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CIOs are facing a series of unprecedented demands to step up to the needs of the business. As well as being asked to become business innovators and leaders, CIOs are being told to increase speed to market, embrace cloud adoption and deliver rapid change. Traditional IT is moving away from being a central function that reacts to the needs of the business, to a centre stage function that actively leads business initiatives, in a world where the digital agenda dominates.
Shadow IT has risen significantly as the business becomes more frustrated by the speed of traditional IT Departments, with utility IT services seen as the cheaper and more agile option. If IT cannot come to terms with this rise in Shadow IT, it is clear that it will eventually result in problems. But the bigger danger at present is that the CIO will lose control of the strategic agenda and become irrelevant. CIOs must respond to the Shadow IT threat, to ensure that they can maintain control of the strategic agenda and continue to have a prominent role.
So, traditional IT is facing a crisis and needs to react. The problem with crises is they can often trigger responses that claim to be the panacea to the crisis. One of the responses to the current crisis is the emergence of the DevOps movement as a mainstream solution. DevOps emerged over five years ago but it is only in recent times that it has become more commonly referred to as a ‘solution’. Its great strength is that it positions itself as the answer to the enabler to more closely couple IT and the business.
But to what extent is DevOps truly the panacea to all of these problems, or is it simply an over-hyped response that over-promises? There have been significant shifts in IT in recent years, notably the requirement for business to use IT more effectively to generate revenue and open both new markets, and new routes into existing markets. IT is rarely now regarded as a back room activity, or an overhead, and yet many IT functions still behave as if it is.
That said, there is no single answer to this wave of change sweeping across IT. There is a need for more agility, with IT becoming an enabler and not a blocker to innovation, and there is most certainly a need for IT to become not just aligned with, but thoroughly embedded, within the business. DevOps alone cannot deliver these changing requirements, however, aspects of the movement are certainly useful.
There is a lot of market push surrounding DevOps, but many CIOs have neither the time, nor the budget, to examine the implications of adopting a whole new philosophy, let alone to make the changes and manage the risk that adoption requires. CIOs have a huge investment in legacy systems, in ITIL based operational frameworks, and in people and technology to support these. Are these legacy investments and DevOps able to co-exist and how can these apparently disparate needs be met?
This series of insights takes a look at the philosophy of DevOps and breaks the concept into a set of smaller components that become more relevant to CIOs, giving them a better chance of determining which elements would have a positive effect on their organisation. The philosophy of DevOps, undoubtedly, has a number of significant benefits for most organisations, but there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Rather like the cloud, DevOps is a philosophy not a single solution, and ‘Hybrid DevOps’ is the most likely outcome for the majority of IT Departments, at least in the short to medium term.
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