Cloud-based computing is driving profound changes in technology, society, and business. The cloud is always on. It offers instant processing power. This immediacy has become a crucial factor helping push the large transformative shift that we see around us. And so the ability to adapt IT priorities quickly has become essential to staying relevant.
Many companies are moving towards cloud computing primarily to achieve developmental and operational agility. They can no longer afford inflexible hardware and software solutions, stifling innovation and tying down resources. But to be truly agile in the cloud age, companies also need to rethink how they are organised.
The concept of DevOps
Traditionally, organisations split development and operation of IT services into separate departments, such as networking, operations, development and storage. But if a service needs to be changed or scaled, problems occur, as several different departments, with distinct priorities, procedures, or cultures, need to be involved.
The DevOps concept is about combining development and operations of a particular IT service into a joint team. Obvious advantage of such cross-functional teams lies in flexibility and speed. Many important changes can be accomplished within one team.
For example, a bank is no longer just a bank – it’s also a software company. It most likely has a mobile app developed internally. In effect, every successful company will have to become a software company, no matter the industry. Meaning they will have to focus on creating custom applications intended for customer interactions. Development is the ability to program innovative solutions and procedures in relation to clients.
A change in thinking
IT ops often claim that change causes outages, and rightfully so, causing them to oppose new approaches. They might, however, not realise that postponing change also causes downtime, when a response was badly needed but not executed. When operational personnel is transferred to DevOps it develops sensitivity as to what that service is really all about. This may trigger, in turn, a development of a feeling of personal responsibility for a product, if not the compassion of a product manager.
At core, DevOps is about a change of culture – and a change in thinking. The whole concept is not confined to large teams but also to individual employees. DevOps is about being inquisitive and wanting to learn new things. It requires operations to learn new programming skills and development experts to get a feel for what it takes to run their applications. But an operations person does not have to write code to be DevOps. He or she can, for instance, be a project manager, in charge of implementing a change designed to fix an operational issue. Can you imagine a better-motivated project manager than someone just given a team of programmers to fix his problem?
If your company still lives in the classic world of IT – where hardware is delivered and software is implemented on top of it – put aside some money and energy to discover the new cloud-based model. Learn to be agile now. Eventually, the cloud could end up being crucial to your business. And so, too, could DevOps.