Chaos in the enterprise: How digital transformation drives agility, continuous development

To achieve digital transformation, new IT technologies, processes, applications, systems and protocols need to be adopted and updated on a regular basis

How digital transformation drives agility, continuous development
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In today’s data-driven economy, consumer expectations for services anywhere, anytime have led to a need for organizations to become more agile and increase their speed of deliver exponentially. Gone are the days when product and service updates were delivered on a monthly basis, instead we have reached a point where an environment of continuous development is becoming required to meet the ever-evolving needs of users.

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There’s no doubt that digital transformation is a major driver in this change in development methodology, partly as a response to the threat posed by agile startups that are disrupting markets globally. Most organizations have begun their digital transformation journey, but for many it’s still in its infancy. However, there is no doubt that for enterprises across a wide range of sectors, multiple IT technologies, processes, applications, systems and protocols need to be adopted and updated on a regular basis in order for businesses to remain competitive.

From Agile to DevOps

As companies move through the digital transformation journey and look to cope with disruption in their industries, they must use information and digital assets in the value chain in order to redefine the customer experience, operational processes and business model. This requires constant digital innovation from development to roll-out to production, which can be a challenge for many enterprises. As startups bring an agile approach to development, enterprises must change their mindset and strongly consider DevOps principles to ensure successful continuous development.

Agile is the perfect approach for early use cases to demonstrate a product’s potential. However, despite it being simpler and easy to implement, enterprises are unlikely to find this approach suitable. It is for these larger organizations—with more complex environments, boasting legacy systems and hybrid infrastructures—that DevOps principles will become crucial.

Three key DevOps principles guide continuous development and delivery. These can be considered as a fast flow of work, feedback loop, and a culture of constantly experimenting with risk taking. It’s not as simple as just adopting principles, however, as these need to be embraced within the organization in tandem with digital technologies such as cloud and automation. These technologies hold the key to not only accelerating the delivery and development speed of digital services, but also improving efficiency and productivity within the enterprise development environment.

Speed, scale and service assurance

Every additional system, service and functionality a company adds to its offering will add complexity to the environment, particularly when layering virtualized technology on top of existing legacy infrastructure and migrating workloads to public cloud. This additional complexity is a necessity to ensure a successful digital transformation process, but it must be managed effectively.

When you combine this additional complexity with the required increase in development velocity and the inevitable growth in scale, many enterprises will struggle to control the continuous development process that is being accelerated by the pace of digital service development and increased automation.

As a result, we will see more and more enterprises develop a greater reliance on the DevOps methodology to ensure the development process doesn’t descend into chaos. The key to ensuring that doesn’t happen is close collaboration and communication between the IT team members responsible for service development, delivery and operations.

In addition, the operations team will come under increased pressure as a critical guide along the journey from service development to delivery to consumers. The next evolution we anticipate for DevOps will aim to push speed and productivity further through a migration from failsafe environments to those where it is safe to fail. This will put even more pressure on the operations team.

Therefore, to gain an edge, or even remain competitive, enterprises must take steps to ensure the quality and performance of services and their delivery. This process of service assurance must also include operational efficiency and the mitigation of risk. Enterprises will not be able to achieve this without continuous end-to-end monitoring of their service delivery environment and real-time analytics, which is necessary to gain actionable insight into business agility. This will enable the support of any mix of infrastructure, services, and global user-base.

As organizations continue on the digital transformation journey, the pace of change is only going to quicken. This makes the need for continuous development and service delivery even more paramount, and service assurance is the key to facilitating this way of working within the enterprise.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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