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DevOps – Where Are We Now; How Do You Measure Up & What’s Next?

Companies that are successfully pairing Agile transformation with DevOps practices and cultural change are differentiating themselves through first mover advantage.

~ Written By Victor Laurel

This transformation is helping them achieve the 4 goals common to all modern businesses: faster time to market, flexible scalability, sustainable working and maintaining an excellent brand reputation through delivering quality. 

So where are businesses in their DevOps journey? How do you benchmark and compare? And what should be your next best steps?

The Here & Now

The World Quality Report 2016-17 shows that the use of DevOps principles is growing with only 12% of CIO respondents not using DevOps at all, down from 18% in 2015.  This year 40% are using DevOps principles in more than 50% of their projects. At first glance it may seem odd that this is lower than the findings in last year’s WQR, which showed that 26% of respondents were using DevOps in 70-90% of their projects and 11% in 90-95% of Projects compared with none in this category this year. Does this mean that DevOps is taking a backwards slide? Well, no. With 64% of respondents now using DevOps in 20-70% of their projects, what we are actually seeing is that organisations are taking a more knowledgeable and mature attitude to implementing DevOps and only using it where it is needed, instead of trying to apply it to everything. This is further illustrated by a recent Forrester Report which shows growth and reduction in different DevOps principles. For example, the use of loosely coupled architecture and microservices has increased to 41% up from 31% last year with 47% planning to utilise them. Conversely, Continuous Testing decreased from 50% in 2015 to 41% this year.

As Forester rightly puts it, this again is indicative of a better understanding, this time of “zero-touch testing in a true integration of build and integration of code with unit testing, BDD, functional and non-functional tests.” Testing in a DevOps environment is also maturing as businesses increasingly use test driven development and predictive analytics to optimise test coverage.  While this shows a shift left, we also see a right shift in Testing as the analytics feedback into the development stage and test data becomes increasingly more automated.

So what changes are we seeing in DevOps practices as a result of this maturity? The trend in 2015 was to use DevOps to break down large development projects into smaller chunks of work. This year successful companies are achieving greater speed-to-market by capitalising on the fact that DevOps gives better insight into what to test, when to test and how to test more quickly and the ability to create multiple test environments earlier on in the development lifecycle.

The Backlash

All that said there is a small element of a DevOps backlash as some companies are not seeing the results they hoped for from DevOps implementation. The truth here is that DevOps itself is unlikely to be the issue. It’s important to remember that DevOps does not guarantee excellent code quality and a perfect final product. It enables automation, continuous development, continuous testing and easier releases. If the code is full of bugs or not producing features that customers want, then a DevOps approach is not going to provide with a better end product. It will only provide you with the same below-par product, faster! Don’t make the mistake of thinking that DevOps is the problem here, instead ensure that your requirements and test strategy are up to scratch.

The Department of No

So what do all these stats mean in practical terms? What does the DevOps landscape look like? We all know the hype around the necessity to create a DevOps cultural shift and the associated challenges in the race to continuous delivery. There is definitely a trend towards greater collaboration and those businesses who are operating in an environment of genuine trust and cross-functional teams are seeing great results than those who have not managed to abolish silos and a blame culture. For those wondering why they are lagging behind and wanting to know what to do next, Forrester hits the nail on the head with the following observation:

“Other organizations within the business often see I&O as the “department of no,” and this increase in trust is a great first step in overcoming I&O’s traditional reluctance to break out of its silo and experiment with new service delivery methods and practices such as DevOps.”

It is crucial that buinesses evolve at the pace of and embrace the advantages of new technology. IT is not part of the business, IT is business. Sogeti knows that encouraging and embracing a culture of 'Business Technology' is key to success.

The Automation Considerations

DevOps done well promises better, faster cheaper, but as the same Forester report shows only a paltry increase from 0% satisfaction in this area last year to 4% this year, it’s clearly still a problem. The solution here is to be found in a more mature and strategic approach to automation.

One area of automation that has grown the most is automated integration of different lifecycle phases and environments such as Development, Testing and Production, to prevent manual error and data loss and reduce wait time. Another is Workload Automation which is seeing a refocus on automating systems of record to speed up mobile apps and eCommerce. As for the next steps for automation success, organisations need to focus on decreasing individual task automation and increasing full-process automation. Currently a lot of businesses are doing the opposite, so a volt face is required here!  

The CX Effect

Customer Experience (CX) has been a huge competitive differentiator in 2016. However, while finding out what the customer wants is a great starting point, it is not enough when quality is not being instilled visibility at every stage, with a single, unified real-time dashboard that enables problems to be identified earlier and solved more quickly, before the product reaches the customer. Test strategies also need to be more customer focused which is why, in the Sogeti Studio, we use a combination of usability testing, user journeys and crowd-sourced testing to ensure that your mobile application is of the highest quality with excellent performance for a better CX.

In the  Sogeti Studio, you can ‘See results’, and the faster you see the results, the faster you can improve and benefit from them.

The Trusted Partner

To take these next steps for DevOps success, our advice is to work with an outsource partner that is willing to be responsible and accountable across the lifecycle, at an enterprise or program level; work with them to get a Baseline Assessment of your current DevOps state, create a RoadMap for change prioritising your DevOps goals and use metrics and analytics for continuous DevOps improvement. To find out more about Sogeti’s approach to DevOps take a look at our Digital and DevOps Services.

With Sogeti’s DevOps Services, we work with you to ensure you get the value you need!

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