why-companies-fail-at-devops

The #1 reason companies fail at DevOps

One of the biggest differences between established organizations and scrappy startups is the way in which they approach DevOps. DevOps is simply the term used to describe the organization and management of software development and operations.

There are many varying opinions regarding best practices for DevOps, but most IT professionals agree that automation, testing, and frequent updates are all extremely important aspects. Startups excel in all three of these steps, as they are developing from scratch and utilizing the latest technologies and programming languages.

A recent State of DevOps Report found that companies that have implemented the best DevOps practices experience a 440% increase in lead time speed for changes and have much higher levels of customer satisfaction.

Of course, for more established organizations, following certain DevOps principles and best practices can be quite challenging. There is one specific area that the majority of large companies struggle with when it comes to DevOps that cripples them when trying to compete with startups.

What is the number one reasons that most companies fail at DevOps? It’s pretty simple: companies fail at DevOps because of a reluctance to change.

DevOps changes

When a business has grown into a large enterprise organization, it’s had years and sometimes decades of corporate policies and ways of doing things that are simply ingrained into people’s behaviors. Even though new technologies come along that can make business processes faster and more efficient, management is too afraid of the “pain of change” to implement. Getting a large group of employees motivated to learn new software or processes can be expensive and extremely time-consuming. Plus, there’s the old adage of “if it ain’t broke, why fix it?”

The problem with this mentality is that when enterprises refuse to upgrade their DevOps on a regular basis, they are going to lose customers to younger, more exciting competitors that are using new technologies and methods. When your competitor is offering a better user experience, your customers are going to take notice and jump ship.

Most startups and modern tech companies are practicing Agile DevOps, meaning they are in a constant cycle of developing, testing, deploying and repeating. In this continuous delivery process, there is no time for the software code or technology to get “stale” because it’s in a constant, regular state of improvement. Rather than having a strict set of business processes and policies and trying to adapt new technology and development to those standards, successful startups are constantly changing both their DevOps and business objectives to work in synergy with each other.

How companies can get with the DevOps program…

DevOps is all about constant improvement and finding the best, most efficient ways to create solutions. In order to achieve maximum success and compete with technologically advanced competitors, a business will need to embrace change and make it part of the organization’s overall culture.

Of course, just adding DevOps without thorough planning can spell disaster. This happened back in 2006 when a developer accidentally shut down SlideShare because he didn’t realize he was making changes to the actual live site. The company had wanted to give developers more access to make fast changes without really thinking about the potential consequences of a site-wide shutdown.

The place to start planning would be with a thorough audit of all current business and DevOps processes. These should be compared to the industry best practices and that of competitors. A plan should be developed that includes Agile methods and continuous integration tools.

Case Study: Next Caller

A good example of the correct way to implement DevOps comes from our client, Next Caller.

Back in 2012 when we started working with Next Caller, there was really no such thing as “DevOps.” The client had hired us to create their solution from scratch. As the project grew, further automation of the deployment process, migration to microservices, and implementation of cutting-edge monitoring tools were required.

The iTechArt backend team was already successfully solving DevOps tasks. With time, we realized it was necessary to reorganize the overall infrastructure to make it more stable. Since then, we have continually been working on optimization of the existing solution, taking into consideration security and scalability principles.

Throughout the entire process, we made sure that best practices were followed, especially in the migration from a 3rd party vendor to the services developed by Next Caller. Our infrastructure optimization and system integrations gave the client more control over the app and provided more flexibility for further development, making it truly efficient, predictable, and fast.

As the saying goes, “The only thing that stays the same is change.” If companies truly want to win the DevOps game, they’re going to have to not only get used to change, but become even better and faster at adapting than their much younger counterparts.