Over the course of the next few months we will discuss the findings from the PuppetLabs 2016 State of DevOps report and what it means for your business. Future blog posts…

The State of DevOps

Over the course of the next few months we will discuss the findings from the PuppetLabs 2016 State of DevOps report and what it means for your business. Future blog posts will cover the key issues of recruiting and retaining the best teams, improving quality, building in security and embedding DevOps at the start of the developing lifecycle. We’ll then venture beyond the report to talk about how DevOps bridges the gap between old and new IT environments and take a peek under the covers at how machine learning will help drive further automation. But let’s start by looking at how DevOps is addressing the need for IT departments to develop more, for less, faster.

Based on the responses from over 4,500 technical professionals around the world, the report shows that the best performing IT departments deploy code to production over 200 times more than poorly performing IT departments and 2,555 times faster. Not everyone is an Amazon or a Netflix deploying code thousands of times a day. But for the average enterprise with a high performing DevOps team, this could mean 4 deploys a day with lead times between code commit and code successfully running in production of less than one hour.

Mobile and web based applications that interact directly with customers, are known as systems of engagement. Such systems have an intense focus on the user experience, speed of delivery and agility and are ideal targets for a DevOps approach. Retailers can build customer loyalty by providing not only a consistent, great user experience across multiple channels, but also increase sales by reacting to new fashion trends faster than their competitors. Financial Services trading houses can make millions of pounds by spotting trends and being first to market with new financial products. Low cost airlines can optimise yields by reacting quickly to changing events and offering frequent promotional prices or additional services.

These things wouldn’t have been possible using traditional IT development methodologies. So what is different? One of the key principles in DevOps is shift-left. This entails operations becoming involved much earlier in the software development cycle, toward development. The objective is to allow test and development against production like systems as early as possible to see how well the application behaves and performs, well before deployment.

Automation is a critical component of DevOps. Development and operations need to be able to work with agile, repeatable and reliable processes. Doing that at speed on a continuous basis can only be achieved with high levels of automation.

Effective DevOps teams monitor and evaluate regularly throughout the development lifecycle, not just when the application is in production. This increases the likelihood of problems being found and fixed before the application goes into production.

Finally, if speed and agility is a critical objective of DevOps then effective mechanisms to elicit quick feedback that can help development teams shift priorities, production teams to improve operating environments or business units modify product plans is absolutely essential.

What being able to release more applications, more quickly means in terms of business value will depend on the nature of your business.  But if getting new features or products to market faster is likely to increase you market share, or you can retain customers by building on feedback very quickly to improve their overall experience, then getting to grips with DevOps needs to be a business priority.

Our next blog will examine the challenges and opportunities in finding and retaining the best developers. In the meantime, keep up to date with the latest developments and tips in the DevOps world by signing up for our monthly newsletter. All new registrations will receive a copy of the Percipience DevOps white paper.

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by Peter BornerPeter is the founder and Managing Partner of Percipience llp. He is an entrepreneur and successful business leader with board level experience and senior leadership roles with global firms including Sony Music, British Telecom, Liquid Audio and Axispoint. He currently holds a non executive position on the advisory board for Rise-To and is active in the third sector with Rotary and The Rotary Foundation. His expertise includes technology diligence for M&A and advising firms on IT consolidation and migration to consumption based costing through the use of Cloud Technologies, Agile and DevOps.

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