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Changing Mindsets: Software Dev as a Business Driver

By Derek Langone, CEO, XebiaLabs

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Derek Langone, CEO, XebiaLabs

What makes DevOps so al­luring is the fact that it delivers tangible busi­ness benefits in terms of effective use of resources and profitability, but it also boosts the overall quality of your prod­uct.

Speed and quality are important strategic advantages over competitors, and the right approach in the fast-paced world of software application develop­ment can deliver both. That’s because the faster you can reach the market, test, collect feedback, and iterate, the faster your product improves with all stake­holders responding accordingly.

DevOps is breaking down the barriers between departments. Continuous Delivery is providing an end-to-end framework that can help IT teams to deliver applications faster and more efficiently than ever before. Greater collaboration and communication leads to everyone being invested in the process. A shared understanding of the needs of the end user and a desire to meet them is a clearroute to an exceptional product.

By the numbers

The drive to DevOps is neatly illustrated in IDC’s DevOps and the Cost of Downtime report. The vast majorities of the companies interviewed are working on implementing DevOps practices because it has been proven that embracing DevOps will deliver an improved customer experience, lower IT costs, improve employee productivity, lead to higher growth and profits, and mitigate security risks.

“With the rise of DevOps and Continuous Delivery, application development can be seen as a strategic advantage, not a cost center”

Evidence from the front lines, where it’s already working, is very encouraging. The right DevOps approach and tools are leading to 30 times more frequent deployments, and lead times that are 8,000 times faster than peers, according to research done by DevOp guru Gene Kim and others. Changes are twice as likely to succeed, and twice as likely to exceed profitability or productivity goals. When things do go wrong, high-performing IT organizations are 12 times faster to recover.

Automation lightens the load

The automation of routine tasks re­moves some of the development bur­den, freeing resources to focus on improving the end product. Going for­ward, security, compliance, and audit­ing can also inform the design earlier so that requirements for coverage are embedded in the automation suite. This will lower considerably any secu­rity and business risks. As long as you have an overall insight into the health of your software, through aggregation and analysis, you can dramatically speed up delivery of new features and reduce risk at the same time. An effec­tive automation suite and a frictionless pipeline provide peace of mind and a solid platform for innovation.

Easier said than done

It’s vital to secure buy-in from all the stakeholders, not just the development team. Culture change is a prerequisite for successful adoption of DevOps and Continuous Delivery. Educate, take steps, and put the right metrics in place, so you can gradually prove that this approach works and then roll it out more widely.

The IDC report also highlighted the need for new tooling, by showcasing the fact that 80 percent of IT organizations that tried to custom adjust current tools failed. Managing a subset of different systems and tools can hamper the effectiveness of a DevOps approach and slow down your Continuous Delivery pipeline. It takes careful consideration to find the right glue to bind everything together.

Automation and innovation go hand-in-hand

By having much of the monotonous burden shifted to automation, developers can flex their creative muscles. Focusing on software design and removing obstacles on the path to release through DevOps and Continuous Delivery is enablingbanks to succeed on both the revenue and customer satisfaction sides.

Automating monotonous processes will liberate employees for more creative contribution. You aren’t replacing staff with automated tests, you’re freeing them up to focus on usability and other valuable elements. Developers, IT, and testers can all deliver more benefit when they’re supported by an automated system, and they’ll continue to augment that solid foundation to build something that gets better every day.

The ability to adapt quickly and seize on innovations before your competitors do can make the difference between success and failure. There’s no longer any doubt that DevOps works, now it’s time to figure out how best to make it work for you. 

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