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January 11, 2016updated 31 Aug 2016 10:32am

DevOps stalls despite agile business benefits of continuous integration

News: CA Technologies study finds agile software development is living up to the hype.

By Alexander Sword

DevOps success is falling by the wayside in the UK as businesses neglect the key main areas that drive it.

While 67 percent of organisations have implemented DevOps, either broadly or in selected areas of the business, only 11 percent have done so across at least six different business areas, according to a study sponsored by CA Technologies.

This compares to 23 percent in Switzerland, 13 percent in Spain, 12 percent in France and Italy but only 10 percent in Germany.

The study also found that 84 percent of UK organisations agree on the importance of IT and business alignment in relation to DevOps-related activities, with only 36 percent having this in place. Similarly, 85 percent agree it is important to deal with security and compliance challenges of DevOps but only 20 percent have done so.

Additionally, 68 percent see breaking down cultural barriers between development and operations teams but only 38 percent believe that they have dealt with this cultural transformation.

77 percent of UK organisations agree that resource requirements for digital investment means they need to streamline IT and 72 percent acknowledge the need for the agile experimentation that DevOps facilitates.

The survey found that enterprises believe DevOps lives up to the hype, although in the UK it was less of a factor. 85 percent of those companies at a European level which had implemented DevOps across six different business areas had achieved ‘significant measurable benefits’ in customer retention, 76 percent in customer acquisition and 68 percent in new income streams.

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65 percent of these organisations believed that digital initiatives help them act quickly on opportunities, compared to only 17 percent of organisations with no DevOps adoption.

However, in the UK, 37 percent of both non-users and users of DevOps believed the same.

The culture of DevOps, which Gartner predicts will become a mainstream strategy in 2016, describes a strategy of emphasising collaboration and communication between software developers and IT professionals, as well as automating the software delivery and infrastructure change processes.

"In response to the rapid change in business today, DevOps can help organizations that are pushing to implement a bimodal strategy to support their digitalisation efforts," said Laurie Wurster, research director at Gartner, commenting on Gartner research last year.

"Digital business is essentially software, which means that organisations that expect to thrive in a digital environment must have an improved competence in software delivery," Wurster said.

"Business-led approaches have three characteristics that set them up for success," said Georg von Sperling, Senior Director at CA Technologies. "Firstly, the funding comes directly from departmental budgets. Secondly, IT is not required to approve ideas and lastly there is a mixed sourcing strategy of business, internal technology, external partners and cloud-type infrastructures.

"The convergence of the practices increases velocity whilst providing quality through feedback loops and, with this, business relevance, market significance and customer resonance, all required for a successful digital competitiveness. However, many confuse business-led approach with the duplication of core IT services or, worse yet, the shadow generation of IT services in a wayward or oblivious way."

von Sperling echoed Gartner’s predictions that the culture would become more mainstream:

"The traditional IT Ops Management toolchains will go through a replacement from non-DevOps to DevOps-enabled and Dev-Ops ready technologies and services across automation, monitoring and service management. The application delivery chain will gain more velocity and change cycles will contract even further.

"Eventually, all stakeholders will have a holistic view on the business value of just-in-time, high-quality and analytical applications and services for their market. Ultimately, the term DevOps may even become displaced with continuous delivery, outside the technical development and operations practice, becoming the norm."

The study surveyed 1,442 senior IT and business executives in July, 2015, with 506 respondents in Europe from the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Spain.

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