Chief Information Officer

Red Hat's Chief Technologist Discusses the Impact of DevOps on Digital Transformation

Chris Van Tuin, Chief Technologist, Red Hat, defined DevOps and some of the enabling technologies associated with it during his presentation to Argyle’s CIO membership at the 2017 Chief Information Officer Leadership Forum in Los Angeles on April 25. In his presentation, “A DevOps State of Mind,” Van Tuin outlined the true value of DevOps and described how software is disrupting today’s businesses.

According to Van Tuin, DevOps is transforming the way that companies evaluate software, along with the delivery of services and solutions across myriad industries.

“DevOps is all about enabling the business to deliver product and capabilities to the marketplace sooner and overcoming that typical bottleneck that exists between developers and operations,” Van Tuin said.

With DevOps, an ordinary company can transform itself into an exceptional business. DevOps drives disruption, Van Tuin stated, and can help a business differentiate itself from rivals in a highly competitive global marketplace.

“From an industry perspective, [DevOps] is at an inflection point,” Van Tuin stated. “It’s because of the disruptors, and software is a key component behind this disruption … Companies need to figure out: Do we adapt and thrive, or do we risk becoming irrelevant?”

To illustrate the disruptive power of DevOps, Van Tuin highlighted the impact of Uber and Lyft on the taxi services industry.

Today, Uber and Lyft represent two of the leading ridesharing services. These companies identified an opportunity to leverage DevOps to collect and analyze data from a variety of sources and use this information to provide outstanding customer experiences.

“One of the common challenges of moving software from development into production is that there’s siloed organizations.”

By doing so, Uber and Lyft reinvented the taxi services industry, making it easier than ever for anyone to get from one destination to the next by booking ridesharing trips on their mobile devices.

“[DevOps is] not just about the improved customer experience that software is enabling. It’s also enabling us to deliver products and services much quicker,” Van Tuin noted.

Uber and Lyft showed the true value of data analysis as well. Both companies have been able to utilize real-time data to assess the number of drivers available at a given time and adjust their rates as needed.

“[Uber and Lyft] rapidly able to try things out to stay ahead of the competition,” Van Tuin stated. “With software, they’re able to leverage big data … and dynamically adjust the pricing.”

In addition, Van Tuin indicated DevOps is driving digital transformation in three areas:

  • Applications: DevOps teams are revamping the way they develop, deliver and integrate applications.
  • Process: The implementation of agile processes across DevOps teams is helping businesses create and deploy innovative software faster than ever before.
  • Infrastructure: Cloud-based infrastructure is providing DevOps teams with advanced flexibility, along with anywhere, anytime access to real-time data.

Digital transformation is creating both challenges and opportunities for IT as well, Van Tuin noted.

IT teams can play a key role in the success of an organization if they maintain an open, agile approach to innovation. On the other hand, IT teams can slow down an organization if they fail to embrace innovation consistently.

“You’re seeing a lot of pressure on IT to keep up and not become the bottleneck. As a result, the how, what and where of how applications are developed and architected and the underlying infrastructure behind them needs to evolve,” Van Tuin pointed out.

Furthermore, departmental silos can have far-flung effects on DevOps teams, Van Tuin stated.

“The how, what and where of how applications are developed and architected and the underlying infrastructure behind them needs to evolve.”

Companies that maintain departmental silos are unlikely to match the productivity and efficiency of rivals, according to Van Tuin. As such, departmental silos may lead to software delays and other problems that may prevent DevOps teams from accomplishing their immediate and long-term goals.

“Software projects are typically over budget and over time and don’t deliver the full value,” Van Tuin indicated. “One of the common challenges of moving software from development into production is that there’s siloed organizations.”

To overcome departmental silos, Van Tuin recommended the development of cross-organization teams. With these teams in place, businesses can leverage the skills of employees across multiple departments to drive digital transformation.

Ultimately, businesses must be willing to foster continuous innovation, particularly when it comes to DevOps.

Companies must promote continuous integration and delivery, Van Tuin, to build a culture that encourages DevOps teams to reduce the software cycle time.

Moreover, businesses must discover ways to accelerate the software development cycle from days to minutes to ensure DevOps teams can maximize the return on investment (ROI) of their day-to-day efforts.

“You need to decompose that Monolithic application into micro services that are API-driven and decoupled from each other so [these services] can evolve at their own pace, can scale up and scale down and can actually be deployed quickly so you’re not risking the entire business every time you do a major upgrade,” Van Tuin said.

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