The Cloud, mobility and social networks have not only made IT systems and processes more complex but have at the same time raised customer expectations. The DevOps approach could help to ease some of the headaches for those in charge of Information & Communication Technologies at companies.

DevOps, the Way to Go for Company ICT Deployment

At a time when IT budgets are being squeezed, IT managers are having to deal with increasing demands, against a background of growing information systemcomplexity. In particular, the production and management of applications presents a real challenge nowadays. The DevOps (a composite of development and operations) methodology combines what used to be separate and sequential production processes to focus development on a continuous process based on understanding a market need, refining an application or service to meet that need, and testing and deploying the solution. DevOps would appear to be today’s new paradigm. This is in fact the main thrust of a recent report entitled ‘TechInsights Report :What Smart Businesses Know About DevOps’published by US independent software corporation CA Technologiesand UK-based global technology brand research firm Vanson Bourne. “Overall, this method helps to improve communication, integration and collaboration between the production and development teams,” underlines Bastien Martins da Torre, Cloud Automation Team Leader at CA Technologies.

Meaningful drivers for adoption

Most IT managers certainly recognise that they need to change the way their organisations work. There is a need to speed up time to market, improve application quality and development, and respond to more demanding customer requirements, and these are in fact the main promises of the DevOps approach. Of 859 respondents who “have or plan to have DevOps” at their companies – out of a total of 1,300 senior IT decision-makers worldwide who were surveyed for the report – 52% said IT automation was a ‘must-have’ and 47% said the same about agile development. French international entertainment retail chain FNAC.comhas adopted the approach in order to reduce potential delays and failures in daily stock updates which could have an impact on business. In France, 75% of the companies whose IT decision-makers took part in the poll agree that implementing this type of strategy should be a priority, similar to the 71% of their Germany counterparts who said the same thing, a figure which rises to 88% in the UK and99% among US IT decision-makers. In virtual, Cloud-based environments, a silo organisation is a real handicap,so DevOps must be implemented right across the board, argues the report. Over half (53%) of those polled whose organisations have or plan to have DevOps say they expect to hire new resources with the necessary skills. Business strategy and communications knowhow are far more sought-after here than technical skills such as programming/coding.

External measurements, new in-company process

Moreover, while firms are seeking to speed up time to market, reduce the potential for mistakes – amply illustrated recently by a well-publicised error in France’s unemployment figures – and eliminate duplication of effort, “it’s also about achieving the agility levels of the online pure players,” explains Bastien Martins da Torre. Business cycles these days are getting shorter, so the need to simplify interconnections within the organisation is perhaps just as important as for helping to maintain market share. Although the IT decision-makers are divided on how to measure the advantages of adopting DevOps, close to 50% of those polled expect to use external business measurements such as revenueincreases, faster time to market and improved customer experience to measure success. However, it is a ‘must’ to designate an executive-level DevOps ‘evangelist’ at the company, stress the authors. It is also vital to draw up a ‘must-have’ skills list and to streamline processes so as to incorporate input across development, QA/testing and operations. Moreover, an adequate budget must be available for ‘talent and technology’, underlines the report.  As a last tip, the authors recommend making especially troublesome applications a priority for the DevOps treatment in order to demonstrate from the outset just how much this approach can do to resolve organisational problems.

By Pierre-Marie Mateo