Digital Forbes

New Survey Wraps Some Empirical Evidence Around The Value Of DevOps


Ben Kepes, Contributor

June 5, 2014

Perhaps the shiniest new toy for enterprise IT it is the so-called DevOps movement. Less about technology and more about culture, DevOps seeks to build connections between the development of software solutions within an organization and the actual operation of existing workloads. Whereas in the past developers’ jobs finished once software was deployed, and operations weren’t involved until a solution was ready to deploy, in a DevOps culture these two aspects of an IT operation are blended.

It’s an enabling shift in approach but, like all of these shifts, it is plagued by being the “shiny new thing” and seemingly every legacy vendor is now affixing the term “DevOps” to their solutions. Meanwhile enterprises are left wondering if DevOps is simply today’s buzzword du jour and whether they’re better off to ignore all the noise.

A new survey by automation vendor Puppet Labs has attempted to gather data about the benefits of a DevOps approach. The company has, for the past three years, surveyed enterprises to assess their adoption of DevOps and what, if any, benefits the approach has bought them. This year’s survey took in some 9200 respondents globally, making it one of the broadest surveys of its type to date. Key findings from the survey include:

  • Strong IT performance is a competitive advantage. Firms with high-performing IT organizations were twice as likely to exceed their profitability, market share and productivity goals
  • IT performance improves with DevOps maturity. IT performance strongly correlates with well-known DevOps practices such as proactive monitoring and continuous delivery. The longer an organization has employed—and continues to improve upon—DevOps practices, the better it performs. And better IT performance correlates to higher performance for the entire organization
  • Culture matters. Organizational culture was one of the strongest predictors of both IT performance and the overall performance of the organization

Interestingly this survey took in not only technology companies, but also covered education, banking and finance and entertainment and media organizations. As such it attempts to paint a broad view of what DevOps can achieve.

The last finding in particular is music to my ears. I have a concern that the DevOps term and broader movement runs the risk of being hijacked by vendors wishing to take advantage of an ongoing trend. The more that the community can socialize the very real assertion that DevOps is a cultural movement, and that the success of DevOps is predicated on matching cultural with business approaches, the more likely that DevOps will become a long term trend.

It’s great to see some robustness enter the DevOps discussion, this report is another step in DevOps coming of age and being a sustainable and credible movement for change.

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