In summary, DevOps is a philosophy of software development that focuses on meeting business requirements quickly and efficiently. It helps shorten time to value and in so doing helps create a more responsive organization. It multiplies the value from investments in cloud and encourages automation of key processes for better outcomes. All of which makes it highly suitable to cost constrained organizations that must deliver improvements to their current services and products while taking advantage of the opportunities presented by new digital and data-driven technologies.
However, the advantages of the DevOps helping for organizations in large scale. The long-term cost reductions are substantial, but the initial investment can be high. Although automation delivers a strong return on initial investment of time and resources, it does take longer to complete this initial automation of a task that it does to perform the same task manually.
Maintaining the DevOps approach will also require specific technical skills to be build up, managed and retained by the implementation organization as well as the client organization. So, how do you make sure that the adoption of the DevOps approach works for your organization? The following can be those critical factors.
Senior management buy-in
As with all change projects, success is in part dependent on having committed leaders at senior leadership levels; in this case the CIO, CTO or the chief architect (and even the enterprise architect of the client organization) who can deliver technical and cultural changes.
They are responsible for making sure the focus remains on breaking down the barriers between development and operations and ensuring the approach is designed around this core principle. They need to make sure that close collaboration between developers, system operators and testers is maintained and that open lines of communication with business users and service commissioners remain intact.
Understand the demands of digital transformation
It is important to understand the demands of digital transformation and balance it with the rigour of ITIL. At present, only about 5% of services of organizations are driven by technologies that are digital by design. Applying DevOps to these technologies is relatively straightforward. But mission-critical platforms on physical or virtual servers are a different question altogether.
An iterative approach to migrating these applications to the cloud, taking small steps to transformation and applying DevOps one step at a time requires not just digital skills but the depth of understanding residing in experienced IT managers.
Need for security, compliance and governance
It is important to ensure that testing and security are built into the automated processes of the implementing organization. Those processes must stay true to ITIL standards for security testing and compliance checking. Even at this pace software can only be put into production when it has no vulnerabilities that can corrupt sensitive information.
DevOps does not replace the need for quality assurance, software testing or data validation before and after a software release. Hence it is important to get the QA practices with regards to automated testing for security, performance and code check-ins and check-outs in top shape.
Work with the right people
Some IT services service providers are great at automation or at building digital services. Bringing them together is the key. This means that IT practitioners who already have wide experience of delivering systems under the DevOps umbrella and are prepared to share best practice and ensure effective knowledge transfer are a key part of the team. So are leaders with expertise in automating business and management processes and have a well defined and tested set of tools to support their work.
It is important for client organizations to look for service providers with real, in-depth experience of open technologies, domain expertise and cloud-based solutions and with the necessary hands-on experience in designing, building, migrating, supporting and operating scalable and robust systems for their customers.