Tabrez Surve, Regional Director – Gulf, Levant & Turkey, F5 Networks discusses the key challenges that organisations face while adopting DevOps.
Customer expectations continue to relentlessly rise as new technological opportunities emerge. Today, organisations demand that products and application features are delivered and implemented wherever and whenever needed. Everywhere you look, execution is at risk of falling behind imaginations and business imperatives. That is, of course, unless DevOps is starting to wield a strategic and philosophic influence.
DevOps has been one of the hottest enterprise trends for some time now, and a crucial concept in helping companies satisfy customer demands by bringing teams together to fuel better collaboration and innovation.
According to Deloitte, organisations adopting DevOps see an 18% to 21% reduction in time to market. By removing the waste that impedes software development, operations are streamlined, and businesses can react faster to market demands. At the same time, automation enables companies to align business objectives with processes to immediately recover from IT failures. Deloitte also reports that the speedy, DevOps-influenced, customer-friendly release of new products and services led to a 20% revenue increase.
While that is all well and good, DevOps is still a new topic many. Large scale adoption is generally slow. It is important to note that DevOps is not simply the implementation of new tools. It is all about rebooting deep-rooted cultural habits, transforming old processes, and ensuring all changes are made for the right reasons. Don’t embrace DevOps for the sake of it. Only proceed if you have clarity and purpose.
1. Breaking of the deep-rooted, cultural habits
DevOps is not a team. It is a culture of collaboration that yields a set of best practices and operational cultures. Sometimes companies wanting to adopt a DevOps approach are met with resistance from employees uncomfortable with change. Leadership needs to come from the top. Executives must support employees in dismantling the status quo and breaking down silos hindering successful implementation. Motivation rises when results are positive, concrete and observable. There is no magic formula but, if you get the right leadership and culture in place, the chances are DevOps will land with resonance. Gartner reports that 88% of businesses believe team culture is one of the top impacts on an organisation’s ability to scale DevOps.
2. Changing well defined processes to more efficient ones
The best way to identify inefficiencies is to map processes and recognise what is and isn’t working. Start by looking for waste – areas where resources are being exhausted without delivering real value. A silo-influenced lack of communication can significantly slow down businesses and there is a risk that each department will think DevOps is not their responsibility. Some may be resistant to implementing change, which will cause unnecessary lags within the business. It is vital to understand that it is not just the responsibility of software developers to ensure the processes work for them. DevOps is a process that brings development teams and other IT stakeholders together to achieve one common goal: delivering faster, higher quality work to market.
3. Beware of DevOps for DevOps sake
With DevOps, companies can streamline and automate every task. That doesn’t mean that it’s right for every element of every business. Often companies will pick a couple of departments to trial a DevOps approach with – usually the development team. The temptation is then to continue scaling across the organisation as soon as positive results are apparent. The issue here is that different departments all have different needs and challenges and, as we’ve already said, effective DevOps rollout requires an overhaul of processes and ways of working. Organisations need to be careful that they think about specific business needs and not are not just engaged in a rudderless trend chase. Know your objectives before engaging in sweeping overhauls. Keep learning and, above all, stay tuned to customer needs.