As game-changers like cloud computing, analytics, and artificial intelligence take over the business world, the pace of change is reaching breakneck speed. Enterprises are looking for modernization that helps them be more nimble, efficient, resilient, and agile. In today’s market, where “there is an app for everything,” the new norm is underpinned by paradigm shifts across processes and people and the deployment of new features rapidly.
Supporting these frequent application enhancements, changes, testing, release management, and support often take up a significant chunk of the IT team’s valuable time. The DevOps approach – a blend of ‘development’ and ‘operations’ – has successfully supported delivery, rapid deployment, and efficient application software support. But first, let us understand the need for DevOps in driving service excellence in application support.
Barriers in enterprise application support
IT teams constantly grapple with application changes, infrastructure changes, check performance issues, unforeseen test scenarios, and more. The root cause of friction between the business, IT development and Support teams, therefore are:
- A lack of shared visibility and working in operational siloes
- Lack of operating framework to manage end to end development cycle
- Lack of usage of tools and technologies in the IT development and support spectrum
This is where DevOps comes into the picture for efficient service delivery of application development and support.
DevOps in AMS – A perspective
The DevOps practices make deployments automated (predictable) and production environments standardized (governable). The core tenet of DevOps, the CI/CD (continuous integration and delivery), allows for the use of automation and uncovers ‘black boxes’ proactively to scale growing IT complexities in the application landscape. It merges development and operational teams via a set of standardized processes. That way, the IT staff is freed up from routine tasks and become more productive through a faster resolution to problems and fewer complexities to manage. Getting the development teams more involved in fixing production issues increases operational efficiencies. DevOps enable the usage of tools during development and monitoring, making it a reliable framework. It also enables process simplification in application support by providing cross-functional visibility, application security, tool-based support governance, monitoring, release management, testing, and, more importantly, automation where applicable in the application development and support lifecycle.
DevOps driving operational excellence in application support
At YASH Next Gen AMS, our teams implement DevOps across all the evolutionary stages and incremental functions of the application development and support lifecycle, thereby delivering operational excellence in application support. Key drivers of DevOps practices include:
- Governance: Establish strong governance team to ensure DevOps practices are customized to the overall IT development and support needs and to ensure the practices are implemented, efficiencies measured captured, reported and improvements are continuously focussed
- Automation: Areas of automation include linking of incidents to release management, knowledge management, mechanism to handle/resolve tickets at a rapid pace, automation of security requirements, system reconciliation reports
- Organizational Change Management: Organizational culture can be realigned to the DevOps practices by establishing a governance structure which can ensure training, SOP’s, collaborations, cross-functional communication, and reporting
- Support Metrics: Key metrics to ensure that DevOps practices are efficient to include mean time to acknowledge, mean time to resolve and mean time between failures
- Collaboration: Development and Support teams’ collaboration is ensured using an effective implementation of CAB’s, knowledge and release management systems
Using next-generation AMS models, the organizational goals can further expand into:
- Optimizing the core: Cutting costs and maximizing efficiencies through labor arbitrage, process automation, and cognitive computing
- Tapping into legacy potential: Developing new capabilities and wrapping features around existing infrastructure to unlock value, improve flexibility, feedback ad user experience
- Delivering growth and speed: Building resilient (self-healing) capabilities to support strategic innovations and maintenance at the speed of business changes
The extent of the DevOps adoption and the constant monitoring of the potential impact typically helps IT teams improve flexibilities, user responsiveness, and customer-centricity. With this approach, teams can fail fast in new scenarios and learn from errors without exposing the organization to unnecessary risks. They can improve application support due to their ability to:
- Reduce application support time through quick rectification of issues
- Build more stable apps to ensure minimal defects with each release
- Share a common view and open communication channels for complete control.
- Gain real-time insights into app IT environments across complexities (data centers, cloud, etc.)
- Spend more time on innovation and less time on support and maintenance
Together at last
In a 24×7 app economy, it has become almost mainstream to address errors quickly, even before end-users realize that there is a problem. Applying DevOps practices and tools enables efficiencies in the application support to be passed back to the organization as cost-benefit, faster response time, stable systems, and process-driven application development and support system. While DevOps has advantages, the right value can be derived when the practices are customized based on organization-specific parameters like development frequencies, support requirements, technology landscape, and culture-specific scenarios.