DevOps Financial Sector

DevOps - End-goal, By-product, or Digital Enabler?

With 40% of DevOps adopters describing their organisation as "digital" and 56% saying they are moving in that direction, Computing magazine’s recent survey shows that people are making the connection between a DevOps mindset and a successful Digital business. There are differing opinions however, about how the two connect.

~ Written By Andy Dickin

The start-ups causing digital disruption across all industry sectors usually work in a DevOps way as a matter of course. For larger enterprises DevOps does not come naturally and it requires a significant change in culture, processes and tools to digitally transform, innovate and compete. So, is DevOps the end-goal? Is it a by-product of going Digital and abolishing or integrating legacy systems and outmoded processes? Or is DevOps the critical enabler for successful Digital Transformation?

Best Practice?

As the concept of going digital has matured, successful Digital Transformation has become a top down initiative, driven by a digital vision created by C-level executives, in response to the needs of the wider business. Spanish bank BBVA clearly illustrated this last year when they chose their then current Head of Digital Banking to be their new President and Chief Operating Officer and closed their digital banking unit because digital is now an integral part of every aspect of their operations.

According to a senior government DevOps engineer taking part in the Computing survey “You don’t need DevOps to be digital, but if you move to digital for your end users, you will move faster if you are Agile. You need to be Agile to be efficient in digital… and to be Agile, it makes sense to be DevOps…” So, from this perspective DevOps is a best practice that should be adopted on the Digital Transformation journey.

The recent State of DevOps Report by Puppet demonstrates that organisations that create a dynamic DevOps environment deploy 200 times more frequently and with 24 times faster recovery times than those that are not working in a DevOps way. Furthermore employees in high-performance DevOps teams are 2.2 times more likely to state that they have job satisfaction and a great company culture. In short, DevOps will enable you to automate and streamline so that your development, operations and testing teams are innovating like a lean, nimble start up. These stats are a strong indication that DevOps is more than just a best practice or a nice-to-have in the race to digitalisation.

The Key to Innovation

As we saw in my previous post in this series Agile and DevOps have been a major focus for the senior management at Barclays Bank. And according to Jonathan Smart, Head of Development Services, this top down approach has been critical to success.

At Barclays’ top-down DevOps adoption worked well, but for many businesses undergoing a Digital Transformation DevOps is initially adopted by teams working on a single project that readily lends itself to increased automation and close collaboration between cross-functional teams. This can be as a result of an executive strategy, wanting to get it right in one team and replicate across the enterprise. It can also be a bottom up strategy driven by the Development or Operations team or as a result of the introduction of bi-modal IT. Once DevOps has been successfully adopted for one project and the positive impact on quality, speed and customer experience is recognised, it’s essential to get executive level support for it to be successfully rolled out throughout the rest of the enterprise. Only then can you achieve the necessary cultural shift, automated tooling, streamlined processes and new organisational style.

Superior Business Outcomes

So the inklings of a DevOps mindset can come about as a by-product of the Digital journey or it can be consciously adopted as part of a top-down initiative aligned to the wider business strategy. Regardless of how DevOps begins in your organisation, the automation, continuous integration, and continuous delivery that it enables are the cornerstones of digital innovation, speed and cost effectiveness. This makes DevOps a critical enabler and accelerator of Digital Transformation and the key to market-leading business outcomes.

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