Adapting to the Pace of Business with DevOps
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Last week, Opscode hosted ChefConf, a 4 day event focused on adopters and contributors of Chef. IBM was a Gold sponsor of the event, and several of my colleagues and I had the wonderful opportunity to attend. While there, IBM presented a keynote talk on how we're adopting Chef as part of our IBM SmartCloud strategy, as well as a more detailed breakout session and kiosk in the exhibition hall.
ChefConf demonstrated the electricity of how DevOps and Continuous Delivery are shaping the future of how businesses compete in the market place. While many great keynotes were given at ChefConf (including Disney, Nordstrom, Facebook, and Jamie Winsor's (@resetexistence) great talk on Berkshelf), I thought that Adam Jacob's (@ad
Adam opened his talk with a discussion of the impact of globalization. In the first phase of globalization, standardization of how we move goods through container-based shipping took about 40 years to take over a majority of goods (minus oil and grain) between countries. The internet achieved similar penetration in about half that time (22 years). As the goods and services become even more dependent on the internet and mobile platforms, new business models emerged and existing business models were forced to adapt. For instance, Adam cited the impact of customer service to the early success of Walmart and how Amazon focused on the same aspect of customer service and volume pricing, but with the application of technology to improve the consumer experience. He also cited an example of a traditional business adapting through his recent experience with Allstate. When he needed to file an insurance claim -- his claim was serviced through his smart phone. He even described an innovative business model to improve how bananas can be brought to market using mobile phones! (Ubernana, which may officially be Trademarked by Adam :).
In each example, he demonstrated that "software is the interface for consumption." In other words, software is the critical fabric that enables businesses to engage and convert users into customers.
In order to adapt to these business requirements, he stressed the need to break with traditional heavy-oversight driven process and focus instead on empowering the doers and focusing on accountability. We have to change our organizations from a focus just on high level design and more focus on the "full stack engineer" that understands the holistic view of the delivery process and who is empowered to make changes and optimize the delivery process over time.
Ultimately, Adam believes that the economic impact of what we're doing with DevOps will move much faster than the first phases of globalization. Even more intriguing, he asserted that when we're done with the transformation, we won't look the same at all. Business will change in the structures and roles of the organization to adapt to how quickly we must deliver capabilities in order to meet the needs of our users.
Perhaps most succinct, he said that "DevOps isn't about us, it's about a set of ubiquitous global trends that require new behavior to survive the next few decades in the global economy."
Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with Adam's position, we can all agree that it's going to be an exciting transformation and journey together!
*Image was part of Adam's talk and was reused from