In the IT industry today, we find the term DevOps being used a lot, but the surprising thing is that not many professionals know what exactly the word means and of more importance, how it promotes efficiency and profitability in business. Regardless of organization type or size, IT-enabled innovation is part and parcel of business. Those able to leverage agility in delivering IT systems and running them in a reliable and cost-effective way having a bigger advantage against their competition. This is what has given rise to the DevOps concept.

Tracing back to the way things were before DevOps was a thing, there was a lot of conflict between the operations teams and the development ones. Developers naturally have the incentive to bring changes and consistently perfect a system whereas the IT professionals working in operations are naturally inclined towards maintaining stability which is often the opposite of allowing changes to be made. However, given today’s quickly evolving web app-centric business environments, there is a need to ensure that development speeds are higher while maintaining stability during the production process. This need then brings a necessity for the gap between these two teams to be minimized as much as possible; therefore DevOps was born. As such, the IT professionals who run your infrastructure and the software developers work closely together to increase quality and value for the systems. So, what does an IT professional need to know about DevOps?

It’s about Breaking Walls Down

IT departments all over have professionals who have mastered a particular skill set or are excellent in an individual discipline. In as much as this specialization does a lot of good to the value of products under development, it also causes teams to view collaborative projects as a waste of time. DevOps comes to remove these walls and encourage cross-functional teamwork which usually translates to better goal realizations and creation of better products.

DevOps is about Changing the Approach to Software Development

DevOps is not just a practice; it’s an entire change in the philosophy of developing software. Before the agile system development technique took hold of the software development industry, there were various bottlenecks to the system development life cycle that caused everything to come to a halt. Sometimes it would be the analysis or even the deployment/testing phases. However, by integrating DevOps, bottlenecks such as these tend not to appear often.

DevOps is also a Shift in Culture

At the core, DevOps is about teams being able to collaborate and communicate across the organization to make sure that the end products are the best. DevOps aims at increasing efficiency, cost savings, and excellent customer service. To attain this, different units in the business are expected to become adaptable and flexible enough to create the best possible products.

If the organization becomes rigid and doesn’t want to change the traditional enterprise approaches to software development, then improving aspects such as efficiency will become an uphill task. As Lloyd Taylor would put it, changing culture directly is impossible; however, you can change behavior, and the new behavior becomes culture.

DevOps Largely Focuses on Automation

In the traditional approach to software development, those in charge of the development of an application spend nearly as much time tracking and fixing bugs as they did writing code. This is a highly inefficient way of doing things. DevOps makes the testing and deployment process automatic giving developers time to focus on their core job. With just a few clicks on a continuous integration tool, you can run unit tests, deploy code onto a new server and from there perform a series of integration tests. This not only increases efficiency, but it also reduces the costs associated with development.

Developing an in-house automation tool can be a big daunting task given all the parameters that need to be checked and rechecked over time. Fortunately, there exist many continuous integration tools on the market such as Bamboo, BuildIT, AnthillPro, DeployBot among others.

DevOps Benefits

Companies that properly implement the DevOps culture see significant gains in the software engineering process and also helps to produce more value for both the customers and employees. Here are some ways DevOps can benefit you.

In an uncertain business environment, it’s critical to have practical results delivered frequently and more so without delay. Since customer satisfaction is a huge factor for any business, DevOps help in perceived timeliness of delivery. This means that clients will be very pleased with the way deliveries are made on time without any delays. By embracing DevOps and agile, the big projects are divided into smaller chunks and then delivered in a continuous manner. Since requirements tend to change over the lifespan of the project, it’s possible to produce short lead times as changes can be made at any point of the development process.
Every business wants to provide the best quality of service they can. There are usually two factors that determine perceived service quality and reliability. These are; how a service is available in the absence of error (MTTF: Mean-Time-To-Failure) and the capability to reinstate a service to a state where there are no errors (MTTR: Mean-Time-To-Repair).

Since DevOps brings about high release velocity and fast feedback loops, any deficiencies or errors in service are removed faster giving a shorter MTTR which brings about a better-perceived service reliability and quality.

To continue being of relevance in any industry, a business must change with the environment it is in. This change can be in response to a change in technology, market environment, and competitor aggressiveness. Gone are the days a customer would give elaborate upfront specifications and not change them until the delivery of the product. Project specifications change with time and business environments, therefore, by deploying DevOps, you can stay in front of the change cycles.

Since DevOps promotes shorter release cycles, the resulting feedback cycles are shortened. This means that as updates are rolled out, you can gauge and evaluate their responses early thus giving you an opportunity to change the not so pleasant aspects into something better.