Digital transformation has triggered companies to relook at existing business models and their approach to operationalize day-to-day processes. Nowhere is this more evident than software development. To meet the demands of advanced innovation and quicker delivery of new applications and services, IT teams are transitioning to DevOps models that close the gap between development and operations.
And DevOps is making bold strides. According to a survey by a reputed market research company, 50% of organizations said they were already leveraging DevOps to support their digital business transformation.
However, the transition to DevOps is by no means easy. As software teams move further along their DevOps journey, they realize that in spite of some improvements, scaling up remains their biggest obstacle. CIOs and the rest of the C-suite need to address challenges on multiple fronts, thanks to technological issues alongside others involving change management, cultural hurdles, and even organizational structure.
So, what are the industry dos and don’ts that enterprises need to be aware of in the current scenario? Mike Maheu, VP Engineering & Strategy at Go2Group, in an interview with Millennium Live at Digital Enterprise Transformation Day New York, The Millennium Alliance, discusses his experience in helping clients make the DevOps shift and offers tips for CIOs looking to support their digital transformation with DevOps. He points out how “tool fragmentation” can become a major barrier to your DevOps initiative, and the need to align your agile process with DevOps strategy for the best results. Mike has worked with some of the top organizations across the globe in streamlining their CI/CD flow, enhancing the rigor around their IT operational processes, and improving DevOps performance.
For starters, we know that your company is located in eight different locations across the world. How important do you think it is to stay as connected as possible to your customers?
Mike: As a company, we are focused on building and maintaining long-term relationships with our customers. Our No.1 goal is to help medium to large enterprise companies develop software better through tooling and best practices. So, it’s not really a ‘set and forget’ strategy. For instance, we have some DevOps people that are leading the way within some pretty large organizations, and have been doing so for several years. This is something that we take seriously. We will continue to cultivate our relationships and help our customers continue their engineering improvements.
For those who aren’t aware of the benefits of DevOps, how can this strategy power digital business?
Mike: DevOps obviously is a word that is used quite a bit these days. But DevOps is really simple. It is essentially about:
- Better time to delivery with improved precision
- Building reproducible results through automated environments
There are many enterprise success stories on your website. What do you think is the most important thing for enterprises to think about before beginning their DevOps journey?
Mike: I think enterprises need to come up with a sort of a standard, based on best practices. In a lot of companies, we see their DevOps strategies coming from different groups from the bottom. They eventually end up with what we call “tools fragmentation” or using different stacks and different processes to do DevOps, which is one of the reasons why they engage us. It’s also extremely important to align your DevOps strategy with your agile process because we are really talking about going from requirements to delivery. Earlier, when it came to the delivery part, you would simply toss the code over to your operations guys, who would then deploy it to your server and hope that everything went well. But now with DevOps, it’s a lot faster. There is continuous feedback, and you are releasing on a continuous basis. So it’s about really creating a DevOps strategy and having standards across the organization, so that everybody practices DevOps in the same way and consistently improves with best practices.
“In a lot of companies, we see their DevOps strategies coming from different groups from the bottom. They eventually end up with what we call ‘tools fragmentation’ or using different stacks and different processes to do DevOps, which is one of the reasons why they engage us.”
— Mike Maheu, VP Engineering & Strategy
Is that now becoming the norm across a lot of your customers that you are working with?
Mike: I think a lot of our customers are fragmented. One of our customers in particular was very fragmented — the tools and platforms they used were all scattered. When they started going down the DevOps path, they were actually using Chef, and we came in and moved them over to Ansible. We also moved them into the cloud, so they are on AWS now. Our task was to evaluate which tools fit best into their organization (in the context of their culture and existing processes), and interconnect various pipelines into a streamlined workflow for Continuous Delivery or Deployment. We are also starting conversations to move them from Docker to Kubernetes. They use Jenkins too (CloudBees is one of our partners). And we are excited about talks coming up in the next couple of months around setting up their CI/CD pipelines and making their processes more streamlined.
The technology industry is evolving at the speed of light. Although it’s tough to predict, where do you see technology heading in the next 10 years?
Mike: I definitely see companies continuing to move to DevOps and cloud. I also feel Kubernetes will emerge as a big technology this year. A lot of companies are going to move their CI/CD pipelines to be based on containerization, and manage that with Kubernetes. Also, security and DevSecOps are going to become more standard.
What is your top business tip for C-level leaders in 2018?
Mike: Definitely embrace the cloud, particularly around DevOps, because there is no better place to be nimbler as far as build, deploy, and test is concerned than in the cloud. It is also important to have your DevOps strategy aligned with your agile process. If DevOps and Agile are not tightly coupled, it impacts your ability to release fast and improve speed and precision. Also, it’s not just about the tooling because as I said earlier, a lot of companies are becoming fragmented with too many tools.
Watch Mike’s complete interview for more on DevOps and digital transformation.
Want to share your DevOps transformation story? Write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. #DevOpsMatters
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