Digital transformation (DX) continues to be top of mind for leaders who are working to find new ways to improve their business outcomes and take full advantage of the new technologies and techniques that are now available. One topic continues to be consistent with these thoughts: DevOps.
DevOps is enabling business leaders to look at new opportunities in their market with more confidence. This is in large part due to the noticeable improvements in their company’s ability to deliver to the growing and dynamic needs of the market. New software and features can be delivered more quickly, providing exciting new opportunities.
The skills and tools necessary for DevOps are rapidly being adopted. According to a recent survey by IDC and NetApp, 38 percent of organizations are adding new DevOps skills into existing organizations as part of their IT investment and integration strategy for DX. They are applying these techniques to fulfill some of the early results that DevOps promises as well as providing a foundation for continued improvement.
DevOps and DX
While not every organization will develop the capabilities to achieve a true DevOps implementation, the following can be applied universally to support a successful DX.
Don’t Isolate the Legacy
There is a natural desire to put heavy focus on the newer modes of working exclusively. IT leaders will become very engaged in the evaluation and implementation of new tools, changes in culture, increased rate of deployments and outages and all of the meetings and planning involved.
Successful organizations work to modernize and evolve to improve processes universally. They apply new learning and new models to the entire environment, not just the innovation areas. This is not to say that more traditional applications will require a value stream that represents the next-generation applications being developed. On the contrary, those applications tend to not change very often. The intent should be to apply technologies such as configuration management, cloud and code management to these segments of the environment to deliver a more stable, predictable and self-service environment. This helps bring the entire organization up and provides a more effective working environment.
Fortunately, the latest generation of data center technology available consistently delivers APIs and SDKs that enable new and diverse capabilities. Vendors also are delivering native integrations that support control through common tools. IT organizations now have more flexibility in both their tool choices and the outcomes those tools deliver. Infrastructure investments are supporting the next generation of demands while still delivering the resiliency and features that have become critical to managing more traditional application types.
Change the Way You Measure
It is common for organizations adopting DevOps to experience a noticeable uptick in the frequency and severity of incidents, as we have seen reported in the “State of DevOps” report. If measurement of success continues to be defined by mean time to resolution and mean time between failures, it is now more than MTTR and MTBF.
Leaders have a tendency to focus on the negative, because it needs to be “fixed.” What went wrong? How can we keep it from happening again? A shift needs to occur as DevOps is implemented to help facilitate DX.
If this shift does not occur, organizations will likely begin to feel resistance to the critical changes being applied. Team members may also be less likely to explore to new ideas or to “touch that fragile system” in the value stream.
A stronger understanding and focus on what is working needs to become front of mind. How quickly can we confidently deploy a new feature? How much growth have we been able to support? How much sooner are we identifying bugs and potential issues? By exploring areas that are working, it is possible to apply these gains in other areas of the business.
Move the Whole Organization Forward
Tools may be critically important in the adoption of DevOps, but there is no substitute for the application of good leadership. Companies on their DX journey will need to re-evaluate elements of their business that may have been originally considered separate to the transition. Skills applied to the innovation segment of the transformation should be considered for application in the more steady-state elements of the business. This effort will increase the effectiveness of the organization as a whole, while also making it better-equipped to address the next phase of transformation.