November 11, 2016 | Written by: IBM Cloud
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If you are a leader in the IT industry, then you have likely experienced the satisfaction of making a difference in the world. Software has dramatically changed the world around us. Almost every single business sector, category or domain of activity has undergone a software-driven revolution.
Software touches every part of our lives. It’s part of our social interactions and it’s even fundamental to every structure that looks after our physical well-being, from hospitals to your exercise-tracking smart watch. It is key to people’s work, across every profession.
Business has monetized software to both sell products and become a product to sell. Today it is impossible to imagine a business that doesn’t include software somewhere in its value chain. It has become a key driver for profit.
Accelerating change in a software world
One of the key characteristics of software is its speed advantage over non-automated alternatives. Nobody breaks out the old desk calculator and ledger to work out finances instead of a spreadsheet. Software makes doing many things trivially easy.
The software that differentiated you from your competitor a few years ago may be commonplace today, due to software’s other key characteristic: flexibility. It’s always possible to add new features in the competitive race to have the best systems and products. But you must also have the ability to manage complex applications and features in all environments.
As your business relies on software, your bottom line can be increasingly beholden to maintaining a high software rate-of-change. Stagnating systems could result in profit tailing off or even eventually nose-diving. Mistakes when rolling out a new software updates could cause a dip in revenues.
Maintaining an accelerated rate of change means improving efficiency. Automating all of the non-value-add activities in your software development process can make a huge difference in your team’s ability to deliver quality software quickly.
Two decades in the business of continuous improvement of software development teams has allowed me to appreciate how tangible the business benefits of DevOps can be. Tackling the inefficiencies in your software delivery process results in earlier and improved ROI from your investments in software.
Where to find automation opportunities
Your development teams work hard at writing good code. Using automation to get that code through the delivery pipeline quickly and reliably. Here are some key processes you should consider automating:
- Build and deploy. These are essential tasks but don’t directly add value, so get those automated immediately. Unnecessary delays and errors come in after your developers write lines of code, but a good, automated build and deploy process can get your testers testing almost immediately.
- The benefits of automated testing have always been evident, so the focus should be getting those tests executed as early as possible to get immediate feedback. Tests need to change as often as software and the correct tests need to be run against your code changes.
- Testing environments. Provisioning test environments through virtualization technologies is also beneficial, but adds additional efficiencies if it is allows these environments to be inserted into the delivery process in real time, with their resources being reclaimed once they are free.
- Coordination of all of the above automated activities is crucial, so ensure your tools support orchestration.
It takes a lot of resources to deliver new software changes into production and generate revenue for the business. Keep thinking about your optimization: automating non-value-add activities can help keep the cash register ringing!
There are many businesses that have successfully implemented DevOps. Leading DevOps solutions from IBM such as IBM UrbanCode and IBM Rational Team Concert have been a key contributors to the success of these businesses. To learn more about automating application processes in the DevOps toolchain, listen to the Shift APM Left Webcast. And learn how APM can help DevOps practitioners streamline testing, deployment and management of hybrid business applications by downloading the no-cost DevOps APM for Dummies ebook.