Dec 26, 2022

The Business Side of DevOps and the Involvement of C-Levels as the Key to DevOps Success

Are you looking to adopt DevOps? These practices won’t work out without the involvement of business teams. Learn more about the business side of DevOps here.

Who hasn’t heard of the hours-long partial outage of Netflix’s streaming services on Christmas Eve 2012? Given that an hour of downtime would cost the company about $200,000 (based on 2014’s estimates), this brief disruption came with a price tag of more than a million dollars. 

Luckily, the streaming service giant is now free from these issues—thanks to the smart use of DevOps practices. Yes, the effect of DevOps on the bottom line can be that huge. What’s more, it can have a positive impact on other business metrics. The main trick here is to align business and technical teams. 

Why is it so vital to DevOps success? Let’s start from the basics.

In this article, we’ll walk you through the main business advantages of DevOps, back them up with real-life cases, and explain why the involvement of business leaders in DevOps initiatives is a must.

The key business benefits of DevOps 

New software development methodologies emerge when the usual ones no longer meet current business needs. DevOps is no exception. It was born to help businesses keep up with the rapidly changing customer expectations and the neck-breaking speed of competition. 

Automation of everything that can be automated (and as a result—lower failure and error rates), less work in progress, less “waste” in processes, the Shift Left approach, and other elements of DevOps do their job. They contribute to the increased speed to market and improved productivity—the two main business benefits of DevOps, according to Harvard Business Review (HBR). Both don’t let business lag behind the competition and customer needs. Another welcome bonus is a lower error rate that boosts product quality.

Besides, the HBR research participants outlined another two significant business advantages of DevOps: product relevance and innovation. Both stem from continuous feedback that allows you to stay on the same page with ever-changing customer expectations. On top of that, a no-blame culture of continuous learning lets development teams constantly innovate and improve their products. 

Last but not least, DevOps saves money. Here’s an example. DevOps is known to cut the recovery time of tech products and decrease app failure rate considerably. With these two advantages alone, DevOps-mature organizations can save over $91 million per year. 

Sounds too sweet to be true? Let’s take a closer look at real-life cases. 

DevOps transforming businesses: case studies 

Full of business benefits, DevOps has now become the most practiced software development methodology. It has grown to be the cultural backbone of many organizations, from tech giants like Facebook to brands that seem to have nothing in common with tech, such as Walmart. 

We cherry-picked a few cases to demonstrate the transformational power of this methodology and how it affects a business’s bottom line. 

HM Health Solutions

Test-driven development, automated testing, streamlined code review, continuous integration, and continuous delivery. These are some of the DevOps practices this leading healthcare technology partner implemented across dozens of applications and environments. 

The stellar results did not take long: 

  • 67% drop in resource demand for successful product release
  • 75% drop in hours needed to repair defects per environment, which improved their service availability
  • 82% drop in app deployment time, which accelerated time to market 

Amazon 

Amazon is one of the best-known DevOps pioneers. Their DevOps journey began when they moved from the monolithic architecture that hindered their growth to cloud computing. The transition to microservices was another important milestone in their DevOps adoption. 

Fast-forward to nowadays: they use Git and GitHub for version control and AWS CodeDeploy and Apollo for improved code deployment. In addition to that, practices like configuration management and infrastructure-as-code help them identify bugs early and fix them before they do the damage. 

The company doesn’t reveal its DevOps ROI. But according to their former lead engineer, its transition to agile DevOps helps the tech giant save millions of dollars.

Adobe 

Adobe provides a software suite consisting of multiple products—each with its own technicalities. The company’s development and operations teams had a hard time keeping such a diverse ecosystem up and running. To eliminate the problem, the tech behemoth decided to modify its software delivery process based on DevOps practices. 

One of their first steps toward DevOps transformation was the adoption of CloudMunch. This platform allowed them to frictionlessly integrate different technologies into a single pipeline. It also provided visibility into all their deployment tasks, enabling them to see how every single change affected the entire ecosystem. 

This move alone helped Adobe break organizational silos, accelerate software delivery, and meet 60% more app development demand

Walmart Labs 

Walmart’s technology arm is known for its DevOps projects. Hapi, a Node.js-based framework for writing reusable code, and Sauce Labs, the world’s largest continuous testing framework, are just two examples. The latter allowed Walmart Labs’ teams to save more than 750,000 person-hours that would have been spent on manual testing. Enhanced productivity, improved quality, and increased software delivery speed followed. 

Fidelity International 

Up to 2013, the financial services giant struggled with slow, legacy ways of delivering software, which hindered its growth. Everything changed with the migration to CloudFoundry, a PaaS platform, followed by the introduction of the automation CI/CD pipelines and the mindset based on trust, shared responsibility, and continuous improvement in the software delivery process.  

As early as in the first year of DevOps adoption, Fidelity International managed to speed up its deployment from three days to two hours and save $2 million over manual deployments.

As the success stories demonstrate, the potential of DevOps is immense. At the same time, these results become a reality only with the proper implementation of DevOps. What does it imply? 

Well, organizational silos are the number-one hurdle to fast value creation, so their elimination is your primary task. You must bridge the gap between the development and operations teams, introducing lines of business into the process. Let’s see why it’s so critical for the high ROI of your DevOps initiative.

The importance of integrating the lines of business (LOBs) into DevOps initiatives

Initially, the idea of DevOps was based on pooling the efforts of IT development and operations teams. But it quickly became apparent that DevOps implementation would succeed only when everyone involved in solution delivery was on board. The LOBs were on the list, as well. 

Such a shift in the understanding of DevOps affected how we define the concept today:  “….a methodology and set of practices that unify a team consisting of business leadership, development, testing, deployment, and operations to be responsible for the creation and delivery of business capabilities.”

Here are two main reasons why connecting business and technical teams is paramount for successful DevOps adoption. 

It allows technical teams to see the big picture

Things do not necessarily revolve around speed to market—ultimate goals vary depending on a business type. For example, if your niche doesn’t change fast, your overarching business goal might be delivering higher quality at a lower cost. Meanwhile, in fast-paced industries, you might be more focused on increasing your speed to market and customer relevance. 

The problem is that your developers might not be aware of the project’s ultimate business objectives and move in the wrong direction. Apart from wasting resources, this also comes with the risk of development teams losing motivation. For example, if they started out with a focus on innovation and customer value, shifting priorities toward productivity might demoralize them.

So as a business leader, your task is to ensure that the technical teams stay in tune with business goals and critical KPIs from the get-go.

It allows business leaders to see what’s going on within technical teams 

LOBs integrated into the development process can stay up to date with the capabilities and limitations of their technical teams. It has at least two positive implications. 

First, as a business leader, you can allocate resources more wisely. This will help you avoid situations when a team is too small to deliver a project within the agreed deadline or needs to sacrifice quality due to budgetary constraints. Second, a better understanding of your technical team’s needs and constraints will enable you to set KPIs that the given team is capable of meeting. 

As you can see, the success of DevOps requires a strong connection between business and technical teams. At the same time, the balance is vital: leaders need to step back at some point, giving space to technical teams rather than acting in a command-and-control way. When upper management truly supports DevOps initiatives, fostering blameless culture and allocating enough resources based on the needs of technical teams, teams have more room for continuous learning and experimentation—integral elements of DevOps maturity. 

Conclusion

When applied right, DevOps can have an immense impact on your business metrics. It can help you increase your speed to market, improve product quality, make it relevant to your end customer no matter how quickly their expectations change, and accelerate your innovation speed. The experience of Amazon, Walmart Labs, Fidelity International, and other success stories prove this fact.

Meanwhile, approaching DevOps implementation the wrong way can turn it into a waste of budget, giving you nothing but derailed processes. Misalignment between technical and business teams is one of the reasons your DevOps initiative might fail. 

Fortunately, Alpacked has a vast experience in DevOps projects. Reach out to us—and we’ll consult on how you can achieve business-tech alignment in your organization or help you accomplish a DevOps project the way it truly works for your business.

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