The one thing that has become clear as more organizations look to digitally transform is that best DevOps practices in general, and continuous delivery especially, are essential ingredients for success. Digital business processes are wholly dependent on the rate at which the applications are regularly updated to improve the overall customer experience. Organizations that are unable to digitally delight their customers are inevitably going to fall by the wayside as more agile rivals gain ground.
Of course, digital business transformation with varying degrees of success has been occurring for the better part of five years or more. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the pace of that transformation has greatly accelerated. As the global economy declines, there is now naturally a much greater sense of urgency. Organizations large and small realize just how much their survival depends on their ability to digitally transform.
Just about every organization that has been able to successfully make that transition to date has to some degree embraced continuous delivery. The pace at which new services that drive revenue become available is today dictated by the pace at which they can be surfaced within an application. If the rate at which applications are successfully deployed declines, so too will the amount of revenue that organization will generate in the months ahead. There may even come a day soon when investors track the pace of application deployment as a leading indicator of future revenue growth projections.
This shift in the relationship between IT and the business that is being enabled by continuous delivery has been a long time coming. It’s been more than 11 years since the first continuous delivery (CI/CD) platform was officially launched. The debate over the divide between IT and the rest of business has been going on for much longer than that. The challenge now is software innovations in many cases are being delivered faster than many businesses can absorb.
Just how big an impact DevOps is going to have on businesses remains to be seen but as the venture capitalist Marc Andreessen once noted software continues to eat the world. The pace at which technological innovations are being made is only going to increasingly accelerate. At the same time, going forward global boom and bust cycles across the global economy will most likely occur more sharply. Businesses that apply agile DevOps concepts to business processes will continue to thrive simply because they will be in a better position to pivot when required. The landscape is already littered with the remanent of organizations that failed to quickly adjust to new economic realities simply because the business processes they depended on were too rigid. The whole point of digitizing business processes is to increase the resiliency of the organization.
Alas, for every successful digital transformation initiative there are 10 or more that have failed either because the process proved too complex to digitize or, more likely, the application development environment is not automated enough. By the time organizations that are dependent on legacy approaches deliver the software needed to drive a new service the market opportunity has already come and gone.
Most DevOps leaders intuitively understand how the dynamic between IT and the business is changing. In many ways IT is now at the core of the business. Business leaders have not all come to the same realization. Those that do, however, are working closely with DevOps teams to enable their organizations to compete at a much higher level. The remainder that are not are simply waiting for a an all but inevitable disruption that makes it virtually impossible for the organization in its existing form to possibly survive.
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