It has been fairly well-established that DevOps is primarily a function of the underlying culture—about breaking down barriers and shifting roles so that teams and individuals are empowered to come up with innovative ideas and execute them without the burden of traditional corporate bureaucracy. It is also understood that there are a variety of tools and platforms that enable and automate processes. However, before an organization can even get to the “How”—the culture and tools of DevOps—it should be able to answer the question, “Why?”
I reached out to organizations that have embraced DevOps and leaders in the field to see what they had to say about the “why.” What benefits can businesses expect, and what goals can adopting DevOps help them achieve—or achieve faster, or achieve cheaper?
“Delay in delivering innovation comes with an increasingly high price tag, perhaps the loss of an entire market to competitors,” says Forrester Analyst Charles Betz. “DevOps accelerates and improves the quality of software delivery, but that is not an end in itself. The increased speed provided by DevOps is essential to achieving the fast product feedback needed for digitally transforming enterprises to stay relevant and competitive.”
As Betz points out, companies should implement DevOps for the competitive advantage. Dave Lindquist, IBM Fellow and VP of Private Cloud for IBM, puts it another way: “DevOps is at the heart of the digital transformation. It’s how the next wave of disruptions are being developed and delivered.”
DevOps bridges the gap between development and operations teams. Inspired by agile development and continuous integration, and incorporating their principles, it addresses the challenges of today’s condensed timeline for application development.
In that way, the line between the “Why” and the “How” blurs into a bit of a gray area. Companies should adopt DevOps with specific goals in mind—a vision for what they expect it to do for them—because simply eliminating barriers or implementing tools and platforms without a strategy in place for what that is expected to accomplishment is likely to be a waste of time, money and effort. On the other hand, it is very difficult to execute or achieve those goals without also successfully navigating the “How.”
“Enterprises are navigating major technology shifts and demand is therefore higher than ever for simple and consistent automation and management across hybrid infrastructure and application portfolios,” says Marc Holmes, VP of Product and Revenue Marketing at Chef. “Organizations should adopt DevOps practices for both the culture and tooling to create a consistent and collaborative workflow so enterprises can build, manage and deploy software quickly and safely in any environment.”
“DevOps can have a direct effect on your bottom line. According to a recent study from Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), ‘Companies that excel at DevOps interactions are 11 times more likely to see double-digit annual revenue growth. It doesn’t stop at revenue growth either. According to EMA, 49 percent of organizations also agree that accelerated delivery frequency leads to higher customer satisfaction, and 35 percent find that it enables them to be more agile and competitive,’” notes Chris Lippi, VP of product at NGINX.
With its focus on automation, DevOps also helps to ensure predictability, efficiency, accuracy and the standardization of operational, development and testing processes. This, in turn, saves time and money by shortening the release cycle, reducing errors and lessening the need for time-consuming fixes. It also frees up resources to focus on more creative endeavors and on tackling larger problems as they arise.
Lippi sums it up this way: “Once implemented, DevOps tends to prove its business value in terms of time and cost savings. Making the business value of DevOps clear—to the newly unified team and beyond—helps DevOps culture take root.”
There are lots of tools and practices out there to choose from, and plenty of guidance and advice on how to implement a DevOps culture. Before you go down that path, though, step back and figure out what you hope to accomplish by adopting the culture, tools and practices.