Digital business is changing the competitive environment; the proliferation of startups created by highly qualified unemployed seniors and entrepreneurs, the increasing adoption of cloud which reduces IT cost and the Internet of Things substituting traditional services with digital services are forcing business lines (BL) to opt for new paradigms. Market responsiveness achieved through flexible IT environments is what they need; extending DevOps to competitive and revenue issues and establishing it as the foundation of IT operating models is what’ll make IT organizations relevant. That’s what enterprise DevOps is about.
Why DevOps initiatives struggle to meet BL expectations
Despite its accelerated adoption, DevOps remains either misunderstood or improperly implemented. Today’s implementation approaches have several weaknesses:
Market responsiveness confusion with application delivery acceleration
DevOps confusion with automation tools
CIOs’ lack of IT transformation strategy
Market responsiveness isn’t about speed but timely revenue
One of the reasons certain DevOps initiatives don’t generate business benefits is, 90 percent of IT consultants misunderstand market responsiveness; they erroneously narrow it to the capacity to deliver software at the speed of light. Simply put, market responsiveness relates to the continuous and accelerated delivery of added-value services, the bottom line isn’t speed but timely revenue.
In fact, what BLs expect from IT is a greater focus on added-value priorities and the ability to absorb unpredictable market turbulences; that fact is substantiated by Patrick Phillips, in a bombshell “IT must adapt or die” he alerts “Five years ago less than 25 percent of business leaders rated their IT function effective at delivering the capabilities they need. Today that number hasn’t changed. IT functions have strived tirelessly to understand demand, set priorities, deliver effectively, and capture value, yet the results still disappoint.”
Narrowing DevOps to tools is ignoring its competitive advantages
Another factor preventing business benefits is, most consultants confuse DevOps with application deployment infrastructure, they see it from the distorted lenses of application deployment automation tools.
The tool dimension is erroneously considered more important than any other value drivers such as market understanding, cross-functional collaboration as well as accelerated problem solving and decision making. Adam Jacob, early proponent of DevOps and co-founder of Chef the leading IT-automation firm is clear about it, “Fundamentally DevOps is about taking the behaviors and beliefs that draw us together as people, combining them with a deep understanding of our customer’s needs, and using that knowledge better products.” To read more…
Implementing DevOps is transforming your IT organization to the new style of IT
My advise to CIOs is, “Implement DevOps as a transformation of your IT organization and don’t narrow it to a technology change initiative.” Strictly speaking, DevOps is disruptive and 70 percent of its business benefits depend on how well non-technological impediments to revenue are eliminated.
As illustrated, Enterprise DevOps is changing today’s IT service delivery paradigm, it’s taking IT organizations to the so-called new style of IT. In addition to leveraging cloud solutions’ benefits and forcing CIOs to consider value drivers like organizational efficiency and cross-functional collaboration, it places application delivery and customer experience at the heart of the CIO’s strategy:
Considering that applications are the means by which value is brought to customers, Enterprise DevOps builds on two primary capabilities: the agile and collaborative IT environment referred to as the IT operating model and the continuous delivery pipeline (CDP).
CDPs accelerate the delivery of expected value
The CDP is the technological piece consultants and vendors have been reducing DevOps to. Concretely speaking, it’s a Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) which leverages infrastructure as code (IAC) mechanisms to automate, therefore, accelerate three stages of the application development life cycle including:
The self-service and on-demand nature of the PaaS services e.g., server provisioning, server configuration, and application deployment eliminates the drawbacks of manual IT including costs and resource provisioning lead time.
Agile IT operating models eliminate operational impedements to value
The operating model is the non-technological piece most experts and vendors have been ignoring. It’s a set of principles clarifying the rules to accelerate problem solving and decision-making; business and IT practices as well as the roles needed to deliver added-value priorities; and governance structure implemented in the form of Change Advisory Board (CAB) putting together business and IT executives to assess priorities, keep IT staff focused on them and deliver executive leadership. The bottom line is to make the IT organization agile and responsive to market opportunities and turbulences.
Enterprise DevOps isn’t the complex technology stacks promoted by vendors; it’s a set of practices combining infrastructure as code mechanisms and organizational efficiency leveraged to equip BLs with the only asset they need to prosper in the digital economy: market responsiveness.
I can’t agree more with Adam Jacob on this, “Today there is a noisy market in teaching people how to do DevOps, or in tools that enable DevOps. Vendor after vendor will tell you they have the magical solution to this difficult business problem.”
Philippe A. Abdoulaye has 25 years of experience as an IT transformation expert with a versatile background leading cloud, data center and ITSM transformation projects with consulting firms like Accenture and Cognizant. Philippe has advised the IT leaders of enterprises like Credit Suisse, American Express and Educational Testing Service (ETS) and has conducted workshops to provide insights into cloud transformation approaches for McKinsey consultants.
Philippe has been sharing his views on Linkedin and in his blog on topics around cloud computing, ITaaS and digital transformation. His articles are regularly cited by online media outlets, including Sys-Con and ZDNet.