Where DevOps is today

OK, so you get that DevOps is important. Yay you! But how broadly has DevOps been accepted? That’s a darn good question, and IDC and AppDynamics have some answers in their recent report, DevOps and the Cost of Downtime: Fortune 1000 Best Practice Metrics Quantified.

First, let’s put into perspective the problem DevOps is meant to tackle, getting development and operations into sync on the cloud. If you’re serious about the cloud, you’ve moving your business IT to it. And that’s a job that comes with a heavy price-tag for failure. How heavy? The average hourly cost of an infrastructure failure is $100,000 per hour. And, worse still, the average cost of a critical application failure per hour is $500,000 to $1 million.

So you better get DevOps right, or you may soon be looking for another CIO position… a lower-paying CIO position.

In late 2014, IDC found that 43% of Fortune 1000 IT departments were currently using DevOps practices, while another 40% are currently evaluating DevOps. IDC Vice President of Infrastructure and Cloud Practice Stephen Elliot sees this trend continuing, “with more organizations adopting DevOps practices and organizing themselves around it. The business value is too much to ignore.”

With 83% of top companies either invested in or looking seriously into DevOps, you might think that it was easy to make a case for it. Nope. It’s not so. IT is still seen as a cost center rather than as a vital part of the 21st century line of business.

Fifty-seven percent of DevOps implementations still face corporate culture inhibitors, while 44% face the no-less-dangerous problem of fragmented processes. The one bit of good news is that the bane of so many IT projects, lack of executive support, is reported to be a problem by only 27% of those surveyed. So, while your coworkers may be giving your grief with your new IT plans, at least the C-suite is likely to be on your side.

What companies are primarily looking for from DevOps is IT automation, at 60%. This is followed by continuous delivery at 50%. I believe continuous delivery’s popularity comes from the simple fact that DevOps usually, 41% of the time, gets its start from the programming side of the house.

Elliot concludes that “communicating DevOps business value is critical to securing additional funding and accelerating the rate and course of change in an enterprise. Finance is the language of business.”

As such, DevOps teams should consider the following business metrics to communicate success:

Productivity: Speed, velocity, and how much faster the team is executing through faster code development, impact analysis, build and test automation, configuration automation, and time to market.

Quality: Improved availability, deeper requirements analysis, early business stakeholder support and involvement, security and compliance risk reduction, and identifying issues earlier through continuous testing and integration.

Operating expense: Cost avoidance/optimization, doing more with what you have, fail fast and fail cheap, cost modeling, and allocation/bill of IT.

Capital expense: Improved utilization, cloud-based systems, and convergence.

Exciting stuff? No, not for most of us. But, if you can’t tell the top brass what you’re doing in hard numbers that make sense to them, your DevOps project isn’t going to get off the ground. And, you can forget about moving your company into the 21st century where line of business and IT work together in an agile DevOps future.

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