In­creas­ing the speed of de­liv­ery

Chris Pope, VP In­no­va­tion, Ser­vi­cenow ex­plains how busi­nesses can de­liver re­sults faster with Devops and drive their busi­ness for­ward

Network Middle East - - INSIGHT / SERVICENOW -

In the dig­i­tal econ­omy, the speed of busi­ness has in­ten­si­fied. And while we can at­tribute some of it to hy­per- con­nec­tiv­ity and in­ter­con­nec­tion be­tween fi­nan­cial sys­tems across the globe, or­gan­i­sa­tions’ IT de­part­ments are a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor - these teams work hard to or­ches­trate the data and ap­pli­ca­tions that are the life-blood of any en­ter­prise.

The fact that we’re now all run­ning on data- driven, soft­ware- cen­tric op­er­a­tional back­bones brings mas­sive op­por­tu­ni­ties for ef­fi­ciency and new economies of scale. But this new re­al­ity also comes with some im­por­tant caveats.

As ev­ery busi­ness in ev­ery in­dus­try is be­ing dis­rupted by soft­ware, or­gan­i­sa­tions are try­ing to fig­ure out how to nav­i­gate and em­brace these new dig­i­tally trans­for­ma­tive forces. What this cre­ates is an im­por­tant in­flec­tion point in terms of how we ar­chi­tect, build, test, de­ploy and man­age our soft­ware.

Point of in­flec­tion

The in­flec­tion point is easy to spot. Soft­ware en­gi­neers — de­vel­op­ers, ar­chi­tects, test­ing pro­fes­sion­als, AI spe­cial­ists, all of them — have long held an in­con­gru­ous re­la­tion­ship with the op­er­a­tions de­part­ment pro­fes­sion­als — sys­tems ad­min­is­tra­tors, data­base ad­min­is­tra­tors, con­fig­u­ra­tion man­age­ment gu­rus, all of them — who sup­port the ap­pli­ca­tions and ser­vices cre­ated.

De­vel­op­ers want to speed up in­no­va­tion cy­cles and de­liver soft­ware faster, con­tin­u­ously. But op­er­a­tions want to use tried and tested means to man­age that process, which can ap­pear cum­ber­some, la­bo­ri­ous and slug­gish to the de­vel­op­ers. The op­er­a­tions peo­ple know that rapid changes to busi­ness sys­tems with­out proper safe­guards can im­pact busi­ness op­er­a­tions, but de­vel­op­ers can be im­petu­ous in their rush to cre­ate spon­ta­neous cre­ative new tools that they hope will change the world.

Add these is­sues to the vast num­ber of tools used by de­vel­op­ers and IT, and we have a mael­strom of fac­tors that are all ap­ply­ing forces in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions. The va­ri­ety of form and func­tion here makes it dif­fi­cult for lead­ers to get a holis­tic view of how each team is per­form­ing. This lack of vis­i­bil­ity slows the be­havioural and cul­tural change needed to suc­ceed.

Thank­fully, we have over the course of the last decade re­fined an ap­proach that brings the com­bined ef­forts of de­vel­op­ers and op­er­a­tions more closely to­gether. We have called it, very log­i­cally, Devops. Forrester Re­search sug­gests that three in four busi­nesses will adopt

Devops method­olo­gies in the next year in or­der to strike a bal­ance be­tween mov­ing fast and en­sur­ing the busi­ness runs smoothly.

As we turn the decade then, Devops is with us and we can see that dif­fer­ent or­gan­i­sa­tions are im­ple­ment­ing it at dif­fer­ing de­grees of suc­cess.

So, what hap­pens next?

Di­min­ish­ing Devops dilem­mas

What mat­ters now is how we use Devops to stream­line soft­ware de­vel­op­ment. Be­ing able to make it ‘fit’ the busi­ness — and I mean pre­ci­sion en­gi­neer­ing level fit — en­tails be­ing able to scale it across the en­tire or­gan­i­sa­tion’s tech­nol­ogy es­tate. This is one of the key Devops dilem­mas that the ma­jor­ity of com­pa­nies finds most chal­leng­ing to achieve.

With many ‘ops’ func­tions be­ing per­formed man­u­ally, the im­ple­men­ta­tion of en­ter­prise pro­cesses in au­dit, com­pli­ance, se­cu­rity and change man­age­ment needs to be el­e­vated to a higher plane.

But it’s not just the bur­den of man­ual process — older firms are weighed down with a plethora of sys­tems that have no in­ter­con­nec­tiv­ity or in­te­gra­tion. There is du­pli­ca­tion of data and a lack of care in terms of keep­ing data pipe­lines cur­rent, which means that new au­to­ma­tion meth­ods don’t nec­es­sar­ily work with­out mas­sive in­vest­ment and re- en­gi­neer­ing. This in­tro­duces huge risk at a time when cus­tomers are fickle and can leave in a heart­beat.

Or­gan­i­sa­tions look­ing to scale the ap­pli­ca­tion of Devops need to take a plat­form-level view of their de­ploy­ments. A more com­pre­hen­sive and con­nected ap­proach to Devops can pro­vide the re­quired level of vis­i­bil­ity across the en­tire prod­uct de­vel­op­ment toolchain. Fo­cus­ing on a sin­gle part of the Devops process is good, but do­ing so within a broader dash­board view of all tech­nolo­gies in play is es­sen­tial if or­gan­i­sa­tions are go­ing to be able to plan, de­velop, test, de­ploy and then fur­ther de­velop.

Fi­nan­cial ser­vices un­der pres­sure

We see mas­sive pres­sures put upon es­tab­lished firms in the fi­nan­cial ser­vices in­dus­try due to huge reg­u­la­tory changes hap­pen­ing across the sec­tor. These com­pa­nies need to bring legacy sys­tems for­ward into dig­i­tal and do it at a mas­sive scale in con­trolled se­cure en­vi­ron­ments.

At the same time, the es­tab­lished play­ers are be­ing dis­rupted by fin­tech star­tups with no legacy sys­tems to over­haul. These smaller star­tups are nat­u­rally less mono­lithic and are of­ten bril­liant at de­liv­er­ing a sin­gle prod­uct or ser­vice. This means they move so much faster and in tune with rapidly chang­ing cus­tomer needs. The star­tups — in many cases Devops na­tives from the get-go — are pro­vid­ing fur­ther proof for the es­tab­lished bas­tions of fi­nan­cial ser­vices that they need to adopt Devops in or­der to go for­ward.

Devops is here, now onto De­vaiops Pos­i­tive, pro­duc­tive and prag­matic Devops is a work­ing en­vi­ron­ment where busi­ness lead­ers can eas­ily view com­mon met­rics across teams and drive best prac­tices, re­gard­less of the tools be­ing used. This can mean shorter de­vel­op­ment cy­cles, in­creased de­ploy­ment fre­quency and more de­pend­able, high- qual­ity re­leases.

Truly ef­fec­tive Devops al­lows IT de­part­ments to ap­prove code faster by au­tomat­ing the process based on pre­set rules and poli­cies de­ter­mined by change man­agers, in turn al­low­ing them to fo­cus at­ten­tion on higher risk sub­mis­sions. De­vel­op­ers should be able to see their code in pro­duc­tion in min­utes rather than days or weeks, and build code and sub­mit it for ap­proval us­ing their favourite tools.

As we em­brace Devops, we can start ap­ply­ing a grow­ing num­ber of au­ton­o­mous tools that pro­vide self- check­ing and self-heal­ing mech­a­nisms — adding AI to en­able DE­VAIOPS. Code gets fixed, up­dated, aug­mented and de­ployed with­out hu­man in­ter­ven­tion. This frees up op­er­a­tors on both sides of the Devops di­vide to fo­cus on more com­plex is­sues that are truly busi­ness im­pact­ing.

Au­to­ma­tion is a key part of our Devops fu­ture, but it won’t re­place the hu­mans or sig­nal the rise of the ro­bots. All en­ter­prises must gear up for Devops to help the busi­ness move faster. At the same time, De­vaiops is on the way and we need to ‘smarten up’ for it to drive busi­ness to the next level.

A more com­pre­hen­sive and con­nected ap­proach to Devops can pro­vide the re­quired level of vis­i­bil­ity across the en­tire prod­uct de­vel­op­ment toolchain.” Au­to­ma­tion is a key part of our Devops fu­ture, but it won’t re­place the hu­mans or sig­nal the rise of the ro­bots. All en­ter­prises must gear up for Devops to help the busi­ness move faster. ”

Chris Pope, VP In­no­va­tion, Ser­vi­cenow.

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