Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Making the Case for DevOps in the Boardroom. Are You Ready?

Axway has recently partnered with industry analyst firm Ovum to conduct a global survey consisting of 450 senior IT decision makers to determine how organisations are preparing to meet the needs of today’s digital economy. The findings highlighted two key concerns for IT leaders, and DevOps pros in particular.

  1. More than half of the enterprises have failed to comply with customer-driven service level agreements (SLA), face non-compliance with data security regulations and are worried about data integration issues.
  2. Nearly a third of the respondents indicated that they have not explored digital business initiatives and the role of APIs in digital transformation.

While these findings focus on the organisation itself, they imply a much broader business impact. Below are some key guidelines to help the DevOps team address these challenges.

Speak Truth to Power

It is particularly worrying that 36 percent of businesses are not planning to invest in the use of APIs, despite skyrocketing customer expectations for much more digital experiences. This suggests that either the business has not prioritised digital initiatives or that their IT team is struggling to make a case for the necessary funding. So what should you do if your team is in this situation?

It’s essential to make the case in board level language rather than ‘tech speak’. Management doesn’t care for speeds and feeds, but it does care about business consequences.  Here are two crucial statements that your team can use to get the C-suite’s attention and financial backing:

  1. Slow IT threatens the survival of the business.

Failure to invest in IT will slow down business innovation and the ability to launch new digital services, which runs the risk of damaging the customer experience. This will eventually result in brand and revenue damage, but can be preventable with an API-first DevOps strategy in place.

  1. A security breach – or compliance failure – could result in executive prosecutions.

Execs are not always as aware as they should be that security or compliance failures can result in civil and even criminal liability, not to mention the damage such an event can have on your company’s brand. Work closely with the Chief Compliance Officer (or Chief Legal Officer) to help clearly spell out plausible risk scenarios to the CEO, CFO and the broader C-Suite. Explain why having up-to-date technology that’s fit for purpose is critical to ensure the necessary levels of compliance and security.

Don’t Fly Blind: Integrate Smarter and Faster

More than 50 percent of respondents noted a lack of end-to-end visibility, non-compliance with data security regulations and limited integration with backend systems as being potential issues. 57 percent are also relying on B2B integration gateways that are more than five years old and often lack any form of API management capabilities. This can create a huge challenge when building and integrating digital and cloud services.

Unfortunately, the speed of change isn’t slowing down. Quite the opposite – it’s increasing. IT needs to ensure it has a go-forward solution for this issue and APIs are key to delivering the visibility and integration needed for a high-performance, compliant organisation.

Digital transformation via APIs requires a wholesale revaluation of process, people and product – so ask the hard questions now.

  • What needs to change at the IT level to enable the broader digital strategy? Which services and products need to be digitally re-engineered or integrated differently?
  • Does my technology platform support all current compliance requirements and give me the flexibility to meet shifting demands?
  • Does my team use a true “cradle to the grave” lifecycle approach to API creation and management?
  • Is my team structured properly to allow a true DevOps model, where continuous updates in parallel are the norm and not the exception?

Always Think Ahead

Be assertive and implement smart changes on your terms now so that your DevOps team is future proofed for the digital age. Here are three recommendations on how you should approach digital business transformation:

  • Personalise your plan: There isn’t a “one-size-fits-all” approach. Instead, you need to carefully evaluate how DevOps can support your company’s overall IT objectives and assess how you need to approach the goals of individual releases.
  • Take a holistic approach: Don’t think of DevOps as just a list of sequential process steps and activities. Instead, look at how you can optimise the overall process to eliminate overlapping tools and inefficiencies and maximize impact.
  • Think long term: Develop your strategy and process to enable continuous delivery as this will give you the flexibility and agility needed to meet constantly shifting customer demands.

This might seem daunting, but this “rethink” is essential as it is the only way we can meet – and ultimately exceed – rising customer expectations.

Technology has tipped the balance in favour of the customer and to be successful in this new digital world we all need to rethink the traditional IT processes. And while there is no “one-size-fits-all” approach as different organisations are at different stages of their own journey, implementing smart changes now can make a huge difference to the long-term success of your business.

The post Making the Case for DevOps in the Boardroom. Are You Ready? appeared first on IT SECURITY GURU.

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