DevOps tools and principles have dramatically increased the pace of innovation and enabled the organizations that have embraced them and used them most effectively to achieve a major strategic advantage over competitors. The more the world runs and relies on software, the more DevOps can be the engine to automate and facilitate change.
There was a time it took almost half a day to build a single car. Henry Ford managed to bring that down to two hours and 30 minutes thanks to the assembly line, but for over a hundred years most of the changes year to year in automobiles have required retooling manufacturing plants so updates and modifications are developed at a relative snail’s pace. Then Tesla came along with a car that is more or less just a framework for the software that runs on it and that can have new features and capabilities the next day through over-the-air software updates.
John Jeremiah, technology evangelist and team lead for HP Software, was quoted in a post earlier this year saying, “It was just a few years ago when nobody had heard of Uber. Now, every single taxi company or taxi service is under pressure to react to a company that owns no taxis. Why is that? It’s because they’ve used software.”
Tesla has an advantage over other automobiles because it can change the way its vehicles work or improve them with new features at the push of a button. Uber has an advantage over the traditional taxi industry because it has streamlined its service through a mobile app available on hundreds of millions of mobile devices and it can modify and improve the way it works with a simple update. Software has increased the ability for organizations to adapt more quickly and DevOps accelerates that evolution even faster through continuous innovation and the automation of routine tasks.
There will still be things that require physical change—an updated vehicle frame in the case of Tesla or a new feature that relies on cutting edge technology only available in the latest smartphone models in the case of Uber. Software alone can’t do it all.
The areas where software makes a difference, though, DevOps has a major impact. A recent study conducted by Gene Kim and a team of researchers found that organizations that have embraced DevOps tools and principles effectively have 8,000 times faster lead times and 30 times more frequent deployments than their peers. They also have 12 times faster mean time to recovery when issues arise and are twice as likely to exceed profitability, market share and productivity goals. Those are all significant statistics that impact the bottom line and separate the companies that win from their struggling rivals.
Companies that can harness the power of DevOps and continuous innovation to develop new apps and capabilities faster and that have the capacity to push those updates out to existing customers have a significant advantage over competitors still slogging through “innovating” the old-fashioned way. It’s hard to compete with companies that are deploying 30 times faster than you and have twice the profitability and market share.