What is DevOps? And what are the benefits for digital transformation?

by Mike Whitehurst


A staggering 70% of digital transformations fail. There a many reasons for this which you can explore in detail in our eBook "The most common barriers to digital transformation & how to overcome them."

If you've got any digital transformation problems, then read on.

One of the areas I'd like to expand on here is around the delivery and execution of digital transformations in combination with the culture of the business. Utilising technology and the Cloud is an important part of digital transformation but so many organisations are stuck in a bureaucratic swamp reliant on restrictive waterfall models of project management.

What's needed for success is the implementation of new methodologies that promote rapid, iterative development. This enables the business to reduce the cost of testing and allows the project team to make their own decisions based on short development cycles and genuine user feedback. They must be empowered to take risks and fail fast. It’s a long way from the legacy project approach but this is the only way to develop a mindset of innovation within the business.

The key here is to start small, but commit to iterative project delivery with a genuinely empowered cross functional team who embrace risk, and where necessary, failure.

What methodology can solve this in a nutshell?



What is DevOps?

Let’s check how familiar you are with DevOps.

Tick (with your imagination if you haven't printed this off) the applicable boxes and evaluate whether or not your organisation implements or facilitates the following:

  Yes, we’re embracing DevOps. No, our approach is still traditional.
Our organisation is shifting processes to automation and integrating IT operations.    
We believe that software is an integral part of our business’ operations, not just a supporting application.    
Our software developers and operations engineers work collectively to deliver services, systems and applications at a faster and effective pace.    
We employ Agile principles to ensure the early and continuous delivery of valuable software for customers.    
Our organisation has a mindset of consistent communication, collaboration and ongoing feedback with clients to enhance the quality of software and speed the delivery of products and services.    
We adopt a ‘Shift-Left’ approach that integrates strong security considerations and testing from the outset of the software development lifecycle.    


How did you do?

If you’ve answered YES most of the time, then you’re doing a great job at optimising DevOps. Your organisation is already on the right path of developing and providing excellent solutions with a high level of agility.

However, if you’ve answered NO to any or all questions, then your organisation might not yet have a full grasp of what DevOps is.

That’s OK! We will dive deeper into DevOps in upcoming sections.

Whether you want to know more about DevOps or just need to refresh and update your understanding, read on.

What does DevOps stand for?

Let’s define what DevOps is:


DevOps is a set of practices, tools and cultural philosophies that brings together your software development (Dev) team with your IT operations (Ops) team.


Through better collaboration, rapid experimentation and automation, it develops, delivers and improves the quality of software releases, systems and services at a more reliable and faster approach.


The goal is to ensure organisations like yours can provide consumers with efficient operations and excellent services.

DevOps leads your business to new heights by bringing progressive change to how your teams work and how you operate your processes.

By adopting a DevOps model, your development and operations departments are merged into one team. This has the benefit of eliminating siloed work practices, enables all relevant stakeholders to participate in the entire software development lifecycle and facilitates efficient processes to build, test and release high-quality software at faster intervals.

With its capacity to improve the delivery of applications and services, DevOps allows you to cater to customers’ needs and compete in the market more effectively and efficiently.



What are the 8 DevOps Phases?

DevOps facilitates the software development and delivery workflow into 8 stages:

1. Plan - The management and software development team develop a plan after discussing the goals and objectives of a certain project.

2. Code – Programmers work on the design and code of the application.

3. Build – The software development team utilise tools to acquire open-source code from different repositories, bringing it together with custom-written code to build applications that align with business requirements.

4. Testing – Through automation testing tools, the application is tested to guarantee that its quality ticks all requirements.

5. Integrate – New and additional features are automatically integrated into the software.

6. Deploy – The application is now transferred to the production environment where it is accessible by end-users.

7. Operate – The operations team manages the configuration of servers, provides the required resources and performs other necessary tasks.

8. Monitor – To equip developers with relevant and accurate feedback, the operations team thoroughly monitors usage of the software, identifies any specific challenges or issues that need addressing and evaluates how the application affects end-users.

The advantage of DevOps is that it adopts a process of continuous development, testing and deployment. Whenever a problem or concern is detected, or a functionality enhancement is required, the entire process is repeated.

Why DevOps in digital transformation is a critical success factor.

Organisations are increasingly dependent on a broad range of applications and software to engage customers, deliver enhanced services and improve business outcomes. Digital transformation is critical for any organisation seeking to thrive in an increasingly competitive environment. Only through comprehensive digital transformation can organisations achieve operational efficiencies that help optimise every aspect of your business processes.

DevOps is a critical component of any digital transformation, as it equips your organisation with the processes needed to build and deliver secure, high-quality software efficiently.
Aligning the skills, knowledge and expertise of your software engineers and developers within one DevOps team can accelerate the entire software development lifecycle - from planning and design through development, production and deployment.

Moreover, adopting an agile approach towards DevOps allows all stakeholders to contribute to software development at a faster pace than competitors who use traditional software development approaches such as Waterfall.

In today’s competitive environment, where all businesses are driven by the imperative of digital transformation, DevOps holds the key to ramping up your software development approaches, methodologies and processes.



What are typical DevOps misconceptions you must avoid?

DevOps is more than simply a process for software development. It is considered a culture, a movement and a philosophy in the technical community.

While there is no single prescriptive direction for how DevOps should be implemented, since it is adaptable to your organisation’s specific requirements, it’s important to distinguish DevOps from other software development approaches.

Here are some pitfalls you should avoid:


DevOps is just a job title.

Adding DevOps to the job title of your existing operations staff or current development employees won’t make a difference if you are not going to change your systems and overall processes.

The principles of constant collaboration, rapid experimentation, consistent feedback and continuous delivery of high-quality solutions must be employed.


DevOps is just another tool.

DevOps is not just a simple tool you can utilise once or during a specific phase of a project. It requires an ongoing effort to apply agile principles, automating processes and using advanced tools that can accelerate the delivery of software solutions.

The integration of software development and IT operations teams is also necessary.


DevOps is exclusive only to Development and Operations teams.

Everyone who is involved in the delivery of your software or services is part of DevOps.

The intention of DevOps is to establish collaboration across all disciplines from beginning to end, thus ensuring the efficient and effective delivery of your organisation’s products and services to consumers.


DevOps means no Ops.

Facilitating DevOps does not mean that the development team will take charge of the operations team or eliminate them entirely.

In fact, the insights of your operations experts play a huge part in enhancing processes, systems and practices.

It is important to note that for DevOps to work successfully, the combined skills and expertise of both development and operations teams are needed.


DevOps is everything!

You can’t expect DevOps to fully reengineer your business. Its focus is more on agile software delivery and operations.

Employing other larger organisational initiatives like maintaining software solutions and ensuring there are no security gaps are things you must also focus on.


What are the benefits of DevOps?

DevOps provides your organisation with many advantages. Apart from optimising the skills and productivity of traditionally siloed teams, it also allows you to guarantee the speed and quality of your services to consumers.

Here’s how DevOps can make a significant contribution to your organisation’s success:


DevOps accelerates your processes.

The DevOps model enables you to innovate faster, efficiently address issues and release software solutions at a high velocity.

DevOps allows for reliability and high-quality services.

Through DevOps’ continuous integration and deployment, the performance of your software, systems and products is also consistently improved.

DevOps enables you to work at scale.

With automation, advanced tools and collaboration in place, you can deal with complex system changes at a much lower risk.

DevOps gives you a competitive edge.

DevOps allows you to identify areas for improvement and opportunities for growth amidst all the digital disruptions. This pushes your organisation to adapt and evolve faster than competitors.

DevOps provides new revenue streams.

By facilitating rapid experimentation, making IT infrastructure more dynamic, automating operations and cutting feedback loops, DevOps enables you to easily deliver new products and services to market.

DevOps ensures customers’ satisfaction.

DevOps supports you in building better systems, eliminating waste and improving delivery of services – things that enhance your customers’ overall experience.

DevOps improves collaboration.

DevOps unites your development and operations teams to effectively combine workflows. It also enables different disciplines across your organisation to share responsibility and accountability.

DevOps shifts your organisation’s cultural mindset.

DevOps does not resist change. It allows your operations, systems and software to consistently evolve at a faster pace – without too much bureaucracy and red tape hindering the process.


What are the trends that drive DevOps?

Due to its widespread adoption across industries, DevOps is disrupting existing processes, systems and principles.

It’s safe to say, however, that DevOps will not stop evolving in the same way that customer needs and expectations will change, and more technological developments will continuously unfold.


Understanding the key trends that drive DevOps today and in the future will help you realise the potential it offers your organisation. It will also help you in transforming operations for the benefit of your business and customers.

Here are the trends driving DevOps that you need to know about:


Integrating Security into DevOps.

It is predicted that we will witness the increased integration of security into the software development process. DevSecOps is a ‘Shift-Left’ approach that embeds proactive security considerations throughout the software development lifecycle – from its beginning phase until its delivery to customers.

Increase AI in DevOps.

DevOps nurtures an advanced environment where machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) can thrive. Aside from the automation currently employed in DevOps, AI is expected to take over in many DevOps workflows to make processes more seamless and efficient.

Focus on DataOps.

A lot of organisation like yours are realising how vital data is. As such, DataOps will be adopted to strengthen collaboration between developers, data scientists, data engineers and operations teams. The goal is to optimise data to improve the delivery of services, meet targets and optimise business outcomes.

Use of Microservices.

Microservices will become more prevalent in software development in order to maintain agility, reliability and quality of service delivery. They comprise smaller, yet interconnected units, can be independently developed. The use of microservices helps reduce risk, avoiding delays and widespread failure in the event one particular microservice encounters problems.

Shift to Serverless and Containerised Architectures.

Typical application architecture is composed of web servers and database servers. However, maintaining dedicated servers comes with challenges and costs. Serverless applications and containers help you avoid some of these through the use of third-party services. In turn, your in-house DevOps team can focus on enhancing your core services which directly impact business outcomes.


We hope you've found this introduction to DevOps helpful. If you've got any questions about DevOps and how it might be used to help your digital transformation please get in touch.

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