As our business environment continues to evolve and adopt a digital-first mindset, the percentage of people working on DevOps teams increases every year.
Organizations that have successfully adopted DevOps are able to deliver a better customer experience with significantly greater operational efficiency. And the writing seems to be on the wall: organizations that don’t embrace these ways of working will likely be left in the dust.
But where to start? With all the noise about DevOps lately, it’s difficult for CIOs and other leaders to find an authoritative source of information.
That’s where the annual State of DevOps Report comes in. For the past six years, Puppet and the DevOps Research and Assessment Group (DORA) have partnered to produce a set of research that is regarded—in many circles—as the first and last word on DevOps.
The recently released 2017 State of DevOps Report uncovers some impressive statistics. High performing organizations that effectively utilize DevOps principles achieve:
- 46x more frequent software deployments than their competitors.
- 96x faster recovery from failures.
- 440x faster lead time for changes.
- Higher levels of customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.
To dig deeper into the report and some of the more surprising findings, I sat down with Puppet President and CEO Sanjay Mirchandani.
CC: Tell us a little about your background, Sanjay. What inspired you to join Puppet?
SM: My roles over the years at companies like Microsoft, EMC and VMware took me around the world, where I could see firsthand how different industries were using technology to transform their businesses. Puppet first came across my radar as a customer while I was the global CIO at EMC. One of my senior architects decided we needed a tool like Puppet, and when we deployed it for a critical project we got very quick results. I joined Puppet because I believe every company wants to behave like a software company, and the work we do helps enable customers to make that leap.
CC: In your own words, what is DevOps?
SM: For me, DevOps is all about delivering better software, faster. And that’s what we do for our customers at Puppet. We help our customers act like software companies; helping them automate and optimize their entire software production system with high quality, secure, and easy to use software across all of their teams and tools.
Our customers rely on software for the most critical parts of their business, like engaging with their stakeholders and providing a fantastic experience. Sometimes this translates directly into delivering software that customers touch, like the ability to customize shoes on Nike.com or to start a claim directly from the Travelers mobile app. Other times it means delivering software that customers never see. The software empowering a company’s employees and partners to make the customer experience better, for example.
CC: Why should tech leaders pay attention to the State of DevOps Report?
SM: When I was a CIO, our team was constantly bombarded with technology buzzwords, trends, and an eternally shifting digital landscape. Because of all of that noise, it’s incredibly hard for any team to make sense of what’s going on and what should be prioritized. Our goal is for the State of DevOps Report to be the most comprehensive, objective set of research on one of the most impactful trends within IT.
I personally feel compelled to deliver this kind of deep analysis so that those responsible for transforming their organizations have a tool that they can rely on, year-after-year, to help them guide priorities for their own digital transformations.
CC: What surprised you and your team about this year’s findings?
SM: There are a few surprising findings in this year’s State of DevOps report, and two that particularly resonate with me.
First, DevOps practices are the foundation of every company’s digital transformation, and digital transformation impacts a company’s performance. Data from this year’s report found that DevOps high performers deliver results: they are twice as likely as low performers to achieve their reported goals across both financial and non-financial measures. They also deliver a better experience.
For example, they recover faster from production and infrastructure outages and better prevent failures in the first place. This is huge! IT is able to provide their users with an exceptional experience because they have more chances to deliver new value, and what they release is of higher quality. The result to the organization is a faster time to market, better customer experience, and higher responsiveness to market changes.
The second finding I was equally surprised and excited to see was the data very clearly shows the impact of modern automation in the success of DevOps. As a technologist, it’s easy to be biased and think that automation helps, but this report actually proves the value of modern automation when optimizing how companies deliver software. Specifically, it found that high performers automate significantly more of their configuration management, testing, deployments, and change approval processes than other teams. The result is more time for innovation and a faster feedback cycle.
CC: Tell us more about the focus on transformational leadership in this report. How important is transformational leadership to DevOps success?
SM: The CIOs I talk with are either wide-eyed with excitement about digital transformation, or it scares them to death. Gartner predicts that by 2020, half of the CIOs who have not transformed their team’s capabilities will be displaced from their organizations’ digital leadership teams. So, change is both a massive opportunity and a huge risk.
CIOs and leaders need to decide if they are going to focus their energy and spend their time leading their digital transformation for IT and driving their company into the future, or focus their efforts on maintaining all the legacy systems and letting the CMO or CDO focus on new innovation.
For the first time, the State of DevOps report looked at leadership types and how they impact performance. Having been a CIO, and now a CEO that works with CIOs every day, I’m deeply passionate about helping IT leaders create a positive, lasting impact on their businesses. This year’s report found that teams with transformational leaders are high performers. And it goes a step further, giving CIOs guidance on the kind of leadership they should aspire to cultivate and develop high performing teams.
CC: The report states, “there’s still a perception that DevOps matters more in for-profit enterprises than in not-for-profit or government organizations.” Why should government and nonprofits invest in DevOps?
SM: I’ve never met an organization that doesn’t want to improve. DevOps is about optimizing across an organization to add value by delivering better software, faster. This helps any organization that relies on technology to support their constituents. Sure, for-profit organizations use financial metrics as a way to show that improvement. But not-for-profit and government organizations don’t aim to stagnate—they want to improve just as much! They just measure it differently. For them, it may mean delivering better experiences to their stakeholders and delivering applications that are more secure and meet regulatory requirements. DevOps helps with this, too.
If we acknowledge that shifting what an organization values and how an organization gets work done is—at its core—a function of an organization’s culture, this latest State of DevOps Report should not be all that surprising. Leaders create and reinforce “what right looks like” in their organizations through the decisions they make—what they reward, what they punish, and how they structure their organization’s systems and processes. All of these manifestations of their values guide behavior in the day-to-day and have a profound effect on the success or failure of DevOps in their organizations.
This article originally appeared on Forbes.
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