DevOps and cloud: A Dynamic duo to accelerate your business performance

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Leverage DevOps to build and deploy IT applications on multi-cloud environments with speed and accelerate customer experience innovation.

Table of Contents

2. Introduction to DevOps
Introduction to DevOps
What is DevOps?
How is DevOps Different from Agile?
What is the Origin of DevOps?
How Pervasive is DevOps?
3. Relevance of DevOps
Relevance of DevOps
DevOps best practices and Its Importance to My Organization
How Can DevOps Improve Team Relationships?
4. DevOps Fundamentals
Devops Fundamentals
What are the Key Roles in a DevOps Team?
What are the Best Practices of a DevOps Strategy?
What are DevOps Security Best Practices?
How Can DevOps Improve the User Experience (UX)?
5. DevOps in the Organization
DevOps in ihe Organization
Understanding Why DevOps and the Cloud go Hand-in-Hand
How Can My Organization Move to a DevOps Approach?

Executive Summary

As a response to the need for speed in software development, DevOps is a concept that is quickly growing traction to address the challenges in keeping the pace of application launches that the market demands. However, due to it being a relatively new methodology, there is a lot of ambiguity in what DevOps means.

DevOps can encompass all aspects of development and production, and at its most basic, it is a combination of the organizational philosophies, values, principles, tools, and practices that work to speed up the delivery of applications and services. This is achieved by bringing the dev and ops teams (and potentially others) under one umbrella to collectively work together on all aspects of development and operations throughout a product’s lifecycle. While DevOps practices has many similarities to agile, they address different problems in the software development process and, when used in tandem, their benefits are exponential.

DevOps practices came about to address inefficiencies and weaknesses that plagued software development while it was an emerging industry, such as a lack of accountability and teamwork between divisions. Agile’s introduction in the early 2000s addressed many of these problems, but only with the emergence of DevOps in 2008 were these processes connected and the independent teams united to work toward a common goal. Since 2008, it has grown quickly, both in terms of recognition and in adoption. While much of this growth has been in the IT sector, DevOps technologies are now finding a home in many other sectors as well.

An illustration of various programmers of the DevOps team working together to build a system.

Introduction to DevOps

In today's quest to optimize work environments, DevOps is a concept that is rapidly expanding across the IT industry. Digital transformation emphasizes the need for speed; both in terms of speed to development and speed to market. Companies often strain to keep up with the pace of application launches that the market demands. A DevOps strategy serves as a way to address these challenges and drives efficiency. The last two years have shown an increase in DevOps methodology awareness and adoption.

However, the fact remains that DevOps methodology is relatively new and evolving. Due to its rapid adoption, there has been some ambiguity in what DevOps actually means. Rather than being one defined concept, DevOps is a grouping of concepts that requires a solid understanding to successfully leverage the operational benefits it can offer. With this in mind, it's imperative to learn what a solid DevOps strategy is comprised of and how it can help your organization.

A survey result showing the increase in DevOps methodology awareness and adoption.

What is DevOps?

Currently, DevOps can mean different things to different people because of how much it encompasses all aspects of development and production. At its most basic definition, DevOps can be described as a combination of organizational philosophies, values, principles, tools, and practices that serve to increase efficiency and coordination to speed up the timeline for delivery of applications and services.

This acceleration is achieved by combining the development and operations teams so that they form a single group that works together on a project throughout its entire lifecycle. This group is comprised of members who work in all aspects of development and operations including systems engineers, security professionals, product specialists and more. In this practice, operations staff commonly begin using some of the same techniques that developers use for systems work. The entire process of DevOps is frequently depicted using an infinity symbol demonstrating how the development and operations tasks completed by the whole team feed into one another in a continuous loop of constant improvement.

The entire DevOps process flow (Plan, Create, Verify, Package, Release, Configure and Monitor).

DevOps encompasses a host of practices, such as continuous integration and delivery, advanced automation and cross-functional team workflows.
The DevOps Handbook1 outlines three distinct aspects of DevOps:

  • The Principle of Flow: This seeks to decrease the time from commit to code running in production.
  • The Principle of Feedback: Seeks to increase the feedback from production processes to development.
  • The Principle of Continuous Learning & Experimentation: This aspect recognizes the importance of continuously learning from and improving processes.

Each of these principles has related technical practices that work toward the achievement of continuous improvement and increased speed. There are many layers of DevOps, including tools and process, but ultimately, they all serve to help technological organizations gain a competitive advantage by delivering a better product to the market quicker than competitors.

How is DevOps Different from Agile?

DevOps versus Agile is a largely debated topic in the recent times, however, each of them addresses a different part of the software development process. Agile emerged several years before DevOps, and it deals with building software better and more quickly. DevOps addresses getting code into production and continually improving the process.2 They are two distinct approaches to addressing different problems; however, many companies have recognized the similarities in both methods and realize that productivity gains can be achieved on a larger scale when using them in conjunction with one another. The relationship between the two can be very strong, or they can be treated entirely separately. It merely depends upon how specific companies choose to implement them. But the differences between the two should be acknowledged.

Agile teams incorporate automated builds, test automation, Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD). DevOps teams also incorporate these elements and add configuration management, metrics and monitoring schemes, virtualization, and cloud computing.3 Agile has fixed roles, such as a Product Owner, and it covers project management. DevOps, on the other hand, enhances technical work by requiring team members to accept and share responsibility for building and deploying the software.

An illustration of a team of programmers discussing the DevOps software development methodology.

DevOps vs Agile: on a logistical level, they differ on several other points as well:3

  • Agile puts greater emphasis on speeding up the process of product deployment.
  • Agile focuses on software development, whereas; DevOps focuses on the appropriate deployment of the software.
  • Agile enables every team member to do any job necessary, but with DevOps, team members still assume their standard role, but with increased communication.
  • Daily meetings are central to Agile to ensure all team members are on the same page. DevOps has fewer meetings than Agile, but with higher levels of documentation.
  • DevOps requires documentation of meetings and other communications; Agile does not.
  • Agile focuses on small, lean teams to work quickly. DevOps requires different teams to work in coordination with one another.
  • Agile teams work in short sprints to achieve goals. DevOps focuses on longer-term scheduling.
  • DevOps puts greater emphasis on automation than Agile does.

While the adoption of Agile does not necessarily lead to the adoption of DevOps as well, many individuals consider DevOps to be an extension of Agile. Ultimately, it's incredibly important to recognize that there is no one approach for dealing with the challenges and constant change that technology companies face today. That said, using Agile and DevOps in tandem, it can help many companies achieve their product goals within their target timeline.

What is the Origin of DevOps?

Much of the history of software development has been dominated by what's known as the Waterfall approach. When it was a very new and growing field in the 1950s and 1960s, the Waterfall approach evolved as the preferred process. It has several defining features, including:

  • Strict divisions of labor - Each part of the process was distinct and handled by the specialists in their field. Developers wrote the code, QA Engineers tested it, and System Administrators deployed the product.
  • Inconsistent evaluation criteria - Each division measured their success by how well they were able to accomplish their tasks, rather than by the overall success of the project.
  • Lack of accountability - Each division was only responsible for their portion, which led to a lack of overall responsibility for product bugs and failures.
  • Limited communication between teams - Teams often worked on their tasks in isolation from other teams, as well as from departments not working directly on the product, such as marketing.

While the Waterfall approach does have some definite advantages (disciplined approach, very defined scope, and concrete deliverables) and can work well on some projects, the lack of coordination and communication often resulted in highly disorganized responses to problems that arose after a product was deployed. Furthermore, the resulting organizational structure led to the formation of departmental silos that failed to share information and experiences that could have assisted in the developmental process.

In the early 2000s, the Agile Software Development approach emerged as a way to foster more productive teamwork and offer more flexibility. Several core principles define Agile. It emphasizes interactions (between teammates and among team members and customers) over processes and tools. It focuses on developing a successful product, rather than extensive documentation and it ensures the flexibility to respond to change rather than strictly following a predetermined plan. This flexibility provides more room for changes to meet the needs of clients better.

The four core principles of the Agile Software Development Approach.

Another critical component in Agile is how projects are completed. Project development is accomplished by breaking down the tasks and finishing them in "sprints" or "iterations," which generally last less than a month and can even be as short as one week. With Agile, projects are typically released after every sprint.

DevOps emerged in 2008 as a way to interconnect all of the development processes and unite the efforts of all members of the development and operations teams. It came about as an evolution of Agile when it is applied to operations functions as well. It has gained popularity due to the recognition of the value of collaboration between development and operations teams throughout the entire creation and production processes. DevOps incorporates the elements of Agile that made it so successful and expands upon them to create a more encompassing set of principles and tools to meet the rapidly-changing needs of the industry. It is the natural extension of Agile in a way that can make it more effective.

Illustration of a group of DevOps programmers working together on a project.

How Pervasive is DevOps?

DevOps is quickly finding its way into nearly all aspects of the IT industry. Forrester reports that in 2017, almost two-thirds of organizations report having implemented DevOps technologies in some way and 50% have indicated intentions on expanding its scope. Another 27% are planning on implementing it within the next year. Fewer than 10% are interested but have no immediate plans for implementation, and only 1% report that they are not interested in implementing DevOps in any fashion.4

The industry has quickly gone from asking what DevOps is to asking how can it help organizations. Motivations for adopting DevOps methodologies are varied, with automation being the primary goal for most companies. Despite this, changing the mindset and culture to embrace experimentation is also a sought-after goal by many organizational leaders.

Adoption of Devops Practices

A survey result showing how quickly organizations adopted the different DevOps methodologies.

Furthermore, DevOps is expanding outside of the tech industry. While the majority of companies who have adopted DevOps still lies with the Technology sector, it is increasingly being implemented in the banking and financial sector, manufacturing, retail, government, and healthcare, amongst other industries.

Principal Industry

A survey result showing the expansion of DevOps outside of the Tech industry.

While DevOps adoption is expanding outside of the tech industry, it is also experiencing growth even in organizations that have already shifted their software development processes, particularly in security operations. Known as DevSecOps, many organizations are bringing their security, privacy, policy, and controls into their DevOps culture. This means that essential activities such as threat modeling, risk assessment, and security task automation become integral components, starting with the initial product development tasks and continuing all the way to product launch. The infiltration of DevOps into other aspects of product development is a relatively new development in the industry, although it is increasing quickly. In a 2018 report that surveyed 1,000 IT professionals; nearly one-quarter said that they were practicing some DevSecOps elements.5

These trends and findings demonstrate how DevOps is finding its place as a crucial component in modern software development processes. While it is relatively common practice now, it will likely become the default method for most companies very soon.

Relevance of DevOps

In many companies, DevOps implementation has shown just how integral DevOps can be to their quest for delivering a more reliable product, more quickly. Underlying (and perhaps propelling) the adoption of DevOps in the industry is the understanding that if you do not determine a better way to deliver a quality product to the market quickly, your competitors will. Simply put, organizations have to embrace workflow models that emphasize efficiency, productivity, and quality to survive in today's hypercompetitive market. The benefits of DevOps are generally grouped into two categories: product improvement and team improvement.

Illustration of a couple of DevOps programmers working together on a mobile application.

DevOps best practices and Its Importance to My Organization

Collaboration between development and operations teams can have a massive impact on how your company functions and the products that are developed. Adopting DevOps best practices has shown to lead to many outcomes, including:6

In large part, these benefits are realized by the ability of the DevOps design to overcome inefficiencies. It emphasizes constant activity, throughout development, testing, integration, implementation, and monitoring. It is a never-ending cycle of product-related activity that ultimately leads to several distinct results.

Continuos Software Delivery

With its emphasis on constant action, DevOps works to deliver an automated development cycle and deployment solution, which saves time for team members and allows them to continue focusing on product innovation. The Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) processes ultimately lead to shorter development cycles and faster releases with fewer deployment failures.

A laptop illustration with DevOps icon displayed on its screen, indicating a continuous delivery.

Illustration of a paper plane moving around a computer representing rapid responses.

Rapid Responses

In traditional software development models, developers had limited interaction with customers and customer-oriented departments, resulting in the creation of products that didn't quite meet the needs or expectations of customers. DevOps bridges this gap and allows for close communication between these two divisions. Developers have a much stronger understanding of what customers want and know when they are not delivering a product that meets expectations. This communication means problems are addressed, and solutions are deployed much more quickly than what has been possible in the past.

Increased Efficiency

The foundation of DevOps is the increased efficiencies that speed up the development process and make it more reliable, leading to more stable deployments. Many tasks, including testing, can be automated, leaving engineers to focus on tasks that cannot be automated. High-performance organizations with DevOps in place can spend up to 29% more time on new work, such as the development of new features.7

Illustration of a performance meter indicating an improved efficiency with DevOps.

Illustration of a dollars bag with a downward arrow indicating reduced costs with DevOps.

Reduced costs and it needs

The combined benefits of improved efficiencies and reduction in redundant work can be attributed to DevOps. Which means, there is a reduction in IT staffing requirements and overall costs. DevOps teams require about 35% less staff than teams that have not shifted to DevOps and the IT costs are approximately 30% lower as well.8

How Can DevOps Improve Team Relationships?

While DevOps practices lead to many operational and product-enhancing benefits, it can also significantly improve an organization's ability to engage in collaborative and productive teamwork. Historically, there has been a divide between developers who focus on products before their release and operations teams who focus on products during production and deployment. Despite this, there are almost always critical flows in any program design pre-release.

When the teams work together under the DevOps model, the product isn't merely 'handed-off,' which results in a greater emphasis on combined performance rather than individual goals. The rift between the two teams is closed, and all members contribute to the development of a more reliable product. Furthermore, as team members continue to work together, a greater sense of trust is developed, which means that team members are more likely to work together collaboratively and in a way that leads to real innovation. Team members also become exposed to new types of work and their overall knowledge is increased when they can contribute to all aspects of its development and deployment; this is in stark contrast to the narrowly-focused roles that team members had under the Waterfall approach. Promoting inter-disciplinary teamwork can often inspire employees and lead to innovations and ideas that would likely be overlooked otherwise.

In Marketing

DevOps overcomes the challenges that have traditionally impacted development and operations, but there is another crucial area in which it can also help teams work more efficiently together – marketing. More than ever before, marketing functions are relying on data and technology to deliver their messages and product information to customers. In this environment, the nature of their work becomes more technical, and bringing the marketing team into the DevOps process model allows for the formation of an even more efficient and effective team that still shares the same goals of developing and delivering a quality product to the market quickly. When marketing is part of the team from the outset of product development, they are aware of critical aspects of the product, allowing them to begin working on an effective marketing plan that can be put into place and be ready to implement the minute the product is available for deployment. Empowering marketing with this knowledge ensures the accuracy and timeliness of the information that will be released to the broader public.

Devops Fundamentals

Getting started with DevOps requires taking a look at how your current processes are occurring and identifying how to best implement a strategy that breaks down the silos between Dev and Ops. While the road to a DevOps model can seem daunting, the more you understand about DevOps roles, best practices, and the impact on the user experience, the easier this process will be.

Illustration of a team of developers working together in a DevOps project.

What are the Key Roles in a DevOps Team?

The idea of defined DevOps roles seems counterintuitive to the overarching DevOps philosophy of greater collaboration across teams in which everyone contributes to the product during its entire lifecycle. The re-imagining of the process model requires that all team members develop new skills and have a broader and more in-depth understanding of the product itself as well as what they are trying to achieve with it. Early engagement of all team members is crucial for the success of DevOps; this is where accountability is determined, and it often means that traditional roles are extended beyond the scope of what they usually encompass.

Redefining these roles and determining responsibilities and functions to create a cohesive new DevOps team is no small challenge. It is generally a journey, and the changing nature of the industry virtually guarantees that roles will continue to evolve. With this in mind, there are seven key roles (i.e., skill sets) that are instrumental in the successful transition to a DevOps approach.09 10

The Devops Evangelist

The evolution to a DevOps model is something that will require a lot of thought, oversight, and promotion. Individuals will not be inclined to change their habits unless they have a clear understanding of the benefits in doing so; this is where the DevOps evangelist comes into play. They can work as an agent of change to garner buy-in from the development and operations team. This person can also identify the new roles that will support the DevOps delivery method and ensure that team members have access to the knowledge and resources they need to transition to a DevOps culture successfully.

Illustration of a team of DevOps Evangelists working together on a project.

Illustration of a team of Release Managers working together on a project.

The Release Manager

These individuals work to coordinate and manage the product as it moves from development and through production. While they are concerned with the creation of the product, they are more focused on the movement of it through development, testing and deployment in a manner that supports continuous delivery. This sometimes means that they will work on technical details that project managers are not involved with.

The Automation Architect

These individuals are sometimes called the integration specialists, and their primary focus is on the design and implementation of the automated systems which are central to the continuous delivery component of DevOps. The automation architect designs and implements the automated systems that all DevOps team members will use during the development and production processes.

Illustration of an Automation Architect working on a DevOps project.

Illustration of a team of Software Developers and Testers working together on a DevOps project.

The Software Developer/Tester

While the role of the software developer has always been central to the development of products, with DevOps, the developer role is expanded. Not only are they responsible for developing code; they must now play a role in unit testing, deployment and ongoing monitoring of the product. This change often relies on automation to do the heavy lifting with the testing to operate in an agile manner.

The Experience Assurance (XA) Professional

Adopting DevOps means implementing a new type of control that enhances the quality assurance function. The use of QA testers is replaced by the need for XA professionals who can look at the features and functionality of new products with the experience of the end user in mind. Rather than merely ensuring something is working, these professionals find ways to make product changes that optimize and enhance the user experience.

Illustration of a couple of Experience Assurance (XA) Professionals working together on a project.

Illustration of a Security Engineer working on a DevOps project.

The Security Engineer

Traditionally, security has been an afterthought in software development that was frequently added on at the end of production. With DevOps, there is a focus on incorporating security elements from the inception of the product (DevSecOps) by ensuring that security engineers work in conjunction with the programmers, thus leading to more integrated and effective security features.

The Utility Technology Player

In the past, IT operations and systems administrators focused on ensuring that the servers ran, generally by striving for stringent controls and minimal change. Their involvement only came after the product was deployed. But the DevOps environment means that these individuals need to be involved in the entire process to improve the quality of service, resource management, and security.

Ultimately, a successful transition to DevOps will require reimagining how work is completed and who completes it. However, focusing on these seven roles is a significant first step toward shifting the mindset and culture in any organization.

Illustration of a Utility Technology Player working on a DevOps project.

What are the Best Practices of a DevOps Strategy?

A transition to DevOps has a lot of moving parts and to truly achieve it well means keeping an eye on all aspects of the automation implementation (provisioning, testing, deployment, etc.) as well as ensuring that communication is continuously moving in a way that will enhance the teamwork. While no path to DevOps will look the same, and each organization will face unique challenges, there are some themes in terms of what the top barriers are and best practices that address these challenges.

Horizontal bar graph showing the best practices that address the DevOps implementation challenges.

Focus on Culture

Culture is the top cited barrier to DevOps implementation, yet underlying all operational best practices is the need to build a collaborative and respectful culture that spans all divisions on your DevOps team. It also requires that all participants work as active stakeholders with a common goal, including developers, operations and support staff. The people on these teams are the determinants of success and while cultural change can be hard (and is often incremental) promoting this change across all levels of management and operations can ease the transition exponentially.

Illustration of a DevOps team, belonging to different cultural backgrounds, working together.

Illustration of a DevOps team working together on a project and communicating with each other.

Focus on Communication

Going hand-in-hand with culture is an emphasis on lines of communication. Implementing continuous feedback processes often means selecting the right tools that can automate communication and making sure that the right team members are all on the same page.

Understand how to promote collaboration

Collaboration won't just happen because you've implemented DevOps; resources are needed that allow for team members to collaborate effectively. This means that there should be a common strategy and tools that encompass the processes, communication and collaboration planning, continuous development, integration, testing, deployment, operations, and CloudOps tools.11

Illustration of a DevOps team discussing the performance of a project and its progress.

Select the Best Tools

Automation is a large component in DevOps, and it is the number two cited top challenge to transitioning to DevOps. Selecting the right DevOps strategies to complete each step across the product lifecycle and ensuring that they are implemented correctly (both automated and manual tools) is vital to the success of DevOps, and includes:11

Selecting the right DevOps automation tools can be incredibly complex, but evaluating the tools and experimenting with what works best in your environment with your team members is crucial to the success of your DevOps transition.

Focus on continuous delivery

Continuous delivery requires a host of different, ongoing processes to be occurring simultaneously. A snag in any of these processes will slow down your ability to deliver on your target timeline.

Illustration of a DevOps team and a Robot working together to ensure continuous delivery.

When looking at how you can promote a climate of continuity, consider the following aspects:12

DevOps transitions are incredibly complicated and require managing many different changes at once. This challenge can be overcome and by implementing best practices and committing to being responsive to feedback, you can provide the affected individuals with an optimal setting that promotes this positive change.

What are DevOps Security Best Practices?

DevOps security should be built into every DevOps cycle and can safeguard the entire DevOps environment through strategies, processes, technologies, and policies. It works to promote a culture of compliance that ensures applications are more secure. It also tends to make business operations more secure as well.

The challenges in DevSecOps parallel those found in DevOps transitions. The largest one comes from the disconnect that is common between developers and security teams, which is enhanced with DevOps; developers want to move faster and can view security as an impediment to achieving speed. However, as with DevOps, following best practices can help the transition go more smoothly.

Incorporate Devsecops Up Front

DevSecOps should not be an afterthought to your DevOps transition. Effective cross-collaboration should incorporate the security team as well as for the entire product lifecycle. This ensures that security features are added up front and fixes can be addressed before release.

Illustration of a DevSecOps team adding security features and fixing issues.

Illustration of a DevSecOps team working on the security automation of the project.

Look to Methods of Security Automation

Automation can extend to DevSecOps as well, and frequently includes tools for code analysis, patch and vulnerability identification and management, credential management, and configuration management. Automation can save time, prioritize threats and reduce the threat of human error.

Segment Networks and Perform Comprehensive Discovery

Group assets in logical units that do not trust one another to reduce the possible access of attackers. Perform comprehensive discovery and ensure that all devices, tools and accounts are validated and follow your policy for security management.

Illustration of a DevSecOps Engineer ensuring all the project assets are validated and secured.

Illustration of a DevSecOps Engineer monitoring all the project assets for any potential threats.

Integrate Continuous Threat Monitoring

Continuous threat monitoring includes analyzing new features and updates with emerging and evolving threats. As attack methodologies change and become more sophisticated, additional security measures must be implemented to maintain security.

Cross Train the Team in Security

Similar to how developers and the operations teams begin to learn from one another, security information and skills should also start to spread within the team leading to more knowledgeable team members.

Illustration of a DevSecOps team member training other teams members in security.

Illustration depicting communication of policies and procedures among the DevOps team members.

Communicate Policies and Governance

Clear communication is just as crucial to DevSecOps as it is to DevOps; it requires clear and transparent policies and procedures that all other team members understand and are capable of enforcing.

Implement Change Management

Change management can help track projects, credentialed users, and changes to the code, meaning that everyone working on continuous delivery and integration has the necessary knowledge to complete the work.

Just like DevOps, DevSecOps requires a change in the mindset and culture of the organization, but this integration contributes to the creation of a more agile way to secure products and deliver them to the market more quickly. It is an expansion of DevOps, but a natural one that ensures that security aspects are also addressed.

Illustration of a DevOps team working together on a project using the Agile approach.

How Can DevOps Improve the User Experience (UX)?

The holistic nature of DevOps provides a new way of looking at and completing product development. It has many benefits, and one of the largest is its ability to incorporate the user experience into the overall process of product creation and deployment. This is increasingly important to maintain a competitive edge while serving a market that demands instant gratification. They want a product with the features they need, now, and for it to work flawlessly. If you can't deliver, someone else will.

The UX is so central to DevOps that Gartner analyst Cameron Haight stated that, "You're not doing DevOps if you're not focused on the customer experience." Essentially, you must look at all aspects of the user experience when evaluating your products, including:14

Just as it is with all other functions in DevOps, the user experience should be an element that is considered at every point in the product's design, development, and production. Achieving this means that the user's digital experience should be considered throughout the continuous testing, integration, delivery and deployment processes. It also requires regular assessment and monitoring of the user experience after deployments to refine further and improve the product. Evaluating and optimizing the UX can include many activities, although the most common ones involve tracking application response time, measuring uptime and transaction metrics. Other activities that companies may engage in to evaluate the user experience include potentially creating personas to better understand the user journey and needs, soliciting user feedback, or conducting usability studies.

Horizontal bar graph showing the importance of optimizing the User Experience (UX) activities.

The user experience has always been at the heart of DevOps, but it can sometimes be overlooked due to all of the other moving parts in a DevOps environment. Reminding teams of the importance of optimizing the user experience can bring the end goal back into focus and ensure that everyone is working toward the same one.

DevOps in the Organization

When considering how DevOps fits into your organization, whether you are just beginning this journey or you have a mature DevOps culture, there are still many things that must be constantly evaluated and optimized. While DevOps adoption is set to increase in 2019 and beyond, it will also likely be adopted by more industries outside of technology and find further permeation within companies that already use the DevOps model.

During the projected growth period, many companies may wonder how the cloud fits into DevOps and how exactly they can map the transition to DevOps for their organization.

Devops Gets More Exciting In 2019

A chart showing the growth of DevOps in the last 5 years and its projected growth in 2019.

Understanding Why DevOps and the Cloud go Hand-in-Hand

DevOps and the cloud both arose as digital transformations borne from necessity. In a rapidly changing world, maintaining a competitive edge is becoming increasingly difficult, which is why so many companies are looking for new ways to increase efficiency, productivity, and quality, while also decreasing costs. Both DevOps and the cloud have helped many companies achieve this.

Understanding their relationship can become a bit challenging, but looking at the broader context in which consumer preferences are changing, particularly in three huge ways:15

  • We are moving from a product economy to a service economy. For software developers, this means that servicing the customer no longer ends with the purchase of the product and Software as a Service (SaaS) is becoming the norm.
  • Companies must shift their focus from stability and efficiency to agility and innovation to adapt to the current pace of business.
  • The digital dimension and the physical dimension are increasingly merging as advanced technologies and software permeate nearly every product (i.e., media is digital, appliances are incorporating digital elements).

These factors mean that companies must look for agile solutions and currently, the cloud is the best option for many functions. They work together; while DevOps addresses process improvement, the cloud looks at the technology and services themselves and can work as a center for the automation that is necessary for DevOps. Together, these two components can help an organization transform in a way that meets the current needs of the market.

The relationship between the cloud and DevOps can take on various traits depending upon the needs of the organization, but common ways in which it is structured and some of the benefits in using them together may include any number of the following:

  • The cloud can provide a centralized platform for production processes, including testing, production, and deployment in which all team members can work together directly. It is a resource that creates space for a single, unified team approach to working on a product.
  • Cloud-centric automation can include continuous integration and continuous development tools with centralized governance and controls.
  • Cloud resources can automatically gather data about the resources used in completing various tasks. Data can be tracked by application, changes made, or by the user who made the changes. This data can then inform any additional process changes that may be required.
  • Infrastructure on the cloud can reduce the complexity of systems and the resources needed for maintenance.
  • The cloud can allow you to build security controls upfront, reducing the risk of human error.
  • Scalability is easy on the cloud. This growth in the number of resources needed is often necessary as products mature throughout their lifecycle with DevOps.

Together, DevOps and the cloud are potent agents of change that promote a more agile, streamlined and collaborative environment for software development. To successfully create a DevOps environment on the cloud though, it is essential to commit the necessary resources to planning and acquiring what you need. There are no shortcuts to doing this well, but the more planning you do up front, the easier transformation will be.

How Can My Organization Move to a DevOps Approach?

Understanding DevOps is one thing; successfully implementing it in your organization is another. It can be complicated by many factors, such as the current enterprise architecture, infrastructure, and how applications are currently developed and tested. Some organizations will have a much longer journey to DevOps simply because their starting point may be further away than others. Furthermore, transitioning to DevOps frequently requires redefining roles, culture, processes, and government. This is no easy task no matter how large or small your organization may be.

Any DevOps transition likely won't be completely smooth, and ignoring any aspect of it can result in a complete failure. However, some critical actions can be taken to help the process move along successfully.

Assess your Current Environment

Take stock of where you currently are in relation to where you want to be. This provides a starting point that you can then expand upon.

Illustration of a group of people assessing the current environment of their organization.

Illustration of a group of individuals studying and enhancing their knowledge of DevOps.

Embrace the Devops Mindset

Shifting to DevOps means emphasizing some actions and outcomes over others. To get your organizational culture to understand and accept this, you must first educate team members on the DevOps mindset. Promoting this, as well as demonstrating current inefficiencies, will help employees to understand why things are changing.

Develop a Transition Plan

DevOps adoptions don't happen overnight; in most instances, it is a slow and painstaking evolution that occurs incrementally. Taking this approach gives you some room to gather feedback, understand what is working and tweak your transition plans accordingly. It's also crucial to realize that there is no standard DevOps transition plan. When developing one that works for you, you will have to account for the unique needs of your organization.

Illustration of a group of individuals are developing a transition plan to implement DevOps.

Illustration of a group of individuals evaluating the automation needs of the organization.

Automate Carefully

Automation is another area in which you'll have to take stock of the unique needs of your organization, and then determine how to move forward. With so many solutions on the market that offer different features and benefits, it's critical that you know what you want and need before you determine the best product.

Emphasize Security

DevSecOps expands upon DevOps in a way that accounts for security needs and ensures that they are built into the process at every step along the way. The incorporation of security ensures that you are genuinely creating inclusive teams that work on all of the necessary elements for a successful product deployment.

Illustration of a group of individuals ensuring the security of all the project assets.

Illustration of a group of individuals working together to devise a successful DevOps strategy..

Use Data to your Advantage

Metrics are essential in tracking and recording progress. There is no way to tell if you are succeeding at your DevOps goals if you do not determine how you will measure success. Some of the more common metrics used include production failure rate, deployment speed, average lead time and deployment frequency. Your goals will inform your metrics, and in turn, your data will inform your DevOps strategy.

Finally, it's essential to be patient. DevOps is a journey, not a destination. It often requires substantial cultural and organizational changes. Bridging the gap between Dev and Ops (and sometimes Sec) means embracing a new way forward. It won't happen overnight, but recognizing the common challenges, the key concerns and the unique needs of your organization is the best first step you can make in your quest for agility, profitability and a competitive advantage.

About HGS Digital

HGS Digital is a consulting and services provider that has helped marketing and IT teams within 100+ organizations with digital transformation solutions. With over 160 successful digital engagements and stellar customer satisfaction ratings, HGS Digital helps enterprises create simple, friction-less digital experiences that solve complex business problems. Our technology implementations help our clients improve customer engagement, optimize operations, increase revenue, and improve people's lives. We bring together strategy, design, and technology you need to become a digital innovator in your industry.

Our cloud Center of Excellence (CoE) will provide expert strategic guidance / support, whether your focus is on achieving holistic business transformation or driving operational efficiencies and growth leveraging cloud technologies. HGS Digital's extensive experience over the last 10 years in delivering cloud solutions has helped us build a wealth of cloud service capabilities. We bring together deep technology expertise, a qualified pool of cloud consultants, inbuilt tools, and methodologies to ensure customer's journey to the cloud is cost-effective and risk-free.

We partner with leading businesses across the globe to harness the power of cloud computing to realize the highest standards of business agility, efficiency and security. Our unparalleled cloud computing capabilities help customers leverage the cloud as a foundational platform for achieving IT modernization, driving meaningful customer experiences and successful business outcomes.

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