With nearly 60% of businesses set to adopt MLOps by 2024, this function has quickly established itself as an indispensable part of the enterprise technology world. And with computing needs rapidly expanding as digital transformation efforts continue, the growth of the MLOps market is unlikely to stop anytime soon.
That said, as with any emerging technology–particularly something as powerful as MLOps–there is no shortage of potential pitfalls that businesses and their tech teams can fall into if they move too quickly. More importantly, these missteps can have significant impacts on a company’s ability to generate revenue and optimize performance.
With that in mind, below are three of the biggest mistakes that companies tend to make when adopting MLOps.
Jumping in Without Testing the Waters
If you doubt your MLOps maturity, you should probably wait. One of the biggest factors that undermine MLOps adoption and long-term success is that companies jump in before they are actually ready to adopt the technology. This not only leads to MLOps feeling like a burden but also often devolves the customer-vendor relationship into a transactional sales relationship rather than what it should be: a partnership. Onboarding technology needs to be a give-and-take process with ongoing dialogue between the customer and the vendor. If not, vendors – even the most ethical ones – have to rely on partial situational intelligence and guesswork to offer solutions that may or may not address the problems and deliver results. The best way to overcome this is for companies to map out exactly what MLOps challenges they are up against, what barriers are present, and also the outcomes they are looking for. With these key components understood and agreed to in advance, not only can companies make sure they are getting the best vendor partner, but the vendor can then provide much more tailored guidance.
Misunderstanding What MLOps Actually Is
There is a tendency among new adopters to distill MLOps down to the idea that it is made up of two components: Storage and compute. Yes, these are two significant elements of the MLOps equation, but this view is a massive oversimplification. Also, if it is not clarified at the outset, this misperception can lead organizations to feel overwhelmed by MLOps and make adoption less “sticky” as a result.
The fact is, MLOps is composed of numerous pieces–from experimentation to deployment–that each come with their own specific nuances. Each of these parts is interconnected to the next and can derail MLOps results if not properly planned for and maintained. In addition, making sure that every necessary component is functioning the way it should in order to meet the needs and expectations of each client takes time. So businesses and their broader DevOps teams need to be prepared to exercise patience if they have any hopes of successfully adopting MLOps in a way that is geared towards long-term sustainable results.
Not Realizing the Amount of Iteration MLOps Takes
When looking at projects from a traditional DevOps perspective, there is a common belief that if a project is stable enough to get it to DevOps, it is ready for production. With MLOps projects, however, this simply isn’t the case. In comparison to DevOps, MLOps is prone to evolution – meaning that iteration and reiteration are incredibly common. For example, in the midst of the MLOps process, companies will want to iterate over the existing process, sometimes at a much more frequent cadence than their software release cadence. This means that there is greater ongoing contact and collaboration between MLOps teams and other teams. This interaction stands in stark contrast to traditional DevOps projects where once production is complete, developers hand over the keys and are essentially hands-off. Businesses and their traditional DevOps teams need to become comfortable with this new way of doing business and build in the flexibility and leeway to make sure that while their MLOps is able to function correctly and grow, that it does so in a way that works for them.
Businesses are right to be excited about the prospect of adopting MLOps. However, to hit the ground running and deliver impact over the short, medium, and long term, it is essential that companies deploy a comprehensive strategy to ease onboarding headaches and make the process as seamless as possible. And by keeping these key missteps in mind, businesses can do just that.