As organizations recognize the radical changes happening around them, they are under immense pressure to maintain their market share and to capitalize on new revenue streams.
Digital transformation is quickly taking the business world under its embrace. Examples range from Uber's redefinition of urban transportation to the way in which Netflix has revolutionized the way we watch television. Given the pace and scale of digital transformation, sooner or later CXOs across the globe will have to embark on the journey to stay relevant, improve operations, out-do competition and serve customers better.
For tech organizations, DevOps is a crucial stepping stone for a CXO’s digital transformation aspirations, enabling them to curate products that are modern and innovative enough to meet the needs of the tech-savvy customer and quickly achieve their digital transformation aspirations.
As companies seek new levels of competitive advantage, they are relying on technology to innovate and improve their bottom line.
By 2020, 50 percent of the Global 2000 are expected to see a majority of their business depending on their ability to create digitally-enhanced products, services, and experiences. As you can see, digital transformation is fast becoming a cultural norm.
Digital transformation is the ability of any organization to digitally re-imagine business needs, foster a digital culture, adapt to technology disruption and leverage the innovations to achieve competitive excellence.
The core drivers for any digital transformation initiative include:
- Optimizing business models to innovate rapidly and fuel better business growth.
- Improving the quality of products to meet growing customer expectations.
- Enhancing business agility to keep pace with the constant sea of changes.
- Improving time-to-market to outdo the competition.
- Revamping operations to boost employee experiences.
- Unearthing customer insights to launch new products and new experiences.
- Embracing new platforms and technologies like Cloud, Mobile, Conversation User Interface (Bots), IoT & Robotics, 3D Printing, Big Data, Blockchain, AI, etc.
Digital transformation is all about keeping up with the pace of innovation and using technology to achieve business goals.
This is especially true for tech companies, where the overlap between DevOps and digital transformation much larger, and therefore more crucial. With agility being a significant business driver for digital transformation, the role that DevOps plays is rather apparent.
DevOps, through agility and continuous delivery, enables businesses to release products at the speed and quality that meets customers’ needs. In this context, I am specifically referring to DevOps 2.0 (BizDevOps) with cross-functional integration and automation between Business Functions, Software Engineering, Customer Support, and IT Operations.
For most organizations today, tech products comprise their core component of business delivery, developed using modern DevOps practices. Take any innovative company – Uber, Air BnB, NetFlix, Amazon, etc. – and you will notice that it is the tech product that differentiates the successful companies from those that are not so successful. Organizations that drive efforts in developing world-class products, bring them to the market quickly, while continuously incorporating new changes, features, and bug fixes are the ones that enjoy a greater realization of returns, competitive advantages, and more.
Not only does DevOps-driven tech product availability directly impact business revenue, it also greatly influences primary customer experiences. Getting a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) into the market enables you to understand how your product is received by your target audience, and what changes you need to make so customers get a consistent experience at all times.
Have you ever wondered how Amazon deals with peak sales that are 10x their load, or how Netflix handles a million views during the holidays? These companies function and thrive through the employment of DevOps practices that build the cultural pillars of Integration, Collaboration, and Communication which are naturally extended to the rest of the organization.
Having said that, here is why DevOps is a crucial stepping stone for CXO digital transformation:
- By using a minimalist approach to software delivery, DevOps helps organizations achieve tech delivery agility.
This means teams can bring an MVP to the market faster through continuous integration, continuous testing, and continuous delivery.
- By breaking the rigid silos between departments such as product management, product owners, development, operations, testers, and platform and infrastructure teams, DevOps enables different business functions to collaborate from start to finish.
This means through frequent communication; organizations can boost team dynamics and ensure everyone works together towards the achievement of a common goal.
- Since DevOps enables frequent measurement and assessment of progress, it allows organizations to monitor and iterate on the code.
This means organizations can constantly work towards improving uptime, meet performance expectations and deliver better business outcomes.
- By sharing feedback continuously across teams, DevOps throws much-needed light on delivery risk and allows teams to overcome them as soon as possible.
This means that organizations can get timely insight into the challenges and limitations, understand what’s working and what’s not, and use the insight to improve processes.
With digital transformation disrupting every business, every product needs to be built using a successful strategy. For modern software products and applications, that strategy is DevOps.
However, digital transformation calls for huge change within the organization. It is only with strong leadership commitment, and constant communication that you can sail through the resistance you will get from some of the departments on the critical path.
Here’s how you can strategize your digital transformation initiatives and make sure they are aligned with your DevOps principles:
- Align teams from across the software development life cycle to foster engagement and collaboration.
- Identify key business value propositions which when transformed, would drive value across revenue, profits, customer experience or competitive advantage
- Ensure IT and business strategy alignment to reach digital transformation goals faster and in a more efficient manner.
- Build a strong data platform, and take a data-centric approach for most of your strategic decision-making.
- Embrace lean principles and Agile practices together with automation to incorporate changes more easily.
- Enable your CTO to assess and strategize how some of the emerging technologies like DevOps, AI, IoT, cloud, and Big Data can add value to this initiative.
- Bring in an executive sponsor with strong influence and authority on cross-functional business units to drive higher levels of operational efficiency
- Leverage modern tools and technologies to add value that will differentiate your business from your competitors.
- Support a culture of iterative learning that allows teams to make mistakes, and learn from them.
- Enable and implement continuous integration and continuous delivery across your tech organization to optimize quality and timely delivery.
- Make technology a fundamental part of the business to maximize innovation and business performance.
- Customer perspective is key; ensure strong involvement of customer advisory boards and customer-facing internal teams to validate that the new value proposition will hit the mark in early iterations.
- Since the introduction of new days of going business can result in huge skill gaps, change management and cultural alignment are key; make sure you have robust change management initiatives in place.
As CXOs across the world gear up to drive digital transformation across their organizations, adopting and leveraging emerging technologies is imperative to enhance software product quality, improve time-to-market, and drive value.