Around the globe, digital transformation is the new normal. While projects were implemented in isolated pockets before the pandemic, it’s now a business-critical, enterprise-wide drive. The advent of COVID-19 saw most organizations accelerate their transformation roadmap by months or years. This streamlined operations, created new revenue, and enhanced customer experiences during a time of unprecedented disruption.
According to Deloitte, two-fifths (40 percent) of consumers did more online shopping during lockdown, 14 percent participated in more remote medical appointments, and a third streamed more content. The past 12 months have demonstrated that these habits are here to stay. As the world moves into a new state of ‘normality’, organizations across every industry are focusing on how they can transform even faster to meet customers’ redefined expectations and carve out an advantage in a fiercely competitive, increasingly digital world.
DevOps as champions of digital transformation
DevOps and site reliability engineering (SRE) teams are at the center of these digital transformation initiatives. As a result, they face rising pressure to meet service-level objectives (SLOs) that ensure their applications provide the high-quality user experiences the business and its customers expect.
Teams also need to dramatically accelerate innovation, as highlighted by our recent research, which showed that over the next two years organizations expect the frequency of software releases to increase by 58 percent. Achieving high-quality releases and rapid delivery remains a major challenge. To overcome this, teams must scale DevOps to more applications, so they can consistently deliver quality software at speed.
However, organizations face several challenges in their efforts to do so. DevOps and SRE teams are held back by labor and time-intensive manual development processes, siloed tools, and incomplete, often conflicting data insights. When the software development lifecycle (SDLC) doesn’t leverage automation, teams spend too much time stepping in at key stages of delivery such as quality assurance and incident response, when they should be getting on with higher-value work that drives innovation. Thanks to rapid adoption of cloud services and efforts to scale DevOps, teams also struggle with larger, fragmented toolchains, which further hinders their ability to accelerate digital transformation.
Automating the way to business success
The bottom line is that, in too many organizations, DevOps teams must choose between code development speed and quality. They simply have too many demands on their time to get both right. Yet at a time of rising customer expectations and intensifying competition, speed and quality are both crucial, so this choice is unacceptable. According to a PwC report, a third of all customers say they’ll stop doing business with a brand they love after just one negative experience. That raises the stakes significantly for DevOps and SRE teams as they battle to deliver faster innovation and maintain quality.
To support them effectively, DevOps leaders need to remove friction from the delivery chain. Teams can achieve this by augmenting the skill of their software engineers with AIOps, for data-driven orchestration of automatable, repeatable tasks. Many are already doing so, investing in automated CI/CD pipelines, shift-left security, and AIOps-driven root-cause analysis to boost confidence in the quality of their software releases.
Taking this further, organizations can use AIOps to automatically validate new builds against SLOs, by passing them through quality and security gates that ensure code meets the minimum required standard before it can reach production. In addition to reducing pressure on DevOps and SRE teams, this level of automation improves the quality and security of their code by minimizing the potential for error. As a result, they’re able to innovate much faster with significantly less risk.
A fast-paced digital future
The benefits of this type of automation are widely recognized. Our research found 79 percent of organizations said extending AIOps beyond traditional use cases will play a critical role in the future success of DevOps and SRE teams.
A similar number believe end-to-end observability and a unified platform-based approach will also be key to the success of these teams, providing the means to establish a single source of truth across multiple toolchains and the entire SDLC. These capabilities will pave the way towards scaling DevOps from individual areas of the business to a truly enterprise-wide culture.
If they can make this vision a reality by automating more DevOps workflows and processes, organizations can deliver innovation at a scale that enables them to truly unleash the potential of digital transformation. This will help them outpace the competition, by continually enhancing customer experiences to stay ahead of their increasingly demanding expectations in the digital-first future.
Image Credit: Sergey Nivens / Shutterstock
Greg Adams is Regional Vice President, UK&I, Dynatrace