When you look around tech markets—almost any tech market—you can see an obvious overlap. Tons of markets that are complementary and that take different approaches to solving the same problem, or markets that have grown into each other over time.
This happens in highly active marketplaces. People have great ideas and implement them but someone else thinks a different approach is warranted, and the two don’t directly compete until they have to. There is competition within a market, and then there is competition of markets. I think we are about to see a massive increase in competition of IT and, specifically, DevOps markets. I admit to trying to write this without veering into topics I’m currently covering, so bear with me.
Let’s take dynamic app protection as a topic. You can do that through your DevSecOps vendor, you can do that through your WAF vendor, you can ask around about AAP vendors if your WAF vendor isn’t one, you can do that through a variety of plug-ins and tools offered for web hosting software like Apache or NGINX … Indeed, IDP is actually just attempting to protect your apps dynamically. I’m sure I’ve missed several other markets that have rushed to fill the gap where live applications were getting nailed by hackers. I chose one market, but pick one in DevOps and start digging. You’ll find the same crazy amount of overlap.
The thing is, we don’t need fifteen solutions to one problem; we need one or two—a handful at most. And combining the fact that most of these markets are way overdue for consolidation (considering the stresses the global economy is placing on trade) and I suspect we’re going to see a fair amount of that consolidation happen in a relatively short period of time.
This matters to you for a couple reasons. First, if you think one approach to solving a problem is significantly better than the others currently available, your organization should be investing money there by paying for products and services. “More of us should have bought Betamax” is not a great look. Second, someone needs to keep an eye on how these changes impact the IT environment. If one of your DevOps tool’s vendors is in a merger, inevitably one of the merged organizations takes over and everyone does things their way. That’s not necessarily bad, but can be a scary time if, suddenly, you get an email about a change to a system that’s core to your department. Be aware of what’s going on out there and at least have thought about how you would respond if apps—or an entire market—disappear or are significantly changed.
And, honestly, because it is the apps we are always talking about—DevOps, mostly—that are most likely to converge with a nearby market, it can seem huge. But remember that the core systems went through this long ago, and while they may go through another iteration of “merge this with that” in the future, it won’t be a huge volume like what the currently very active and young markets appear to be about to suffer.
So don’t worry too much about which make/gradle/whatever variants you are using or what languages, which overlap incredibly, but tend toward niches. Focus on market spaces still growing and expanding. Know what might be at risk, and have awareness of whether you need to care today or you still have time before the market in question implodes or merges with nearby ones.
And own it. We both know that when the time comes, whether you were prepared or not, you’ll rock a solution out—because that’s what you do, and there is no one behind IT to hand off to. So keep making your organization look great and just stay aware of the wider IT market trends so you’re not caught completely off-guard.