CIOs intent on embracing a digital future must often alter their IT operating models to get there. Nowhere is this more evident than when it comes to developing software and services.
To build software faster, CIOs are kicking old waterfall habits in favor of agile methodologies in which they partner with business stakeholders to build applications rapidly in iterative sprints. And some believe they can accelerate software development even further by implementing an emerging philosophy known as DevOps.
DevOps, a mashup of "development" and "operations," describes the organisational structure, practices and culture required to enable rapid agile development and scalable operations. DevOps automates software assembly, leveraging continuous integration, development and deployment, to improve customer experiences, respond faster to business needs, and ensure that innovation is balanced with security and operational needs. You can think of DevOps as agile on steroids.
And it is catching on. Fifty percent of 237 organisations surveyed said they are implementing DevOps, according to Forrester Research. "The DevOps momentum is occurring within all industry sectors," analyst Robert Stroud wrote in the research report. "As we are near the end of 2017, the number of inquiries are increasingly focused on how organisations will be successful given the pressure of accelerated delivery of applications and services — without additional headcount."
The transition to DevOps is by no means easy, thanks to organisational siloes, cultural hurdles and change management issues. Here, IT executives from Intuit, MetLife and Red Hat discuss their experienced in making the DevOps shift and offer tips for CIOs looking to dive into DevOps.
The DevOps shift
Blending cybersecurity and DevOps for a software maker whose 4,500 developers have built applications using waterfall for years is no easy task but it's the No. 1 priority for Shannon Lietz, director of DevSecOps for Intuit. The shift has required getting developers to be accountable for the value they create for customers. "It’s such a cultural shift," Lietz says. "The closer you can get to the customer, the more enriching the experience becomes for developers, the other people within the company and for your customers."
"There’s a scientific dedication that makes DevOps practical and successful and I've found that trying to introduce science into a company is very hard," Lietz says. "It’s a different way of operating."
For MetLife, introducing DevOps has gone hand in hand with innovation. In the past few years, MetLife has embarked on DevOps in parallel with its adoption of cloud services from Microsoft and IBM and container technology from Docker, according to Alex Seidita, chief technology architect for the 150-year-old insurance company.