DevOps and Continuous Delivery: Time to Thrive in the Digital Age

Written by: Viktor Farcic

As digital technology continues to disrupt and transform businesses across industries and around the world, the ability to rapidly deliver high-quality software will make the difference between survival and extinction for many companies. Ultimately, successful adoption of DevOps and the process of continuous delivery are likely to determine whether an organization thrives or fails in the digital age.

DevOps is a practice that gives organizations the ability to develop and deploy software faster and more efficiently, enabled by automated processes such as continuous delivery. DevOps focuses on cultural transformation and making it easier for development and operations teams to collaborate and achieve shared objectives. Continuous delivery is a process that lets developers continuously roll out tested code that is always in a production-ready state. With continuous delivery, application development teams use automation to deliver updates faster and with fewer errors. Once a new feature or update is complete, the code is immediately available for deployment to test environments, pre-staging or live production.

Organizations save big with DevOps and continuous delivery

Together, cultural change and process automation accelerate the creation and delivery of high-quality software, saving many organization millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of developer hours every year that can now be spent on innovation and not on administration.

A CloudBees assessment of more than 100 companies that have adopted DevOps found that continuous delivery processes helped them save an average of $3,500 and 66 hours per developer, per year. The CloudBees analysis, which is based on a conservative cost of $53 per hour for a developer, includes companies that represent a variety of sizes, industries and regions. These organizations employed an average of 1,530 developers across 11 teams, which translates into annual savings of $5,355,000 and 100,980 hours, a gain of 12,622 development days per year. For larger organizations, the gains are even more impressive. A company with 10,000 developers, for example, could save $35 million and 660,000 hours annually, for a gain of 82,500 developer days every year. What’s the true value of these cost and time savings? Returning hours back to developers, to focus on innovation that keeps a company ahead of the competition, retains existing customers and attracts new ones.

The impact is compelling across industries, company sizes and geographic regions. For example, Capital One has increased deployment frequency by 1,300%. “With the CloudBees Jenkins Platform we’ve created a service for our developers that’s scalable and stable,” says Brock Beatty, director, software engineering, Capital One. “As a result, the time they would’ve spent managing infrastructure is now spent developing business applications. That has contributed to our ability to increase deployments from a couple per year to now deploying every two weeks.”

The value is visible for small-to-medium sized organizations as well. “In thinking about how we can deliver better products faster for our customers, we adopted a service-oriented mindset – breaking systems and workflows into smaller pieces that can be delivered or executed quickly with an automated pipeline,” says Jack Waters, senior vice president of engineering at WatchGuard, which provides enterprise-grade network security appliances and wireless security hardware. “We’re now able to get big things done noticeably faster. Whether it’s implementing encryption or changing the way our back-end databases are set up. Activities that would take months are now taking days to weeks to complete.”

DevOps and continuous delivery are good business

The value of adopting DevOps and continuous delivery is not just about improving the software development process; the ultimate advantage is the array of business benefits it delivers.

DevOps and continuous delivery allow organizations to drive innovation that sharpens their competitive edge while reducing costs, increasing revenue and ensuring faster time to market. Using DevOps and continuous delivery, companies can improve collaboration and productivity, while reducing risk. They’re also able to strengthen brand equity, improve customer service and satisfaction, and create a working environment that makes it easier to attract and retain top talent.

Hurwitz & Associates recently completed a CloudBees-sponsored study of 150 top IT decision makers, 77 percent of whom reported either company-wide or business unit implementation of continuous delivery. When asked how implementing continuous delivery had affected their business, 81 percent said continuous delivery is helping their organization bring value to customers and deliver on business goals. Approximately 44 percent reported significant improvements in their organization’s ability to provide customer value and meet business objectives. Equally important, none of the participants reported a decline in meeting business goals after implementing continuous delivery.

As accelerating innovation and responding rapidly to shifting market and customer demands becomes more critical for the success of every organization, a growing number of business leaders are recognizing IT as a strategic asset. Being able to shorten application delivery times, improve software quality and quickly adapt to change while dealing effectively with security, availability and compliance is just the type of competitive advantage organizations are seeking.

“We can’t afford to be complacent about what we have already offered; it’s about what else we have to offer our customers,” says Waters. “Having a healthy continuous delivery pipeline has really helped us stay competitive, maintain the level of quality that WatchGuard is known for and deliver new products with a high degree of confidence.”

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