To prosper in today’s highly competitive business landscape, organisations need to innovate quickly by designing new products and services and digitising processes. Achieving this requires increased business agility and a responsive technology function. It is no surprise then that modernising infrastructure and developing capabilities to support an increasing volume of high-velocity digital projects are at the top of most CIO agendas.

To achieve this objective many organisations have adopted an Agile-based development process. However, this in itself does not deliver the desired goal of business agility or responsiveness. The adoption of Cloud infrastructure and the implementation of a DevOps process for software development, testing and deployment are now considered essential if an organisation is to become truly agile and reap the benefits of the digital economy.


What is DevOps?

DevOps is an approach to delivery, not a distinct role or function. The name DevOps was devised to represent the collaboration that takes place between technical teams, typically encompassing development and operations, but also extending into QA testing, release and beyond.

To become agile organisations should not only adopt DevOps, they should also automate as much of the DevOps process as possible. Automation reduces hand-offs between participants in the process, and is critical for a number of reasons:

–  Significantly improves build quality, delivery and deployment cycles

–  Ensures faster time-to-market/delivery times that improves ROI

–  Enables agile teams to participate in the project pipeline using a continuous integration/continuous delivery approach

–  Reduces human error

One of the most important tenets to a successful DevOps organisation is culture. The organisations that advocate the shared responsibility, the empowered autonomous teams, the can-do attitudes, and the continuous learning environment in which DevOps thrives will see the biggest benefits.

What about the tools?

There are a large number of DevOps tools out there that support automation, such as Chef, Puppet, Ansible and Docker, along with tooling and APIs from the cloud providers, such as AWS, Azure, and Google. But DevOps isn’t primarily about the specific tools used, it’s about the approach to work and the collaboration between tech teams, where the focus should be on maximising automation. The tools can do a great job supporting the process, but they shouldn’t dictate it.

Cloud + DevOps makes it all happen? 

Cloud Exception

Cloud adoption is possibly the most important change we have witnessed in the technology industry since the web revolutionised how businesses can interact with their customers.  As organisations migrate to the cloud, they are modifying their core assumptions about software delivery. Cloud platforms offer APIs for provisioning and management of resources, making it far easier to automate the application delivery process. Organisations that migrate workloads to the cloud without taking advantage of the automation opportunities are missing a key point: The cloud represents an opportunity to increase agility, improve security, reduce manual costs, and shift as much of the operational burden as possible to the supplier. The support cloud providers offer related to security, scalability, and monitoring is well-defined, and underscores the growing superiority of cloud providers over traditional data centre approaches.

Should I get going with DevOps + Cloud?

It is worth noting that while both DevOps practices and Cloud tools help organisations deliver software more quickly, and with better quality, the benefits are increased when the two are used together.  By integrating employees from ops into cross-functional agile teams and emphasising automation, DevOps can create tremendous value.

Increasingly, we find that many organisations are opting for a hybrid cloud approach, choosing to invest in platforms that can run on-premises or in a public cloud. This approach gives organisation’s maximum flexibility to deploy workloads where it makes most sense for their business. There is no one-size-fits-all approach; these decisions need to be considered in relation to business priorities, the need for agility, and tolerance for risk.

Exception has a proven track record in deploying Agile, Cloud and DevOps capabilities to deliver digital products and transformation programs. If you’re considering your next steps or how to approach digital transformation, or you are interested in how to increase business agility we would be delighted to hear from you.

Martin Burke – Exception Group

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