DevOps delivers agility and growth, but 80 percent still struggle with it

Everyone is doing DevOps, but how many are really doing DevOps? Survey shows there's work to be done.
Written by Joe McKendrick, Contributing Writer

DevOps seems to be the hot methodology of the day, but how far along has it come in organizations? Well, let's just say many DevOps efforts are still works in progress.

Photo: HubSpot

The survey of 1,442 senior IT and business executives, released by CA Technologies, finds only 20 percent of organizations that have attempted to implement DevOps have fully deployed it, the survey finds. But it's well worth the additional effort. The research also found that these "advanced" DevOps adopters were more likely to report that their digital initiatives contributed to competitiveness, customer retention and top- and bottom-line results.

In DevOps, the creativity and pace of developers is coordinated -- and automated as much as possible -- with the demanding testing, QA and release schedules overseen by operations people. Thus, an effective DevOps effort requires cultural change -- with the right mix of education, skills, collaboration, enablers and controls.

Assembling all of the pieces of the DevOps puzzle may require time, effort and careful planning, but the results are worth it. Advanced DevOps adopters (again, that 20 percent) are three times as likely than their less-DevOpy counterparts to be able to act quickly on new business opportunities (63 percent versus 21 percent). They are also three times more likely to have seen a bump in their market share as a result of their more rapid turnaround of software. They are also twice as likely to have seen revenue and profit growth than their less-developed peers. Customer connections are also stronger -- advanced DevOpers are twice as likely to have seen improvements in customer retention and acquisition.

There are still many missing pieces in the DevOps "puzzle," the survey's authors contend. About half (55 percent) of respondents stated that they have a well-defined DevOps strategy and objectives -- which isn't bad, but suggests that close to half of enterprises are still struggling. When looking at other vital components of a DevOps engagement, things fall apart quickly. For instance, while 86 percent considered business stakeholder education, and the alignment of IT and business priorities to be important, only 33 percent and 37 percent respectively had completed these steps.

Although both development and operations teams may have individually implemented modern methods and automation techniques, the majority (63 percent) of the DevOps adopters say there's still work to be done in relation to infrastructure and tooling. Also, with 46 percent of respondents still working on security and compliance, it's clear that most DevOps activity is not well supported from an enabling platform and risk management perspective.

One of the great things about DevOps is that adoption often starts at a grass roots level within IT departments, enhanced by the availability of open source tools, the survey report's authors point out. "All of this leads to a high degree of commitment and enthusiasm among IT teams." Ultimately, they add, DevOps needs to be seen as a business engagement, and "less as a way of simply optimizing the inner workings of IT, The overriding goal is to drive sustainable competitive advantage, and in an increasingly fast-paced, ever-changing business environment, this translates to a need for an ongoing flow of innovation and value."

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