DevOps —the cultural movement that stresses the importance of collaboration and communication between IT teams, especially Development and Operations—seems to be the current strategy all IT organizations worldwide are going with to improve IT quality, responsiveness and business value creation. But is it just a temporary, ‘flavor-of-the-month’ trend? Or is there a true and important need in the enterprise to implement DevOps as a strategic and sustained initiative?
Never before we were so immerse in a digital environment as we are now; and enterprises, in all industries, never relied as much on IT as they do now. Why? Because during the last few years technology has advanced to a degree where everything uses and depends on IT! The Internet of Things, also known as IoT, is just one example of this digital revolution that is making everyone dependent on their electronic devices. The new generation of consumers buy things different than previous generations did. We live in a world of frequent change; and anything that does not adapt to change cannot survive. All enterprises in all industries are no exception; an enterprise that does not transform or disrupt its business processes, and makes them digital, will not survive in the new digital age (the same way some enterprises did not survive in the industrial revolution about 100 years ago, because they did not optimize their manufacturing processes, and their production lines ceased existing).
What does this mean for IT organizations and IT leaders?
IT is no longer a secondary role player in the enterprise. IT is not just helping and providing support to IT users with problems and issues here and there; now IT enables the success of the enterprise! -rather said, the business now runs almost completely on IT. Hence, the IT enterprise also needs to adapt.
The IT organization that does not turn its static processes into agile and dynamic will fail to deliver the value the business areas need; and therefore will be co-responsible for the failure of the business itself. These two entities- IT and the business area (that are commonly run as separate organizations, or even as rivals), now have the imperative need of being symbionts in order to succeed, and what is more, in order to survive.
All this situation raises the following question is in my mind: Are IT organizations overall ready for bearing such a responsibility? How can IT survive this challenge of being (to a very good extent) responsible for the business’ success, doing things the way they currently do them? The level of collaboration between the business and IT was never so demanding; furthermore, the level of integration between IT areas was never so critical for the success of the whole enterprise.
Recently I have seen growing IT organizations focusing from 40% to 70% of their efforts and resources on the development of new applications for the business and its customers, and the operations team seems to be just on the bench waiting for their turn to come to the game, without having any idea of what they will face when they get into the field. I am afraid that organizations that replicate this behavior will face unexpected challenges and will have to learn the hard way to collaborate and proactively work together towards an agile deployment and management of their services.
IT will not be able to collaborate with the business if they do not first have a strong collaboration culture embedded across the different IT areas. So going back to the question in the title of this post, the time to implement DevOps is now, because tomorrow might be too late.
Is DevOps the solution to everything?
Certainly not. It is, however, a critical step that IT organizations need now, and need to act on to take as part of the journey that will lead them to success!
In the last few weeks I have been collaborating in the Global Lynx’s blog with some articles that provide useful advice to organizations that are undertaking a DevOps adoption.