DOES 2018: Why DevOps is the lynchpin of the modern business world

DevOpsGroup Chairman Adam Hale

One of the main attractions of the annual DevOps Enterprise Summit is that it’s a unique opportunity to share knowledge and network with the people at the cutting-edge of technology and digital transformation.

The London event took place on between June 25th and 26th, attracting 3,000 technologists, business executives and academics from across the world.

It was packed with a series of exciting and informative keynotes, panels, breakouts and networking sessions – covering DevOps, digital transformation and agile. These were led by industry leaders such as Microsoft, Amazon, IBM, and DevOps Research and Assessment.

Our chairman, Adam Hale, attended the event to gain a deeper insight into this exciting industry. He describes it as an “eye-opening experience” with some “real surprises” and feels like he was able to form an in-depth view of DevOps.  Here are some of the key things he took away from the event.

All businesses are technology firms

To stay ahead of competitors and enable rapid innovation in today’s interconnected world, it’s clear that organisations must invest significantly in IT and align it with business strategy.

This is inherently clear in The Phoenix Project. Bill, the fictional CIO on a mission to save Parts Unlimited from oblivion, says: “When IT fails, the business fails. It stands to reason that if IT is organised so that it can win, the business wins, too.”

The notion that IT should be at the forefront of modern, forward-thinking companies came up on several occasions at the DevOps Enterprise Summit – and the stats prove it. At Jaguar Land Rover, 1 in 8 employees works in software.

Meanwhile, out of the 80,000 people who work at Barclays, 29,000 are in technology roles, and Adidas manages 50 million lines of code and 90,000 computers. Adam admits that he was surprised by these findings, saying: “They all describe themselves as being software and technology companies.”

Businesses must drive change

Without a clear technology focus, companies risk being outflanked by competitors – just look at the impact Uber has had on the transportation sector.

Adam says: “Companies are struggling to deliver business outcomes, held back by silos and organisational stovepipes and a lack of joined up delivery. This leads to any change taking months or even years, causing growth to stall and decline to set in.”

However, by adopting DevOps methodologies and practices, they can streamline business processes, innovate at speed and tap into new revenue streams.

“One speaker talked about General Electric (GE) going from being the most valuable company in the world to recently dropping out of the Dow index. DevOps is the primary mechanism to join up and drive business change across the company. Ignoring this area is not a good option,” continues Hale.

It’s not just legacy businesses that should be interested in DevOps, though. This holistic way of working is also paramount for digital businesses. Adam’s view is that they have a choice.

“Keep continually changing to drive to global leadership, or risk becoming a niche business through constraints that start to slow them down. DevOps is a mechanism of delivering scalability while maintaining growth,” he adds.

Agile is not enough

Of course, although DevOps can solve lots of problems for organisations, it’s something that needs careful planning and that should involve the entire organisation. Adam says everyone should be involved in the digital transformation process.

“Just because some development teams have ‘gone agile’ doesn’t mean everything will be ok. Success is all about delivering business outcomes through the business and looking at it through a product point-of-view. This requires all teams across the business, technology and operations working together in a new way,” he explains.

Approaching DevOps is wide-ranging, with organisations investing in Dojos, hackathons, community spaces and stand-ups to increase workflow across teams. “Back in the 80s/90s I remember similar thinking with ‘Business Integration’, bringing together changes to people, processes and technology to deliver benefits,” remarks Adam.

“I recognise the excitement and the growth from those days. In my 10 years at Andersen Consulting (now Accenture) the UK went from 500-5,000 people, and the same kind of growth is happening now.”

Succeeding with DevOps

DevOps is still a relatively new approach in the technology world, and it’s always evolving. But DOES functioned as a platform where companies could shout about the amazing things they’ve achieved by investing in this set of practices.

“There are many case studies of success from organisations who have transformed their businesses through this initiative, including big organisations like Admiral Insurance, DWP, Verizon and Vodafone. Many talked about their entire culture changing across the business in a positive way. Success needs combined leadership and sponsorship from ALL areas of the business, not just from technology,” says Adam.

A unique opportunity

Regardless of the industry or profession in which you work, the fact is that DevOps is a unique opportunity for everyone.

“There is a huge new wave of software companies in the space, some of which you might not know that well. The picture of sponsors above is a good starting list. Atlassian (Jira) are worth $14.5bn, Microsoft just bought GitHub for $7.5bn, and Chef, Puppet and Docker are all unicorns,” concludes Adam.

“Software alone does not help companies deliver DevOps programmes, the mission of DevOpsGroup is to help companies deliver projects and outcomes through working with the right mechanisms and tools. It’s a fantastic business I’m very excited to be involved.”

We’d like to thank Gene Kim, Mirco Hering, Derek Langone, Dominica DeGrandis, Mayank Prakash and, of course, UK visionaries like James Smith, Steve Thair and the DevOpsGroup team.

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