Benefits of DevOps

It seems obvious to observe that the benefits of implementing a DevOps environment will inure to the development and operations departments and that makes great functional sense.

Beyond development and operations, DevOps’ benefits must also increase value for the business. In the heat of daily activity this can sometimes be forgotten or overlooked. For the overall DevOps initiative to be successful it must be at the center of all planning and execution. DevOps’ value must be found in the context of the business.

The Benefits of DevOps

Agility

Agility, in the context of development, is created by rapidly receiving frequent feedback from users and having the ability to quickly respond to the feedback with improved code. Their results aren’t actualized until operations deploys them, so their agility is enabled by obtaining and collecting feedback which they can immediately share with development and very quickly seeing the response to that feedback in the form of new and improved code. The speed at which both achieve agility is directly dependent upon how efficiently they can each perform their tasks. By using the same tools and platforms many of the impediments between them are removed, making for much more frequent iterations of constant improvement.

All of this underlies the agility the business needs to achieve. Market conditions, competition, supplier changes, regulatory action, and many other conditions are impacting the business at an incredible rate. The ability to evaluate and respond to all these changes quickly is critical to remaining competitive and, ultimately to remaining viable. For the business, this is the definition of agility enabled by DevOps.

Alignment

Implicit to the efficiency of development, operations, and the business working together is the important process of keeping them in alignment with each other. This isn’t just strategic alignment in which everybody agrees on how to move. This is tactical, day-to-day, pragmatic alignment that absolutely must be constant, consistent, a shared commitment. Delays in developing code cost the process. Operations delayed in delivering and deploying new updates cost the process. Users taking too much time to provide feedback cost the process.

Taken together, this demonstrates the importance and value of DevOps in how it promotes interoperability. Using consistent policies, consistent procedures, and a shared responsibility to accelerate the process in every way possible brings teams together far more effectively than any team-building exercise possibly could.

Risk Mitigation

Risk is very familiar to all IT operations, which lives with the constant risk of business disruption and delay caused by undetected development errors. This creates substantial financial risk for the business and the risk of lost time and productivity for staff. By breaking the software development process down into far smaller pieces all these risks are mitigated. When rollback or resolution can be almost instantaneous, all these risks are reduced or eliminated altogether.

Innovation

Anything that doesn’t improve eventually dies. The constant improvement that is the major goal of DevOps is fueled by innovation. Feedback from users to development through the collection activities of operations does more than just resolve problems. The talented people who are closest to the activities that drive the business are most likely to generate new ideas, new concepts, and new value to be incorporated into the next iteration of the code. This means that everyone involved in the DevOps process contributes constantly to the process of innovating.

Velocity

Given that software drives every business, it follows that:

  • Faster time-to-collecting-and-implementing feedback leads to…
    • Faster time-to-improved-code which leads to faster time-to-production which leads to…
      • Faster time-to-market and, ultimately, much…
        • Faster time-to-value for the business and its customers which means that the business is exhibiting…
          • Faster time-to-respond to all the constantly changing market and customer conditions

Improved code does not only refer to faster processing, it also includes constant improvements to the quality of the overall software and the stability of all operations to avoid costly anomalies or outages.

The time value of money has never been more evident than it is today. Whoever employs the best software first earns a tremendous competitive advantage. DevOps’ reason for being is to develop better software faster.

Process Optimization and Constant Re-engineering

Bringing development, operations, and users together to align their working toolset enforces constant observation and evaluation of all processes. This evaluation leads to constant improvement through innovation and response to feedback. As such it instills built-in constant process improvements by constantly re-engineering all processes with full participation and agreement among all participants.

Productivity and Cost Reduction

The benefits most often cited for various process improvements have been saved for last in this discussion. The feedback that users provide comes from their need to improve their productivity. Since this feedback is the fuel that runs the DevOps process it is the pursuit of improved productivity that drives everything in an operation. Finally, cost is reduced by saving time at every stage, which contributes to the increased return on investment that is the ultimate objective of every business

Businesses in today’s climate of digital transformation depend upon software as one of the foundational pillars of their strategy. Anything that contributes to making and deploying better software faster results not only in the business’ ability to survive and thrive. It results in improved strategic competitive advantage, greater investor and stakeholder value, greater ROI, greater business valuation, driven by highly enabled user communities.

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