4 areas where devops and CIOs must get on the same page

CIOs have an optimistic view of the state of devops. Now’s the time to align CIO goals and devops practitioners’ realities

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With more businesses adopting devops—and even more experiencing a need for faster development cycles—it’s imperative that executives and devops practitioners work together to ensure success. Despite devops gaining momentum, teams are still struggling to transform their current stack to better accommodate an accelerating pipeline.

Upon closer examination, part of the problem is that these two groups are on very different pages when it comes to strategy customer experience and progress. A recent report from Forrester notes that more than 60 percent of executives believe their organization’s devops plans have been implemented and will even expand throughout the year. However, more than 50 percent of devops pros who are in the weeds and working through their pipelines every day disagree. 

What’s causing this disconnect? 

In particular, dev teams have started to encounter three major transformations causing a shift left as new developments and enhancements catch the eye of the C-suite. Although these changes help ensure devops implementations are successful, they also add additional pressures to their daily responsibilities that often go unnoticed by the C-suite.

First, as sophisticated sensors, AR and location/camera-based app use cases continue to increase, there is a rise in digital engagement across platforms. As result, teams now have more to measure, test, and develop. Second, the growing need for faster turnarounds of new releases puts added pressure on devops pros to speed up the process for continuous deployment (CD), leading to the growth of continuous testing and continuous integration (CI). And finally, the ever-changing technical landscape brings more tools—both commercial and open source—and technologies to the market to enhance devops adoption.

Despite the disconnect that exists between the two groups, it is possible to get everyone on the same page and to have the same optimistic view of the current state of devops that members of the C-suite have. The first step is aligning executives’ objectives with devops practitioners’ realities. Setting realistic, attainable goals based on happenings within the industry will help demonstrate how devops can help, not hinder the process.

Let’s explore four different areas where developers and CIOs can work together.

1. Start with the basics

Today, most developers rely on legacy systems to support different processes throughout the software development life cycle (SDLC). Legacy architectures mean legacy testing methods. Not surprisingly, these methods aren’t nearly as versatile or elastic as they need to be for today’s agile workflows and devops processes.

To keep up with the pace of software and app releases, developers need to churn out and automate different test scenarios quickly and in real time with continuous testing. Developers unfortunately do not have the luxury of time—they don’t have months, weeks or even days to test, analyze and update code before a new release. Shifting to automation and migrating to more modern platforms will give teams the flexibility they need.

Together, executives and developers should focus on modernizing their architectures, especially as new technologies like artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality begin to gain momentum and rise in popularity. When planning budgets for the rest of the year, and into the next year, executives should consider designating a portion of it for ripping and replacing their legacy architectures. 

2. Update legacy systems with a move to the cloud

To ensure quality throughout the SDLC, it is recommended that more than 95 percent of testing should be automated. What’s more, developers need stable development and testing environments. After all, unstable dev/test environments hinder devops success. 

One of the first steps to updating legacy systems begins with a move to a cloud model. The cloud typically yields much higher uptime than any other in-house lab or server. While the move can be daunting, the return is astronomical for everyone throughout the company, from IT to R&D. Determining both the operational requirements, and testing and dev software and hardware requirements together, can help devops teams and their CIOs to build the proper case with the right ROI for moving to the cloud. Such benefits can translate into improved release velocity due to a much stable Dev and test environment, higher quality due to greater scale that cloud services offer, and overall improve devops team’s productivity.

3. Jump on the IoT bandwagon … sparingly

IoT is something all executives want to talk about and focus on internally within their organizations. While the internet of things will continue to be a big focus for many devops professionals, it works better for some market segments than it does in others.

For example, of the various vertical markets, the financial services, health care, retail, and automotive markets should consider advanced IoT use cases to optimize their business outcomes and competitive edge. However, if your organization does not fall into one of these markets, the adoption will be slow.

Ensuring that existing test automation frameworks are in top-notch shape, and that the entire lab that is used by the devops teams is suitable to support the IoT use cases, is a key for maturing the product.

Similar to mobile, IoT requires a unique discipline, and a set of practices within the devops pipeline to ensure fast release cycles, and high quality as well as in specific market segments also meeting strict compliances and regulatory requirements (such as health care). For that, as mentioned above, the lab and test automation play a key role, but also having on-demand visibility into the devops pipeline quality is imperative for success. Teams need quality visibility for both faster velocity, faster resolution of issues, and quality evidence and track records for analysis and compliance.

4. Carefully consider the future of AI

Looking at today’s top headlines, it may seem like everyone in the industry is talking about AI—and AI only—and the C-suite wants to get in on the conversation. Whether it’s machine learning, deep learning, or biometrics, AI is quickly infusing its way into all industries and aspects of our lives.

While AI is definitely a hot topic at the moment, most organizations have yet to determine how devops will be used to increase AI in the enterprise. Instead of demanding a plan of action to tackle AI, devops pros and executives should work together to determine how they can best incorporate AI into their devops strategies. My recommendation? Consider how it can help to bolster analytics automation. 

For executives and devops pros, working together on these priorities will encourage greater collaboration and better alignment on devops in 2018 and in years to come.

Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.