Blog Q&A - DevOps: The Innovation Pressure Cooker



For the third year in a row, CI&T is bringing together a day of interactive panels, networking & fun at SXSW. Come hear experts from the world’s leading brands on how they scale innovation to drive competitive differentiation.
As we approach SXSW, we want to share perspectives on innovation from our speakers so you’re able to get a sneak peek into our upcoming panel.
In our upcoming panel, “DevOps: The Innovation Pressure Cooker”, our CTO Daniel Viveiros and his panelists Cathy Polinsky of Stitch Fix, Jason Warner of GitHub and Chris Prouty of Sensormatic Solutions  will discuss the role that DevOps plays in their company, how they are applying the concept to promote innovation and ultimately, increasing business impact. We’ll also hear their best practices, lessons, processes and cultural perspectives. Get ready to hear our insights and perspective on the current market and future trends on the horizon.
In this Q&A, Chris Prouty, Global Leader, DevOps at Sensormatic Solutions shares his views.

The term “DevOps” was first coined in 2009. As we approach its 10th anniversary, what are the most impactful benefits that companies are getting from leveraging DevOps techniques?

When it is done right, DevOps can significantly improve both the speed and accuracy of deployments—which is the magic quadrant so to speak of any technology group, especially if you are in the “As A Service business”. The key, of course, is automation of as many steps in the process as possible. The higher the percentage of automation, the greater your level of success over significant timelines. The flip side of that, of course, is the Law of Unintended Consequences. Most anything can be automated, but you have to create checkpoints in your process where your experts have the opportunity to verify the customer experience + have seamless rollbacks.

What are the most common hurdles to fully deploy a DevOps strategy?

To fully deploy DevOps in an org typically takes years.  Done properly, DevOps needs to combine all the good things your technology group has been doing for years, automate the vast majority of it, and tie it seamlessly into a systems development life cycle (SDLC) pipeline with a generously sized sidecar of a complete DevOps toolchain. The trickiest part can be the blurring of the lines between your traditional infrastructure and ProdOps teams with your engineering and QA teams. Who drives the process?  Who chooses the toolchain components?  Who determines the checkpoints? Who watches those checkpoints? How? The answer is easy: build consensus and a clear vision for the end-to-end solution. But, as we have all experienced, when there are people involved, especially smart, highly motivated people, simple can become highly complex and confusing quite quickly.

In short, a proper DevOps implementation is a lot of hard work requiring cultural buy-in from the whole org.

What are the biggest mistakes, misconceptions and/or pitfalls that companies are overlooking when it comes to leveraging DevOps as an innovation tool?

DevOps is neither a magic bullet nor a widget you can pick up on sale on Amazon for 2-hour delivery. DevOps is an evolution driven by iterative improvements to your technology stack and culture. DevOps is not, per se, innovation in and of itself. DevOps allows your business to move quickly to market, fail fast, and react at a velocity that allows you to delight your customers. In other words, DevOps allows for more innovation and more frequently.

What is next for DevOps? What do you see as a big trend for 2019? And for the next five years?

Three predictions:

1. The toolchain will continue to improve and expand capabilities. I expect some 'end-to-end' toolchain solutions to achieve popularity and widespread use—and eventually, be co-opted and abstracted by the big cloud providers. These solutions will provide a sort of plug and play framework that organizations, especially start-ups, can use to hit the ground running.
2. DevOps will become a true norm across most large orgs (Fortune 1000), but will still struggle with the 'what is it?' conundrum until it experiences a rebranding that simplifies its name to 'Great Products Faster via Technology'. I am obviously not in marketing.
3. Finally, DevOps, and the improving toolchain will allow for true portability across cloud providers, especially up and comers in APAC, which could have interesting implications for how Cloud providers differentiate their services.