The Role of DevOps in Digital Transformation
Custom software development faces increasing pressure for performance and flexibility, as is common in most technology industries. However, achieving this is often impractical with traditional approaches such as Waterfall. Consequently, technology companies are exploring new agile methods that facilitate faster development and deployment of projects. One fundamental component of the agile approach to software development is the utilization of DevOps. This enables companies to rapidly respond to evolving client requirements throughout the development and operation of applications.
A 2019 survey by Puppet revealed that implementing DevOps enabled technology companies to accelerate the delivery of change requests and the release of new software versions by up to 63%.
The key to improving performance, service quality, and increasing profits lies in IT companies understanding and undergoing what is commonly referred to as digital transformation. This is crucial to staying relevant, adapting to new trends, and remaining competitive. However, achieving successful digital transformation is not always straightforward.
Despite an anticipated expenditure of $2.4 billion on digital transformation by 2024, research by Statista indicates that only 30% of these implementations ultimately succeed. What are so many companies doing wrong? Often, it's due to underestimating the transformation process itself, lacking a comprehensive understanding of all essential roles, and a shortage of qualified authority necessary for this journey towards digital transformation.
In this article, we aim to address the fundamental aspects of digital transformation from the perspective of DevOps, which directly oversees areas such as automation, software quality improvement and security enhancement, and, importantly, cost reduction.
What exactly is DevOps?
DevOps is often perceived as a job position or a deployment process. However, it is more accurately described as a comprehensive set of principles, methods, procedures, and technologies designed to accelerate and optimize software development. It frequently leverages automation, cloud services, virtualization, and containerization to achieve rapid, reliable, and predictable deployment of new software versions within an agile development framework.
The term "DevOps" itself is derived from combining two English words, "Development" and "Operations," representing software development and deployment, respectively. In traditional development processes, these tasks are segregated into different teams. DevOps, however, amalgamates these responsibilities into a unified unit, executed by the same team. DevOps introduces and implements crucial automation that previously consumed significant time in older methodologies. These automations include project integration (continuous integration) and deployment (continuous delivery). This ensures automatic compilation of the project after each development cycle and testing the integration of individual developers' work with others without human intervention. Deployment of new project versions, typically a laborious task, is streamlined through this approach, with automation handling the process.
What is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation encompasses a complex and large-scale process that either digitally modifies existing business processes or creates new ones to effectively meet evolving business and market demands. It necessitates a significant overhaul of processes to become digital and a revamp of the customer experience to align with the digital landscape. Put simply, digital transformation utilizes digital technologies and data to generate profit, streamline business operations, replace or transform existing business processes, competencies, management, and production models (not merely digitize them), and foster an environment for digital commerce and collaboration.
In business, digital transformation should be viewed as an ongoing, perpetual process. Along this journey, businesses will continually need to adapt to environmental changes, reassess their status quo, and modify their transformational activities.
How does DevOps fit into Digital Transformation?
Establishing a DevOps culture within a company is not a one-time endeavor; it's an ongoing, perpetual process. It entails not only a series of technological advancements that organizations, teams, and programmers must embrace but also necessitates a shift in project organization and, crucially, a change in the mindset of employees and management.
In traditional software release processes, one team (development) handles coding, testing, and building code in isolation before passing it on to another team (operations) for deployment and release. However, this segregated process often results in slower releases and consequently, a subpar customer experience. DevOps fundamentally mitigates the issues associated with traditional software release processes, enabling technology companies to release products within hours or days instead of weeks or months.
Digital transformation enhances business processes through technological advancements and introduces new and improved processes driven by technology. DevOps serves as the bridge connecting software development processes with operational processes. With this synergy, DevOps can significantly aid organizations in their digital transformation journey. Below, we examine four key areas where DevOps processes prove beneficial in digital transformation.
Automation is pivotal in digital transformation as it accelerates processes, reduces manual tasks, identifies errors, and enhances efficiency. With DevOps, organizations can automate various phases of software development and delivery, encompassing building and deployment, testing, and infrastructure management. Automation minimizes the time required for software development, testing, and release, resulting in expedited time to market and more frequent releases. Furthermore, DevOps facilitates the automation of application and infrastructure monitoring and maintenance, enabling organizations to swiftly identify and rectify issues, ensuring high application availability.
Additionally, DevOps automates security threat detection, thereby mitigating the risk of security breaches and ensuring compliance with regulatory standards. This enables organizations to adapt to the ever-evolving business landscape and stay ahead of competitors.
• Cost Reduction
Cost management is integral to any organization, especially in the digital age, where working with new technologies and diverse teams can lead to spending oversight. DevOps reduces costs by streamlining processes, enhancing efficiency, and optimizing resource utilization. By simplifying development, testing, and deployment processes, DevOps minimizes the risk of errors, rework, and downtime.
• Improving Software Quality
In a DevOps environment, development and operations teams collaborate closely, fostering effective communication and a more efficient software development process. Continuous testing, integration, and delivery (CI/CD) practices within DevOps ensure thorough testing and validation of applications before release, reducing the risk of errors and ensuring high-quality applications. Moreover, DevOps facilitates continuous monitoring and feedback mechanisms, offering real-time insights into application and infrastructure performance. This enables organizations to swiftly identify and resolve issues, enhancing application quality and user experience.
• Adoption of New Technologies
In recent years, the IT industry has witnessed a revolution in cloud services adoption. Many companies can now leverage Platform as a Service (PaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS), previously considered beyond their financial and time constraints. Additionally, advancements in machine learning, containerization, and serverless computing have revolutionized application and infrastructure design possibilities, enabling organizations to innovate and adapt rapidly.
Digital transformation is a complete business transformation that requires more than merely updating an IT system or creating a few applications. In the world we live in today, organizations need to innovate quickly and efficiently. To achieve this change, it is necessary to change the concept of the functioning of the company as such. The best way to start a company's digital transformation is to introduce a DevOps culture. A successful digital transformation involves changing the work system, which will subsequently lead to increased efficiency and saving of time and money.