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Ritu Mahandru at CA Technologies explores recent research that suggests European organisations acknowledge the importance of DevOps methodologies in supporting revenue growth, but are failing to demonstrate best practice

In today’s application economy, customer engagement, workforce management and partner engagement can all be transformed by digital initiatives. A major study conducted by Freeform Dynamics and commissioned by CA Technologies reveals that 62 percent of UK organisations agree that digital initiatives are making a major contribution to opening new routes to market and being able to quickly on opportunities.

One broadly recognised means of delivering this digital transformation is the DevOps methodology. DevOps is a contraction of ‘developers’ and ‘operations’. Its goal is to help both sides work collaboratively to reduce friction and increase velocity.

However, only 34 percent of UK organisations have broadly implemented DevOps so far.

In addition, even amongst those who are embracing DevOps, many are struggling to demonstrate best practice. Their approach may weaken a digital transformation strategy and see them quickly overtaken by competitors adopting DevOps best practices.

This is precisely what the study is telling us. It highlights the essential attributes for DevOps success, grouped in three main areas in a ‘jigsaw’ of enablers: the need for a business-led approach, skilled and collaborative IT resources and the adoption of key controls. European organisations fall short in all these areas.

1601_DevOps_Jigsaw

So where are European organisations falling short, and what advice must they heed to prevent them falling behind their competitors?

  1. A business-led approach to DevOps

The study shows that 80 percent of UK organisations agree it is important to educate business stakeholders on the value of DevOps, but only 37 percent have done so. A well-defined strategy and set of objectives need to reflect the business priorities. Business stakeholders must therefore be included from the start, so be prepared to educate them on key principles.

  1. Skilled and collaborative IT resources

Some 86 percent of UK organisations agree it is important to have relevant IT knowledge and skills in place, but only 27 percent currently do so. Training may be needed on automation techniques and cross-discipline skills. Processes must be put in place to support seamless workflow, collaboration and feedback mechanisms, but these will only work if cultural harmony is created.

  1. Key enablers and controls

Some 85 percent of UK organisations agree it is important to deal with the security and compliance challenges surrounding the DevOps methodology, for example, but only 23 percent have already achieved this. Risk management is an obvious imperative for a DevOps strategy and it makes sense to drive consistency in areas like security and compliance that benefit from central coordination.

  1. Cultural harmony

Part of the reason for this capability gap may be explained by the lack of cultural harmony in IT. Some 67 percent of UK organisations agree it is important to break down cultural barriers between Dev and Ops teams, but only 40 percent have fully dealt with cultural transformation. Getting past traditional lines of demarcation, ingrained mind-sets and long-established turf wars takes time and patience.

Bonus points for containerization

Additionally, some 65 percent of UK organisations are using containerization to support their IT delivery, whether as part of a DevOps initiative or not. Containerization has the potential to improve their application portability, increases productivity among both developers and operations staff and allows teams to work more collaboratively.

How do Advanced DevOps users perform?

The study reveals a group of ‘Advanced DevOps Adopters’: organisations with DevOps implementation activity in all parts of the ‘jigsaw’, and full implementation of at least six pieces. Only 17 percent of UK organisations are in this advanced adoption category, compared with 32 percent in the U.S.

These Advanced DevOps Adopters are moving ahead fast. For example, 65 percent of Advanced DevOps Adopters in Europe believe digital initiatives make a major contribution to acting quickly on opportunities, compared with 17 percent of organisations with no DevOps adoption.

Advanced DevOps Adopters also achieve better business scorecard results due to their digital initiatives. Across Europe, 85 percent of these organisations have achieved ‘significant measurable benefits’ in customer retention, 76 percent have achieved similar results in customer acquisition and 68 percent have achieved ‘significant measurable benefits’ in new income streams.

Drawing it all together

DevOps has a major role to play in the application economy, helping to innovate the new services that capture new revenue and ensure continued customer satisfaction. However, European organisations will only prosper if they adopt all the ingredients of the DevOps methodology jigsaw: a business-led approach, collaborative IT resources, key controls and cultural harmony. If they don’t, they will quickly be overtaken by their rivals.

To get the full survey results, download “Assembling the DevOps Jigsaw”

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