Digital Transformation (DX) has been a hot topic in recent years and with good reason. This is because, today, almost every company is a software company.
While this might come as a surprise to some, it shouldn’t. If you take a look around, you’ll notice that businesses across industries are all going digital to achieve the following:
- Modify existing processes
- Identify new opportunities (and revenue streams)
- Adapt their culture to enhance customer experiences
It’s a revolutionary idea that strives to meet the rapidly changing demands of the market, efficiently. It’s all about keeping up with the latest innovations and leveraging technology to achieve business goals.
What is DX?
DX can be described as a “necessary disruption” that leads to a radical rethinking of how a company uses its technology, internal processes, and staff to fundamentally change and improve business performance.
While the CEO typically leads this process, it demands cross-departmental collaboration to pair business-focused philosophies with rapid application development models. Often, DX is driven by the need to maintain relevance by developing new business models and revenue streams.
Most organisations build their DX initiatives on the foundation of Big Data Analytics, Cloud computing, and DevOps. For this post, we’re going to focus on the latter.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is an operational philosophy that represents the shared collaborative approach to tasks performed by application development teams and IT operations teams.
While DevOps definitions tend to be quite broad, its core ideology is as follows:
- Promote better communication and collaboration between teams
- Improve communication and collaboration between organisations
DevOps also represents the adoption of programmable software development, infrastructure deployment and maintenance, and process automation.
The term also embodies a DevOps culture that oversees the entire software delivery chain and shared services. At the same time, it continues to promote the adoption of new development tools, continuous integration, and best practices.
Mike Loukides, Vice President of Content Strategy at O’Reilly Media, put it best when he said, “operations is crucial to success, but operations can only succeed to the extent that it collaborates with developers and participates in the development of applications that can monitor and heal themselves.”
Your development teams have probably followed siloed waterfall approaches and agile methodology. So DevOps is the natural next step in the grand scheme of things. In fact, when DevOps first emerged, it was called “agile system administration.”
The key difference is that agile methodologies focus on software development and its associated processes. DevOps, on the other hand, also extends into the release and deployment phase with continuous integration.
As software continues to be the true differentiator in the digital age, DevOps is now critical to companies who want to boost productivity and access cost-savings (through automation).
However, it’s vital to note that new pipeline tools with design and development patterns can’t be integrated effectively without a cultural shift within the organisation. In other words, fostering a thriving DevOps culture within the organisation is imperative to successful DX.
How Does DevOps Accelerate DX?
When the whole organisation takes the DevOps approach to DX, they immediately flip risk profiles and place their trust in the iterative process. This approach helps unite people, processes, and technology to transform the digital face of the organisation.
When everyone shares the same DevOps cultural mindset, you can count on faster innovation and rapid releases of new technology products. Businesses will also be better placed to respond to market events and continuously evolving customer demands.
When enterprises adopt a DevOps approach to DX, they will be well-placed to take advantage of the following:
- Continuous and reliable change
- New revenue streams
- Identification of patterns that can help improve the business
- Less ambiguity (as DX will be driven by code in version control which enables traceability)
- Rapid experimentation
- Safe transitions (because the IT infrastructure will be more dynamic, observable, testable, resilient, and on-demand)
- The end of enterprise silos
What Are the Challenges?
According to the Annual Enterprise Mobility Survey Report, the pressure to integrate new solutions can lead to more challenges like security risks and budgetary shortfalls.
This is evidenced by (almost) 55% of DX leaders stating that worries related to security threats kept them up at night. Another, 53% indicated that they felt distressed because their company lacked the resources to adopt new technology solutions.
This approach can take the pressure off already overwhelmed in-house IT departments and ensure that you achieve your DX goals, on time and on budget.
Top 10 DevOps-Powered DX Best Practices
If you’re thinking about leveraging new technologies to innovate and maintain a competitive advantage, applying DevOps methodologies can help you get there.
The 10 DevOps inspired best practices listed below are based on the following core principles:
- Iterate faster
- Reduce feedback loops
- Experiment and learn
- Engage in cultural transformation
- Deliver business and customer value continuously and consistently
The DevOps best practices for DX are as follows:
- Create a DevOps organisational culture by engaging in staff training
- Engage an established third-party cloud DevOps services provider with proven DX experience
- Select tools and technologies that work across cloud computing platforms
- Continuously experiment, learn, adapt, and implement (whenever possible)
- Don’t forget about data governance and security
- Build a framework to deploy analytics protocols and continuous automated testing
- Use containers for experiments and tests
- Consider a cloud-native approach to your enterprise applications
- Build digital services with employee and customer privacy at its core
- Don’t be afraid to disrupt established processes and business models
DX is at the heart of modern business. As we enter the age of data, it will be critical to move on from legacy technologies and adopt new business models. It’s important because enterprises that fail to modernise will risk becoming less competitive (by the day) and rapidly irrelevant.
To learn more about the role of DevOps in DX and enterprise innovation, schedule a free consultation with one of our in-house experts.