In the past five years business cycles have greatly accelerated, forcing companies to respond faster to customer needs and competitive demands. This trend has been driven by business adoption of consumer-oriented technologies like social media, smart phones, b2c internet services. We all expect to have a constant stream of new services and capabilities delivered to us quickly and with little disruption.
There is currently intense competition across all industries, creating a digital “survival of the fittest” business environment. If a business function can be enhanced by a digital solution, it will be. Most enterprises are now dependent on the rapid implementation of new digital technology and the software solutions to remain competitive.
This extraordinary change has been achieved in part through adoption of Agile development, which promotes close collaboration between business users and developers. In Agile, environments, software development is broken into well-defined intervals with the goal of releasing software quickly, generally within less than a month. Updates are ongoing and nearly continuous, allowing product development teams to pare delivery time by 50 percent or more.
Adobe is a good example of this new way of doing things. After deploying CloudMunch DevOps platform Adobe has increased the pace of application development by as much as 60 percent.
Already, companies like Twitter, GameStop and Etsy use Agile processes as part of DevOps for continuous innovation. In fact, in a recent IPO prospectus, Etsy noted it updates code every 20 minutes, or 70 times per day. In 2014, the company executed 10,000 code “deploys”—a number that was inconceivable just a few years ago.
However, there is a disconnect between traditional IT processes and new Agilde and DevOps delivery processes. Here are three barriers to integrating Agile and DevOps in the enterprise:
- Traditional operational IT processes are much longer than intervals used in Agile. While IT is often planned and measured in quarters on an annual budget cycle, Agile development may happen on a two-week sprint. Once built, a business group is eager to use these new capabilities, but most IT organizations aren’t prepared to deploy new capabilities that quickly.
- The supporting software ecosystems are very complex, since applications are built by standing on the shoulders of giants. The comprehensive features supporting software allow development teams to focus on the desired business capabilities rather than low-level utility components. Since all of these components are updated frequently, the process of tracking and deploying the right supporting ecosystem presents a complex problem.
- Agile teams have autonomy in the use of development tooling, which results in a number of different and disconnected development tools being used. This also makes it difficult to implement these processes and provide the metrics that provide a consistent view of the enterprise portfolio of development projects.
Using modern tools for success in today’s hybrid cloud
To support rapid implementation of infrastructure needed to support the Agile delivery process, enterprises are increasingly moving more of their essential business operations to the cloud. For example, Adobe has embraced CloudMunch, a DevOps platform to automate delivery of software updates to dozens of its products, pushing multiple updates more quickly and easily to its customers.
Today, most companies have a hybrid IT infrastructure, comprised of both on-premise and cloud systems. While they have moved many functions to the cloud to take advantage of the benefits of cloud computing, they still keep many systems in-house. In the past, they’ve used development tools like Chef and Jenkins to manage application development and infrastructure automation, but these aren’t enough in today’s hybrid environment. Increasingly, businesses need to plug in and integrate their developers’ chosen tools into a single workspace to apply Agile development to a DevOps environment with a single dashboard. This will be critical if enterprises need to do Agile and DevOps at scale
This ability to manage Agile development in a hybrid cloud environment will become even more important in the next decade. Already, new platforms have emerged, allowing development teams to better orchestrate multiple toolsets & processes in a single “pane of glass” to streamline collaboration and application delivery. To stay competitive, businesses should assess their development infrastructure to ensure they don’t get left behind as technology progresses.
The impact of these accelerating changes in virtually every industry is astounding, affecting every facet of an organization, from company culture to management styles and business infrastructure. This is driven by changing customer expectations — breakneck speed and complexity have become the new normal. Companies are being forced to seek new development methods and leverage the cloud to create software that has the capacity to continuously adapt to ever-changing user needs.
These new approaches mean companies need to intensify collaboration and address the disconnect that exists between the old and new worlds. Successful integration of DevOps and Agile development will play a key role in the success of companies in today’s digital economy. In the new landscape, it’s about rapid, continuous high quality software delivery for the digital world, and companies that can do this at enterprise scale will outpace those that struggle to adapt.
About the Author/Pradeep Prabhu
Pradeep Prabhu, Co-founder and CEO CloudMunch, Previously Pradeep was Vice President and Head of SaaS for Infosys, where in his 18-year career he was instrumental in growing the tech company to a multi-billion dollar business. Before pioneering Infosys’ SaaS business, Pradeep incubated the Infosys-Microsoft solutions and alliance program and the Microsoft Technology Center. His previous leadership roles include establishing the Infosys Seattle office and delivering many successful software programs for marquee clients like Amazon, Boeing and Microsoft and conceptualizing and launching the internet banking product eFinacle, which today is installed in banks around the globe. Follow on twitter @cloudmunch