Why Executives Don’t Get DevOps (And How You Can Show Them the Way)
DevOps is completely revolutionizing how many development teams build, deliver and maintain software. Yet at many companies, executives don’t seem to care. What gives?
What’s difficult to articulate the value of and easy for corporate leadership to overlook?
(To the jokers in the back: No, it isn’t “everything.”)
If the title of this blog didn’t completely give it away, the answer is … DevOps.
It’s almost unbelievable, given the state of the world we live in. The songs of success praising technology-driven innovators like Tesla and Uber reach far beyond the hills of Silicon Valley. “Every company is a software company” is repeated so often you’d think it’s a passphrase that grants access to some sort of top-secret C-suite lounge.
Yet when it comes to the actual mechanics of creating and iterating upon software, it seems like the only C-level executive interested is the head of technology. It’s unfortunate since we all know that DevOps actually brings a ton of value to the entire organization—not just the development and operations teams.
So, What’s the Deal?
To be honest, this isn’t an easy or straightforward question to answer. It ultimately depends on the executives and company in question.
Caveats out of the way, I think Alan Santos, the Director of Product Management here at DataDirect, summed it up pretty well in a webinar he recently did with the folks over at DevOps.com. Basically, it comes down to one of two issues (or both).
1. DevOps Is Just a Thing for ‘Doing Software’
Unless they work at a technology company, many executives don’t live and breathe technology like we do. Software development principles like agile vs. waterfall and industry shorthand like CI/CD are basically a foreign language.
Because of this disconnect, they begin to look at DevOps like a team-level activity and not the enterprise-level concern it should be. By convincing themselves that DevOps is just a thing for “doing software,” they can rationalize putting it out of sight (and then out of mind).
This is problematic because DevOps is about more than building software the right way. It’s about building the right thing for the right people at the right time, and it influences the entire company as a result.
2. DevOps Is Just for Unicorns
One of the dangers of idolizing the way companies like Tesla and Uber use practices like DevOps to drive agility, velocity and quality is that it sends the message that DevOps is something only those kinds of companies can do. It’s easy to think that if you’re not a tech company, or not a cutting-edge pioneer in your industry, maybe you don’t really NEED DevOps.
As the rest of us know, that couldn’t be further from the truth. DevOps is all about improving the end-to-end feedback loop from idea to customer and back again. By focusing on continuous improvement, you bring problems and their corresponding solutions to light sooner. This translates to faster iteration, better software quality, and ultimately happier customers. Every business can benefit from that.
Showing Value: The Key to Solving the DevOps Dilemma
There are a lot of different approaches you can take to help business leaders see the light and get them onboard with understanding DevOps. Whether your company is new to DevOps or is far along in the journey, it’s important to educate the people at the top. Raise awareness of the fact that DevOps isn’t just a team-level activity. Highlight precisely how important it is to be good at producing value through software for everyone involved—non-technical employees, business partners and end customers—and not just developers.
If you’re still at the early stages of your DevOps journey, you might also want to arm yourself with examples and metrics that illustrate the tangible benefits of DevOps. To that end, the annual Accelerate State of DevOps report is full of proof points. For example, did you know businesses with elite DevOps practices …
- Deploy code 208 times more frequently?
- Deploy code 106 times faster?
- Recover from incidents 2,604 times faster?
- Decrease change failure rate by 7x?
If you’re further along in your DevOps journey, consider reporting on your own DevOps process to quantify the values and benefits. Executives LOVE reports and dashboards, and for good reason—these easily digestible snapshots can tell them a lot about how a company is operating.
Reporting is especially important today. More and more companies are looking at analytics and metrics to drive decision-making and uncover the “unknown unknowns” that could be hurting their businesses. And this is great for DevOps adoption, since tools like GitHub, Jira, Aha! and TeamCity are HUGE stores of data and can be significant sources of insight.
Enabling Full-Scale DevOps Reporting
Now, one challenge many developers have is that while these DevOps tools are great at reporting their own information …
… they don’t always play well with others.
When done manually, reconciling information across tools into a single report is extremely time-consuming—you’d have to spend time learning about different APIs, worrying about versioning, building all sorts of connectors, etc. The extreme effort of implementation and maintenance practically negates the positive experience of a unified dashboard.
But it doesn’t have to be so hard! Progress DataDirect, as the leader in cloud and on-premises data connectivity, has the expertise in-house to solve the unified dashboard problem not just for ourselves but for our customers too.
Our DataDirect Connectors for DevOps offer dev teams on-demand access to information stored in popular DevOps tools like GitHub, Jira, Aha! and TeamCity. With a fast, efficient standard SQL interface, you can quickly connect these systems to your BI and analytics tools like Power BI and Tableau to breakdown the silos that limit your reporting and dashboarding.
If you want to learn more about these connectors and how they can help your DevOps process (even beyond reporting), you should check out our recent webinar with three business leaders from Progress. They discuss their own journey to understanding DevOps and how DataDirect connectors were able to help drive more value throughout the organization.
Or, if you’re more a hands-on type of person, start a trial today and see how DataDirect can help your business.
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