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Whenever I attend a software conference, I always like to survey the exhibition floor to discover what latest trend, fashion or fad is taking over the industry. At the 2017 Gartner Application Strategies & Solutions Summit, held earlier this month in Las Vegas, the dominant theme was once again DevOps -- continuing a craze that has been pervasive at pretty much every software conference I've attended this year.
But the big shift that seems to be happening in this space is the fact that the top DevOps vendors are no longer just talking about delivering software faster, but they're setting their sights on loftier goals that impact not only the development teams, but the enterprise as a whole.
"Doing DevOps means getting more things to market faster," said Lance Knight, COO of Go2Group, a DevOps vendor that specializes in software and services that help enterprises deal with DevOps transitions.
But DevOps isn't just about delivering software. Knight is quick to point out the fact that software companies deploy -- and the features they offer -- are key elements that can set them apart from the rest of their competition.
"Don't just think about it as delivering software faster, but think of it as delivering market-differentiating factors to the customer faster." Knight used the ability to deposit a check into your bank account simply by taking a photo of it as an example.
Nowadays, it's a fairly common feature of most mobile banking apps to use a cellphone's onboard camera to take a picture of a check and then make an immediate deposit. The functionality has become somewhat novel, as most banking applications offer this functionality, but it is not yet a universal feature. But in the industry, there were leaders that delivered this type of functionality to their clients first, and there are still yet to offer this feature. The ones that use development processes to speed up the delivery of features and get applications to market faster are the ones who will differentiate themselves as the market leaders. And that's exactly what DevOps does: It helps to get features, fixes and enhancements faster and more efficiently.
DevOps process unlocks velocity with quality
IBM's Eric Minick was another software professional on the Gartner Strategies & Solutions conference's exhibitors floor advocating the DevOps approach to software development.
Lance KnightCOO, Go2Group
"As organizations undergo digital transformations, they need better business and technical agility, and DevOps provides that," Minick said. "From recognizing trends to reacting to new technical innovations, organizations that want to work faster, deliver high-quality software and take advantage of changes in the industry are adopting DevOps techniques."
Differentiating oneself in the market or empowering an organization to undergo a digital transformation are fairly high-level benefits of adopting a DevOps process. There are certainly a variety of reasons for adopting a DevOps process that might resonate more with the application developers who are actually delivering the software, with predictability and transparency being two key features of note.
"Automating tasks makes software development more predictable," Knight said. "And when the human element is removed from tasks, the processes become more transparent."
And of course, there is the fundamental fact that organizations that implement a DevOps process tend to release software faster and have fewer bugs in their code, and that's a pretty compelling attribute in itself. Of course, change is never easy, and organizations are still struggling as they try to incorporate DevOps processes into their application lifecycle. But as they struggle, it's good to know that there are plenty of DevOps vendors out there providing solutions that will make their DevOps transitions easier.