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By Chris Franey, Kovarus Solutions Architect
I recently had an opportunity to attend DevOps World/Jenkins World in San Francisco. More than 2000 attendees from around the world converged to learn about not only DevOps, but the tools that drive it. The main attraction as you may have guessed was around Jenkins, the ecosystem, and all of the goodness it brings to the software development lifecycle. Although there were lots of talks and sessions around scaling Jenkins in the enterprise, Jenkins in a hybrid and native cloud world, and Kubernetes, one particular presentation caught my attention. I heard some interesting statistics around DevOps practices and adoption in enterprise IT. According to Forrester, 92% of enterprises cannot release software faster than every three months. Wow, only 8% of enterprises can perform quarterly software releases! It reminded me how difficult it is for enterprises to pivot and keep up with the need for speed to support the business. As prolific as DevOps has been throughout the technology world, enterprises continue to wrestle with faster delivery of applications and services, silos, and rigid processes.
I was very curious to hear more about the pain points of adopting a DevOps culture. Although, you can read a plethora of blogs and other industry insights, it’s nothing quite like hearing about real world stories and accounts from the people on the frontline. After attending several sessions, casual conversations, and inquiries to panelist who have overcome or still living through the struggles, I wanted to share some common themes that I heard.
Focusing on Tools
We talk to customers daily about automation solutions, DevOps tool chains, and integrations so we see first-hand how many organizations often look at technology to solve problems. This often leads to a sprawl of tools, lack of standards, and added complexities with very little return in value. This value is often never realized because teams work in silos and choose what works best for that particular team. This leads to a lot of inefficiencies across the enterprise. Rather than focusing on the tools to solve problems, organizations should be utilizing standard tools and technologies and working diligently to integrate them. It’s imperative to leverage common patterns across the organization which will lead to more cross team collaboration as well as promote the reusability of tools and code, etc.
Measuring success is always an interesting topic. Gathering data is such a simple and fundamental thing to do. However, many struggle with making sense of the data or mapping the metrics to something meaningful and relevant. How often have we heard things like “we reduced our build times from hours to minutes” or “we reduced our deployment time from days to hours (or minutes)”? These are undoubtedly great wins but how does that impact the business? Does this make the business more competitive? Increase sales? How about improving the end user experience? Availability? Metrics are important but they must align with the business. I heard several leaders express the same sentiment. In other words, success has to be attached to outcomes and business objectives. Otherwise, widespread adoption of DevOps will be difficult or next to impossible if the value and wins aren’t properly socialized.
Team and Organizational Alignment
During one particular session of the conference, a gentleman asked a group of panelist for advice on how to drive DevOps from the bottom up. It should come as no surprise, but the biggest challenge noted was the lack of sponsorship from the executive level and team misalignment. It can’t be emphasized enough how important executive buy-in can be. Like any IT transformation, it doesn’t happen at the individual contributor or departmental level. A DevOps transformation requires behavioral and organizational changes that are both wide and deep in the enterprise.
While none of the above are new revelations, it illustrates that these are real world problems plaguing the enterprise. DevOps success heavily lies on the abilities of an organization to implement the necessary cultural and behavioral changes. The tools and how they are integrated also play an equal role in the journey of becoming more agile. The cornerstone of any DevOps practice is through automation and self-service. Kovarus is at the forefront by providing our customers with expertise in everything from automation, orchestration, integrations and everything in between. This is the reason why Kovarus continues to invest heavily in our automation and application delivery practices. It’s through these investments that we are able to accelerate our customers’ business through IT transformation.