Enterprise DevOps: Building a Service Oriented Organisation
Over the past few months I have had the privilege of working together with experts from across Atos and also from Paderborn University to put together the latest whitepaper from the Atos Scientific Community. In this paper we focus on how DevOps can be successfully implemented at enterprise scale, drawing extensively on others’ experience and our own (both internally and with clients).
You may have heard the expression (usually attributed to Blaise Pascal) which says “If I had more time, I would have written you a shorter letter”. This resonates with me because much of our time working on this paper was spent deciding what we could leave out rather than what we should put in (DevOps turns out to be a very broad topic!). In the end we chose not to cover several important subjects (even though we would have liked to) including microservice, cloud and serverless architectures. Instead, for this paper, we chose to focus less on the technical aspects of DevOps and more on why DevOps is important for enterprises, what the specific challenges are for enterprise DevOps adoption, and how they can be overcome.
As we developed our thinking for the whitepaper it became clear that there are many conflicting views about what DevOps actually means. For some it is a set of technical practices, for others it is about tooling, and for others it is about adopting more Agile ways of working. Our conclusion has been that DevOps is best thought of as a “philosophy for how to build and operate software that encourages teams to focus on business value, work collaboratively, deploy software more frequently in smaller increments and build reliable solutions”. We also recognise that continuous improvement is a fundamental component of DevOps and, as such, you never reach a DevOps “finish line” where there is nothing left to enhance!
We found that the challenges specifically faced by enterprises are related to the size of the organisation. As organisational size increases people get structured into teams, and enterprises looking to implement DevOps at scale need to understand which structures will support DevOps and which ones won’t. The risks and effort associated with a DevOps transformation are also more significant for bigger companies. In the whitepaper we explain emerging approaches to transformation that reduce this risk and effort and provide greater organisational resilience and agility.
In our conclusion we describe some impressive case studies which show the value that a DevOps approach can bring and we also provide some key takeaways: actionable next steps that any business can take along their own DevOps path.