Company culture just the first step toward DevOps implementation

A recent Freeform Dynamics survey illustrates how DevOps implementation brings with it a struggle between recognition and effective action for many companies.

For DevOps, where a large-scale cultural shift is more vital than any one specific practice, embracing DevOps implementation and actually doing it can prove to be two wildly different things. A recent survey commissioned by CA Technologies and conducted by Freeform Dynamics suggests that as appealing as making the switch to DevOps may be, it proves easier said than done for many companies.

Polling 1,442 respondents in 16 different countries, the survey asked about the nine different goals--or as CA put it "puzzle pieces"-- required for successful DevOps implementation. These puzzle pieces included IT-business alignment of priorities, cross functional IT processes, and the right infrastructure and tooling, among others. For each piece respondents were asked whether they considered it important, and whether they already did it.

As it turned out, the vast majority of respondents recognized the importance of all nine puzzle pieces, with 81% or more saying they found each category to be crucial to the process of DevOps implementation. But with the exception of 55% claiming they had a well-defined strategy and objectives (one particular piece), only 39% or less of respondents claimed to have achieved every other category. Ultimately, only 20% of respondents had "fully assembled" the puzzle by doing all nine pieces.

In other words, there's a huge divide between knowing what to do and actually doing it.

"Based on everything that we hear from customers and see borne out in research, most organizations have implemented DevOps on some level, typically related to those projects where it was easiest to do so; the big challenge is expanding across the enterprise," said Aruna Ravichandran, vice president of DevOps Solution Marketing and Management at CA Technologies.

Ravichandran suggested that enterprises struggling to make the shift look to those who have already succeeded in DevOps implementation. Companies like ING, Citrix, and ANZ Bank have already successfully broadened their DevOps use beyond the pilot stage, and employing similar approaches to theirs could help effectively address these challenges.

"From wholesale recasting of culture, to adoption of new processes and supporting toolchains, this is a hugely difficult transition," said Ravichandran. "That’s why it’s critical to rely on the best practices established by leading adopters. Those stories and techniques can help translate initial efforts into DevOps at scale."

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