The term DevOps
has taken the IT world by storm. Though every business incorporates DevOps practices differently—and even defines the term differently—doing so can offer businesses several benefits. In this article, we’ll talk about the advantages DevOps practices offer, the different parts of the organization they can help, and the future of DevOps.
DevOps Processes and Feedback Loops
The biggest advantage of DevOps is its employment of feedback loops. Before the rise of DevOps, developers and IT operations teams lived in silos. The developers shipped their code off and washed their hands of it. Because they were separate from the IT operations teams, this left those teams to deal with issues in the code. And if they couldn’t handle the issues, they had to send the entire thing back to the developers, even if only a small part of it had failed.
All this has changed with DevOps, which has closed the gap between the development team and IT operations teams. By ensuring these two teams are integrated and work together, developers can get feedback on their code and fix only the things they need to. Imagine you’re driving a car and you hear the engine make a noise that doesn’t sound right. It wouldn’t make sense to try and replace the entire car—instead, you’d take it to someone who can look at the engine and fix what’s wrong with it.
In the DevOps mindset, hearing the problem with your engine is a part of the feedback loop. Once someone notices something has gone wrong, they can take it back to the developers. And because the developers are working closely with the IT operations team, they can fix the engine without having to remake the car all over again. Instead of undoing hours of work, developers can isolate pieces of the code to fix errors because they’re more involved in the larger process.
Advantages of DevOps for Businesses
DevOps doesn’t just apply to code—it’s important throughout the entire software development life cycle, and it can have a big impact on customer experience. With DevOps, for example, businesses might learn many customers are having an issue after an update is deployed. By collecting metrics on customer experience, businesses can find out whether an update is providing the expected benefits or whether it’s introducing new issues for customers. If issues are identified, developers can isolate the problem and resolve it. This instant feedback throughout the software development process defines DevOps.
Customer satisfaction is a huge metric for businesses, and DevOps can help drastically improve customer experience. One of the biggest impacts the DevOps process has is on delivery cycle time. Because developers and IT operations teams work together, they’re able to get updates and bug fixes out more quickly. This can then have a positive impact on customer experience, as people are often happy to see faster and more frequent solutions to problems. And when organizations improve customer satisfaction, they also improve customer retention, receive better reviews, and improve their standing in the market.
Benefits of Adopting a DevOps Culture
But developers—and the business at large—aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a shift to the DevOps mindset. When you reduce your cycle time, there are benefits for everyone throughout the entire business. For executives, to whom cost may be an important factor, shorter cycle times means reduced costs and the ability to do more with less. The improved feedback offered by DevOps can also help managers and executives keep an eye on the consumption of hardware resources, letting them know when it’s time to buy new hardware and scale up and scale out. Having this feedback readily at hand can help managers and executives make timely decisions, providing great business value.
DevOps processes—and the shorter cycle times associated with them—similarly help support teams. Because IT operations teams can spot problems faster and developers can fix them more quickly, it eases the burden on support teams. When the amount of support needed goes down because bug fixes are happening more frequently, it makes the support team members' lives easier.
Additionally, DevOps can help improve efficiency throughout the organization. When teams are siloed and can’t collaborate well, there’s often friction and frustration, which can lead to inefficiency. Instead of teams finger-pointing and sending things back and forth, with DevOps, they can work collaboratively on a solution. On top of efficiencies for the business, this helps all the people working on these teams. Less frustration and fewer arguments lead to happier employees and a better workplace environment.
Why DevOps Practices Are Here to Stay
The most important part of DevOps is the “Ops” part, and you can see this in the new terms springing up in the IT world: AIOps, DataOps, SecOps, etc. These processes all benefit from the same feedback loops that have come to define DevOps. Even companies without developers can benefit from the DevOps mindset and improve processes by increasing collaboration and removing silos.
Automation is a big part of DevOps, and it’s something we’ll likely see more of in the future. If a system is designed to automatically collect metrics about features that are working or ones that are being used less than others, it can provide businesses with fast and easy feedback on how to improve their products or services.
DevOps isn’t going anywhere, though it will likely continue to evolve. The future of DevOps lies in more feedback loops and automation. We’ll see these feedback loops and automation deployed throughout entire organizations, not just in the software development life cycle. The increased metrics and feedback from DevOps also lend themselves to observability—the more you know about your services, how they perform, and the impact of changes on things like customer experience, the more overall visibility you have into your systems. DevOps and observability are both focused on giving businesses actionable insights, whether those actions are taken by humans or by automated processes. DevOps has incredible benefits for organizations of all kinds, and we’ll continue to see it put into practice for years to come.
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