is ready. This is usually accomplished through a CI/CD pipeline directly from the source repository through automated testing and then deployment into production, preferably without any human intervention. Choosing the right tools for your IT environment will cut costs, time and room for error.
- Align the goals of development and security. DevOps isn’t limited to just the development and operations teams. Without security, all progress made in the digital transformation era is at risk to cybercriminals. The accelerating software development life cycle means little time for security analysis or penetration testing when the release candidate is ready to deploy. To ensure a piece of software is secure before pushing it to market, security standards must be included in the definition of “done.” Preventative scanning will not only train developers to write secure code, but will allow the software to pass the assurance tests included in any good CI/CD pipeline.
- Measure ROI. Measuring the impact of DevOps can be extremely difficult and up to interpretation because of the focus on culture and processes. However, it’s important for DevOps teams to gain continued executive buy-in and dedicated resources by proving their value. The value of DevOps is determined in terms of achieving improved business outcomes. There are specific questions to ask to help determine ROI: How long does it take to release a code change? How long does it take for a product to reach a customer’s hands? The ability to continually deliver quality software faster results in a positive customer experience, ultimately improving brand reputation and revenue.
While keeping up with the competition is necessary in the digital transformation era, putting customer experience first is how the true leaders succeed. By shortening the software development cycle, DevOps speeds the pace of innovation for an organization and helps earn customer trust and retention. Implementing these best practices can help a business use DevOps to place software and customer engagement at the heart of its digital transformation.