Strengthening the flow of DevOps with data, tools and culture

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We’re on the brink of a major technological evolution that is changing the way we communicate, live and work. With the fourth industrial revolution, the explosion of data is disrupting conventional business models and the way technology impacts the decision making process of people. Digital transformation brings the complexities of new and segmenting IT developments.

As more and more Australian organisations are realising the importance of collaborating through data, the challenge for business leaders is finding the right technology and processes to achieve just that. DevOps is one term that has likely come up in such discussions. Traditionally the domain of the IT team, benefits of DevOps from a business perspective may be unclear. In this article, we’ll unpack DevOps and why it’s key to helping local businesses establish a more agile work environment.

Backing DevOps processes with data

DevOps, based on ideas around measurement and sharing, is becoming mainstream. Companies are looking to scale their DevOps ‘culture’ beyond IT operations, to reach across their entire business. While maintaining the core principles of DevOps – agility, speed, velocity and quality – businesses are taking the next step with DevOps by implementing a data-first process. For example, when a company puts out a new feature on its website or mobile app, no one knows how the features are being used or what aspect of the feature is garnering interest.

The challenge is that some developers and operations get ‘lost in translation’ where developers have one set of tools and languages, and operations teams are using entirely different approach. Using insights from data to drive DevOps decisions provides a common ground so organisations can achieve greater visibility, faster, and with better results.

NBC Universal is a good example of a company using a data-driven DevOps strategy to improve efficiency and increase customer satisfaction. Using data extracted from systems across development, test, acceptance and production environments, NBC Universal tracks the performance of new releases from pre-production, quality assurance and during production. This insight, such as errors per release and length of installation time, is fed back into the new release cycle and informs future business decisions. NBC Universal’s development teams use the same data-driven approach to resolve an issue before it manifest on their website or before it’s reported by a customer.

Breaking down IT complexity with DevOps

DevOps is the collaborative workplace for IT – it breaks down the silo between developers and operational teams. The next step is ensuring that DevOps and the rest of the organisation align on delivering critical services that sustain business outcomes. To properly achieve this, employees must feel empowered and enabled.

Whether you’re an employee or a manager, working with your team is critical because you each bring a different perspective to how the business operates. Sharing information between teams empowers people to make their own decisions. Developers understand the impact of those decisions and they know what’s important for their business. Team members must have accountability with each other: “Why did I choose that? Was it the wrong decision?” These ideas coming together change the way people cooperate.

Domino’s is a great example of a company where collaboration is key to refining DevOps best practices. Ensuring technology security used to be a bump in the DevOps workflow, with developers bringing security input into projects too late in the process. The security team connected with developers to work out a faster, easier way for to determine security requirements on projects. Security joined a workflow that already worked well – what used to require more than 20 hours of meetings and review now takes minutes. With the correct applications in place, Domino’s automated a unique workflow and broke down barriers between security and development. Creating more openness between security and development also enabled Domino’s to deliver a seamless customer experience.

As we’re entering a new era where a shift in collaboration is critical to success, the driving force behind this isn’t only a shift in workflow, but a shift in mindset. Data is the key to unlocking a common DevOps language, to foster collaboration between tools and people. Now is the time to ensure your business is well positioned to architect an agile and reliable DevOps strategy.

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