DevOps is catching on more than ever among more agile IT groups and now, based on survey data from CA Technologies, it is apparent that DevOps is indeed not only a way to produce better software faster but also to drive revenue.
DevOps is a methodology that helps foster collaboration between the teams that create and test applications (Dev) with those that maintain them in production environments (Ops). The relationship between Dev and Ops could often be characterized as a "church and state" sort of situation, in which each side often blamed the other for any shortcomings that might arise.
However, DevOps stresses communication, collaboration and integration between software developers and IT professionals. It is an Agile-related practice that is a response to the interdependence of software development and IT operations. It aims to help an organization rapidly produce software products and services, and benefits companies with very frequent releases.
"DevOps is about breaking barriers in IT which have slowed down IT change," Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC, said. "Historically, developers, who are usually tasked with the transformative task of changing the business are not well aligned with operations staff who are tasked with running the business as efficiently and reliably as possible. This separation has meant that resource provisioning for new applications took weeks and months, and troubleshooting and scaling newly deployed applications required working across this organizational divide."
CA commissioned the study, TechInsights Report: What Smart Business Know About DevOps. Vanson Bourne conducted the survey with 1,300 senior IT decision-makers worldwide on behalf of CA to learn global awareness and adoption of DevOps.
The study showed that IT leaders in the United States have seen concrete business benefits as a result of their organization's DevOps implementation. Respondents have experienced anywhere from a 17 to 23 percent improvement in business in the form of increased revenue, faster time-to-market, improved competitive positioning and enhanced customer experience. And 99 percent of U.S. respondents said they recognize a greater need for DevOps strategies than previously.
That in and of itself is good news for developers, as driving revenue and turning out products faster are key to developer progress and job security and career advancement.
Other developer benefits include improved site reliability, increased focus on production and developers ownership of their platform and infrastructure, among other things, Benjamin Wooton, a London-based freelance consultant specializing in software development and Agile processes, wrote in a blog post.
Indeed, a majority of respondents to the CA survey said they have seen or anticipate seeing about a 19 percent increase in revenue from DevOps. They also said they have been experiencing or anticipate seeing a 20 to 23 percent improvement in areas such as collaboration between departments, quality of deployed applications, customer numbers and increased time-to-market.
"In today's world of mobile apps and online consumer reviews, companies are under enormous pressure to deliver higher quality applications faster than ever before," Shridhar Mittal, general manager of application delivery at CA, said in a statement. "Companies, which have been around for more than 20 to 30 years, face big challenges as they have legacy systems. Those who are willing to undergo internal transformation can win the competition in the fast-changing markets."
The report also indicates a 22 percent increase in customers for respondents who have experienced benefits from implementing the methodology. The financial opportunity for U.S. organizations in particular is significant; 66 percent of respondents with a DevOps strategy have experienced an increase in revenue, the study showed. The report also shows that awareness of the practices associated with the strategy has increased—particularly as a means to better address customer demands and improve the customer experience overall.
Just as important, the report reveals that external factors such as customers, and not necessarily IT, are the major driving force for the DevOps strategy. The need to improve the end-customer experience is the top driver in the United States (68 percent), followed by the need for greater collaboration between development and operations teams (61 percent), the increased use of mobile devices (52 percent) and the increasing need to develop and deploy cloud-based applications (43 percent). In fact, internal pressures such as solving for the complexity of IT systems and cost-cutting are at the bottom of the list (7 percent and 2 percent in the United States, respectively), the study showed.
Meanwhile, organizations that have been successful with DevOps also recognize the importance of measuring success using business-relevant, externally focused metrics rather than internal measurements. Worldwide, 49 percent (91 percent in the U.S.) are measuring implementations primarily with external metrics such as increased revenue, faster time-to-market and improved customer experience, versus 38 percent (8 percent in the U.S.) primarily using internal metrics such as lower costs and improved efficiencies.
"CA Technologies has taken the lead in identifying the benefits and challenges of adopting DevOps," said Mittal. "The report paints a clear picture of what companies can expect to gain by embracing the new strategy and transforming their IT organization. DevOps is evolving from the theoretical into an essential strategic approach for all businesses."
Moreover, the CA study also showed that respondents said they expect DevOps to require additional investments. More than 70 percent of respondents said they anticipate investing in new tools and training for development and operations personnel while 53 percent foresee having to hire new personnel with the necessary skills.
While the benefits of DevOps have been expressed via the study, respondents also cited some potential obstacles to adopting DevOps methodologies, such as organizational complexity, lack of role alignment, and security or compliance concerns.