The shift to digital is certainly not new. But the speed of digital adoption has been accelerated as organizations react to the COVID-19 pandemic and implement remote working and contactless or self-service channels for customers. What’s more, the evidence shows that trend is here to stay.
Analyst Gartner’s CIO Agenda 2021 report shows that 76% of CIOs reported increased demand for new digital products and services as a result of the pandemic. But far from being a temporary spike, 83% of CIOs said they expect that to increase further in 2021. There was also a 65% increase in the use of self-service by customers during the crisis, and 79% of CIOs expect that figure to grow next year, too.
These trends all put increasing pressure on DevOps teams to drive continuous improvement and development of products. Some 83% of developers say they are releasing code faster and more often than ever before, according to the “2019 State of DevOps Report.”
But with the pressure to develop faster, there is a battle to find the right balance between speed and quality. Move the needle too far toward either end of that spectrum and the results can be equally disastrous for the business.
In Digital, Quality Matters
Rushing releases and updates out too quickly can lead to poor quality or defective code. If this impacts the user experience, it can have a significant impact on adoption and ratings. A report on commercial and retail app testing by Testlio, for example, shows that 50% of users won’t download an application with a three-star rating from an app store. And that rises to 85% for an application with just a two-star rating.
In the second annual OverOps DevOps survey, over half of respondents said they encounter critical or customer-impacting issues in production at least one or more times a week. And more than 40% of critical production issues are first reported by end users or customers rather than by internal monitoring and alerting tools.
But 45% of developers in the same study said they are under pressure to move fast, which doesn’t give them enough time to ensure the quality of the code they are producing.
While DevOps has tools to develop, test, ship and containerize software, there is often a lack of governance and orchestration. This makes it difficult to get that balance between speed and quality.
The major challenge for DevOps is the time-consuming and manual nature of testing and QA, which causes new releases and updates to be either delayed or of poor quality. The testing life cycle remains highly manual and updates must be tested across all devices, platforms and networks.
More than half (55%) of respondents to Kobiton’s “State of Test Automation” survey for 2020-2021 said automating testing would improve software quality. Yet just over three-quarters (76%) said they still conduct most of their testing manually.
And it is this lack of automation and orchestration that is really holding back DevOps efforts in many organizations today. In a survey by research analyst Forrester, “Face the Workflow Automation Gap Head On,” two-thirds (67%) of IT leaders said the lack of application workflow orchestration leads to services not being completed in time and 55% admit that it takes valuable time away from strategic initiatives.
Managing the DevOps Workflow
The key to ensuring better governance and quality in DevOps and overcoming the manual effort and time pressure is to integrate automated workflow orchestration into the software development lifecycle process.
This orchestration enables DevOps teams to test early and often, and ensure new releases and updates are ready to go to a live production environment.
For example, modern workload automation tools allow IT ops teams to easily standardize processes in development, test and deployment with the help of built-in wizards and templates. And rollback capabilities and automated process documentation take much of the pain out of managing DevOps processes. Workload automation also provides greater coordination with highly configurable automation that only runs processes when a certain set of conditions is met.
Ultimately, this helps DevOps teams automate and streamline the QA and testing processes so changes are carried over into the production environment without developers having to manually transfer new code from the testing environment.
And that means DevOps teams can automatically enforce governance and standards and maintain that essential balance between speed and quality in today’s digital norm.