From cloud to the Internet of Things, digital transformation is catching hold in government. While agencies are becoming better at identifying new technologies to support their needs and are working with industry to find solutions to mission challenges, innovation isn’t just about technologies themselves. To effectively speed IT advances, agencies are now considering a DevOps methodology.
A recent study found 78 percent of federal IT professionals feel DevOps can accelerate innovation at their agency. DevOps is a culture of trust and collaboration in which people use the right tools for automation to achieve continuous delivery. As a result issues can be resolved in days rather than months.
How can agencies know if DevOps is right for them and how can they adapt?
DevOps is almost always an effective methodology, increasing collaboration between operations and development teams. Smaller, frequent changes, a common trait under the DevOps model, create a more stable environment. However, to fully take advantage of a DevOps model, agencies must address both culture and technology.
In terms of cultural change, a narrow mindset is often the primary obstacle. Agencies must be ready for change – ready to operate as an innovator like a Netflix or Facebook and make additional changes, rather than hitting reset, when they run into a challenge. A mindset that your organization will persist and adapt against adversity, yet will with certainty encounter challenges along the way, helps prepare an organization for a DevOps approach.
A strong leader focused on the big picture can be an important tool to success. To approach DevOps efficiently, teams need to work together from the genesis of an idea to its development, with a focus on the end user experience. Rather than taking separate approaches to networking, storage and computing problems, a DevOps culture brings together the talents of experts in these areas to efficiently identify solutions to a larger challenge or to meet common goal.
When working on a project, there is often pressure to immediately reduce costs or quickly roll out new capabilities. However, this can create tension and prevent the success of a DevOps approach. This can be resolved by leaders taking a step back and focusing on the end result and user experience, rather than allowing different groups to become bogged down in their day-to-day minutia. Ultimately, agencies will save time and money through a more efficient approach.
While DevOps is a culture and requires a shift in mindset, technology can act as a catalyst for IT innovation and agility.
Legacy technology, a lingering issue in federal IT, often inhibits DevOps success largely due to proprietary standards that lock agencies into one vendor and prohibit interoperability. Developers need best of breed IT and with access to a broader range of interoperable solutions, they can get much closer to this.
An open standards-based environment provides agencies the flexibility to automate workflows across compute, storage and the network. Automation is a critical to make the most of a DevOps and must be approached in terms of tasks to be accomplished. Automation and DevOps go hand in hand, allowing the rapid, small changes that are common in a DevOps approach to easily flow. A DevOps-based community is better equipped with cross-domain automation to achieve continuous delivery.
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