DevOps, No Longer Just For “Unicorns”

Robert Stroud
Principal Analyst
February 25, 2017

The born-digital “unicorn” companies such as Etsy, Google and Netflix, are pioneers of modern DevOps, but BT leaders at companies of all ages, sizes, and types are now eagerly pursuing the same principles.[i] The pressure for speed and quality is DevOps becoming pivotal for all organizations. For example, KeyBank is leveraging DevOps to quickly deliver business new customer capability using streamlined coordination between application development and operations. DevOps is allowing KeyBank to shorten delivery time by up to 85% and reduce defects by at least 30%.  According to a 2016 State of DevOps report, high performers are twice as likely to exceed their organization’s profitability, market share, and productivity goals.[ii]

Understand Your Company's Requirements For Modern Service Delivery

Modern service delivery is foundational to business success in an era of disruption stemming from new competitors and customer-visible issues in production environments. Resist the temptation to start a DevOps journey without a full understanding of your company’s needs. Targeting the areas where the most immediate benefits can be realized is critical and will define what the value proposition to the business will be. This is going to be an incremental journey. ING is undergoing a major digital transformation in which DevOps is a primary driver. ING CIO Ron van Kemenade has initiated DevOps as the vehicle to aggressively support ING’s evolving customer needs. This includes the use of mobile banking and mobile apps when conducting financial transactions. To deliver, ING’s technology department has become the beating heart of the bank.[iii] ING is an excellent example of a high-performing technology management team who is levering technology to drive growth and innovation.

Create Your Business Case Based On Business Needs

Many DevOps journeys start as experiments in organizations that allow them to prove out the concepts before moving to a larger, more holistic organizational approach. For instance, Tom Clark, head of common platform at ITV, is using DevOps to transform the business, improve speed at scale, and allow the business to take advantage of new market segments and technology advancements.[iv] Once you have proved out the pilot, move to creation of your business case. Success is critical on highlighting the organizational value of agility and speed to market allowing the business to quickly transition based on new opportunities. Critical to a successful business case is the direct linkage of the DevOps business case to organizational initiatives.

Focus On Agility, Velocity, And Quality Over Cost Savings

I&O pros commonly use cost savings to prove the business value of proposed infrastructure and process improvements. DevOps work must center on improving agility, velocity, and quality, rather than reducing costs. Don’t get me wrong, effective financial stewardship is important and should not be ignored, but relentless focus on customer experience drives the need for consistent and ongoing delivery of quality products and services. Critical to the business case will be creating an environment that drives significantly improved productivity with significantly reduced rework cycles, which translates to increased productivity for everyone involved in the delivery and support of the product or service.

DevOps Moving Mainstream – The Business Case

It is imperative to build a specific business case for DevOps and avoid the common pitfalls of building one using old methodologies simply based on cutting costs. In my recent report, Delivering DevOps Value Requires The Correct Business Case, I detail the essential steps of building a successful DevOps business case, while outlining common pitfalls along that journey. All designed to get you started on moving your DevOps journey forward!

As always, I welcome your observations, comments and experiences. You can contact me here and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@RobertEStroud).

 




[i]
The DevOps Enterprise Summit (DOES) emerged as a forum for non-unicorns to showcase their DevOps successes. Source: “DevOps Enterprise Summit,” IT Revolution (http://events.itrevolution.com).

[ii]Source: “2016 State of DevOps Report,” Puppet (https://puppet.com/resources/white-paper/2016-state-of-devops-report).

[iii]Ron van Kemenade, CIO of ING, shared details of the corporate value of DevOps, including a video on the journey, during the 2016 DOES in London. Source: “DevOps: Ron van Kemenade – Nothing Beats Engineering Talent…The AGILE Transformation at ING,” YouTube video, July 26, 2016 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKEaMeaiZOw).

[iv]Source: “DOES16 London – Tom Clark – ITV's Common Platform,” YouTube video, July 18, 2016 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBIavQW6iO8).

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