The Definitive Question: Should Your Organization Adopt DevOps?

Digital businesses depend on information intelligence. Most of that intelligence comes from applications. So, why are so many businesses missing the application streamlining opportunity that comes from DevOps? That collaborative blend of application developers and IT operations is a culture shift that breaks down silos and promotes accelerated development. Becoming a digital business means way more than having the right technology. It’s the right mix of fast, smooth operations resting on an intelligent information base. That’s the idea of DevOps. That and bigger profits.

Any successful digital business needs a strategic and advanced approach to data, how it’s sourced, how it’s processed, how it’s evaluated and turned to value-producing information. That information is itself a strategic asset. We’re moving from old-form use of information to run the business to information as the business. And information value depends on effective applications that can transform how businesses operate. Digital businesses.

So, starting or transitioning to a digital business requires a productive information platform that creates and advances applications that generate the required source data. That’s why DevOps has become such an important concept. It’s a strategy and process approach that creates enhanced and automated business value.

It’s even featured in Gartner’s recently released Hype Cycle for Application Development.

Typical IT organizations have operated in application development silos that don’t serve well for digital businesses. Shifting to DevOps emphasizes continuous application improvements and positive business impacts based upon shared information. However, assessing the hype cycle for application development, Gartner estimates that as little as five percent, and at most twenty percent of business have already made the shift to DevOps. Even though they may be digital businesses, they aren’t working at their potential for agility and speed. Their customers aren’t seeing the most positive outcomes, or having the best “experiences in application consumption.” And the businesses may be taking unnecessary risks:

“Many new and transformational initiatives are not sufficiently focused on reducing risk but, through iterative use of DevOps and architectural adoption, value can be enhanced while risks and costs can be potentially reduced.”
– Gartner, Hype Cycle for Application Development, 2015 

With so much talk of DevOps for so long, why aren’t more organizations already there? Most likely because it’s hard to do. Of course, circumstances vary by organization, but if you’re trying to create a DevOps function from existing development and operations organizations, that means change. Change is hard. We can select the tools, pick the cloud, build configuration management and decide on key metrics. But then we need DevOps discipline. We need consistent methods that create a process to remove all friction between developers, operations, and valuable customer outcomes. Knowledge needs to be shared. Every one needs to participate, have a voice. We’re blending technology, process and people. That takes time and, most certainly, a few iterative cycles before success can be declared.

As Gartner points out in their Hype Cycle for Application Development, DevOps has reached the “peak of inflated expectations” and by their calculations could be five to ten years away from settling onto the “plateau of productivity.” There isn’t a settled set of standards or a framework like ITIL. Early adopters really are constructing something new. They’re essentially making it up. But that’s OK, even preferable. Or, as Gartner puts it: “DevOps is an IT service delivery approach rooted in agile philosophy, with an emphasis on business outcomes, not process orthodoxy.” (Gartner, Deconstructing DevOps, 3 May 2011). So, go ahead and figure out what works best for you.

The payoff for most organizations will be well worth the pain. You’ll profit by moving applications into a continuous development, refinement, integration and delivery model that amplifies competitive differentiation and real market value.

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