As early as 2007, the DevOps movement emerged as a solution to bridging the gap between software development and IT operations and the inefficiencies it creates. With over 85% of organizations saying it was important for their company to develop and start producing new software quickly, DevOps became pointless for organizations to adopt. Its methodology offers promises such as accelerating enterprise flexibility, reducing time spent correcting and maintaining applications, and improving market speed.
As DevOps enters its 15th year, more and more organizations are reaping the benefits of the practice. However, the transition from separate, outdated IT practices to flexible, collaborative operations is fraught with obstacles, challenges and failures. In fact, almost 75% of DevOps’ initiatives do not live up to expectations, according to Gartner’s latest forecastsdue to problems with organizational training and change.
As technology continues to evolve and new tools and innovations emerge, there are various elements of DevOps that organizations need to master in order to be – and remain – a flexible, sustainable DevOps program. Adopting DevOps in an organization is not easy – but the results pay off if done correctly. The following are common challenges that IT leaders and executives need to address in order to reap the full benefits of DevOps.
Non-compliance of standards, processes (and the definition of DevOps)
One of the most overlooked aspects of establishing successful DevOps practices is defining the goal of change in the first place. It sounds like a simple statement – and it may be, but the path to acceptance can differ significantly between teams that want to allow open innovation and those that are trying to shorten the launch cycle.
Today’s leadership and management teams are much more involved in the process as they realize how critical a role IT operations play in the success of today’s organizations. With this change, users (such as executive executives) and IT professionals must set expectations at the beginning of the DevOps adoption process. This will help everyone understand the limitations of the current ecosystem and identify a solution that meets the needs of the whole enterprise.
If a financial institution creates a software product to compete with its fintech startup partners, for example, the leadership team must interview the DevOps team to ensure that the practice they are developing is consistent with the business goal, in this case rapid innovation. But it shouldn’t stop there – DevOps should also serve to connect different IT teams within an organization. For example, because security and privacy are critical elements of a quality software product, IT security and DevOps teams need to connect in ways to ensure that security is included from the beginning of product development. When this is too late, it can lead to errors, security complications at a late stage or much worse, which can turn into finger pointing and more silos.
Cloud tools ahead of the legacy IT infrastructure
Nearly 75% of Fortune 1000 organizations continue to run their critical applications on legacy IT systems such as the mainframe. This can cause a lot of pain for organizations, including a lack of scalability, resilience and scalability – not to mention the excessive operational costs of maintaining these legacy systems. COBOL, for example, remains the most famous language in the legacy of these organizations – data shows that 45 of the top 50 banks, four of the top five airlines and seven of the top 10 global retailers still rely on this approach, among others.
Today’s developers require access to relatively new, cutting-edge tools (ie SASE, Docker and Kubernetes, among many). Infrastructure as a code (IaC) has become a belated thought for modern manufacturers, but very few cloud tools are available in legacy systems. No matter how closely coordinated DevOps’ practice is, they simply don’t have the ability to rotate a new mainframe with a few keystrokes. With the development of cloud-based development tools, there has been a growing gap between the capabilities that DevOps teams have in modern environments and those in legacy spaces. In order for organizations to realize the benefits of DevOps and become truly flexible, they need to get rid of legacy infrastructure.
Lack of talent and knowledge
Acquiring and retaining quality DevOps cloud specialists and engineers has always been a challenge, and the Great Resignation / Reorganization has exacerbated this problem. In the world of mainframes, finding talent is a much bigger problem. According to Reuters60.5% of COBOL developers are over 45 years old – and almost 20% of these developers are over 55 years old – which means that their retirement is on the radar. A Forrester survey from 2018 also found that companies had lost about 23% of their specialized mainframe staff in the previous five years and 63% of vacancies had been vacant at the time.
Although this has allowed new and emerging IT talents to enter these positions, the reality is that many of them are unfamiliar with procedural programming languages and mainframe architectures and simply have no interest in these skills due to a lack of work. over time. The new generation was born from the digital age, teaching the power of abstraction and cloud-friendly languages. In fact, most businesses say they are concerned about having access to the right IT talent to maintain and manage their legacy systems.
Thus, as engineering and IT leaders develop and define their technology infrastructure strategy, leadership must simultaneously adapt and transform people’s strategies. Organizations need to start investing more in their people, which is where IT skills training, retraining and retraining can come into play.
Will businesses ever handle DevOps?
Organizations have a huge opportunity to adopt DevOps in the coming years – but leaders must accept that most of the drastic improvements that DevOps is known for can only be realized with cloud concepts that simply do not exist in the mainframe.