Phoenix Rising: The DevOps Keys to Business Rebirth

Original article


In “The Phoenix Project,” a 2013 novel about an IT manager rescuing a late, over-budget IT initiative, Gene Kim demonstrates how collaboration between IT operations, development and business users can impact the business. In the era of digital transformation, the need to bring development and operations together—in what is often called DevOps—is more important than ever, as IT is now more than an enabler of the business. IT is the business.

What’s at stake today is more than just a project or someone’s position or even the viability of an in-house department versus outsourcing the function. Instead, it may be the very existence of the company. According to Gartner, 25 percent of companies will lose business due to digital incompetence by 2017 while IDC predicts that 75 percent of the S&P 500 will be replaced by 2027. To avoid the fate of becoming an industry has-been, today’s market leaders need to ensure they won’t be overtaken by more agile competitors that respond faster to a rapidly changing marketplace.

Automate Everything

Today’s businesses need to transform into digital enterprises to thrive in today’s digital economy, and this transformation needs to be far more profound than simply investing in the latest digital technology. Because the pace of the digital economy requires companies to roll out new services faster than ever before, businesses are challenged to move from idea to revenue as soon as possible. This need for speed leads to a desire—really a requirement—for agile applications.

For many of today’s enterprises, this means they have to stop thinking that a successful future depends solely on a traditional strategy of product innovation, using data analytics to better understand and serve their customers or building a higher quality, more profitable product portfolio. Instead, like the mythical phoenix, their survival may well depend on a complete rebirth around making the practices of agile application delivery and DevOps a core competency.

DevOps teams need the ability to efficiently develop, test and deploy new releases faster, with high quality and stability. Using automation technologies to design-in this speed, quality and scalability within the development life cycle is critical.  The continuous integration and delivery processes at the core of DevOps and agile practices are enabled by many new automation tools and capabilities. Each of these tools typically targets discrete elements or steps in the entire process and DevOps teams use them as such, finding the right tool for the job. In addition to faster and higher-quality development throughput, building automation into the code of the application ensures better application services delivery in the production environment.

The good news is that 60 percent to 70 percent of these enterprise application services or jobs within most organizations are micro-batch, batch or event-driven—and can be managed with a comprehensive job scheduling solution. By automating jobs as part of the application code and subjecting the job artifact to all the other automation processes, companies can substantially reduce time and effort during and after the application delivery process.

According to Enterprise Management Associates, companies with workload automation reduce application outage time by about 70 hours annually, raise service level agreement standards, free 41 percent more IT staff for strategic projects, and defer or eliminate an average of 50 percent of IT staffing requirements.

Traditional vs. Innovative IT

Too many companies intent on being agile and innovative believe that a successful DevOps organization must be free of the trappings of rigorous change management. Business innovation and increased employee productivity, however, can’t exist without a stable IT foundation. The goal is to have a balance of both strategies in an organization. Gartner refers to this as Bimodal IT, which has two modes: “Mode 1 is a traditional, plan-driven approach that emphasizes safety and accuracy in the pursuit of reliability. Mode 2 is iterative, being largely outcome-focused and emphasizing agility and ‘just enough’ with respect to areas such as planning and process.”

By committing to balancing the two strategies, organizations can increase agility without sacrificing stability. More importantly, companies can increase employee satisfaction by different teams successfully doing the jobs they are paid to do, whether it’s to drive innovation or keep the lights on. It’s worth noting that Gartner believes many elements in DevOps apply to both modes and that by 2020, at least 80 percent of practices identified today with DevOps and Mode 2 will be adopted by traditional Mode 1 groups.

While thinking of your company as a phoenix may be essential for survival, the benefits go way beyond that. Just like the revitalized bird, your company can once again be youthful and vibrant, capable of soaring to new heights. This is a strategic goal worth investing in.

About the Author / Gur Steif

gursteifGur Steif is the president of the Workload Automation product line for BMC Software. Under Steif’s leadership, the Workload Automation business has more than doubled in size. Previously, Steif was the general manager and vice president for both the Workload Automation product line and the Performance & Availability business line. During this time, he grew the Workload Automation business at triple the market growth rate while also delivering a double-digit increase in customer satisfaction for Performance & Availability. In his 25-year career in technology, Steif has held leadership roles in strategy, product management, R&D, sales, marketing and M&A in IT operations management, application management and workload automation. Connect with him on LinkedIn/Twitter.

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