Jen Thomson
Jennifer Thomson (Senior Research Director & Lead Accelerated App Delivery Practice)

We ran our first European DevOps Research Innovation Council (RIC) on June 27, bringing together the great and the good from the European DevOps world to identify common challenges and discuss the most disruptive trends impacting DevOps and accelerated app delivery strategies at European enterprises.


The RIC brings together the founders, CEOs, and VPs of innovative DevOps players, ranging from start-ups, to well-known disruptors, right through to global players, to get a 360-degree view of what’s really happening in the market.

IDC in Europe is currently running seven RICs — AI, security, blockchain, cloud, IoT, AR/VR, and DevOps — that have each created a community of leading IDC analysts and business leaders that cut across emerging and established companies. The RICs provide a professional framework that offers an ideal setting for open discussion.

In the DevOps first council, members largely concurred that every organization is becoming software defined. This results firstly in software engineering becoming a core competency that is essential for organizational survival and sees European organizations increasingly opt to in-source capabilities. Secondly, this drives the transition to modern application architectures as enterprises take up the challenge of transforming monolithic applications into microservices. Thirdly, wider cloud adoption sees increased investment allocated to cloud-native app development, which IDC sees being dependent on four attributes: microservices, containers, container orchestration frameworks, and DevOps.

Battling Against the Growing Complexity

Disruptive trends took up a large part of the discussion — firstly, the maturity of the cloud services providers in terms of driving enterprise cloud adoption and secondly the increasing adoption of cloud-agnostic tooling (e.g., Hashistack and Kubernetes container platforms) and the challenges in moving to a multicloud strategy. We discussed that with containers and microservices, complexity to track and manage systems dependencies is set to increase in in-house environments, perpetuating old challenges related to IT operations management. Containerization provides the flexibility to easily move between cloud providers and on-premise, so this makes a lot of sense. However, as organizations become more containerized, they get more into microservices architectures — and it’s here that complexity escalates and organizations struggle in terms of microservices versioning and orchestration. This is not just a challenge for end-user enterprises but also for the technology vendors, as this is a completely different business model and changes the pricing structure in provisioning the services.

This transition to cloud-native applications requires development and IT operations teams to evolve to build and deploy apps faster and more efficiently. The observation was that while DevOps transformations and automation continue to gain in importance, organizations remain challenged in truly driving superior performance in the context of developing and delivering software capabilities quickly and safely. This maps to results from IDC’s European DevOps Survey 2018, which found that 60% of European organizations utilizing DevOps methodologies struggle to achieve DevOps at scale. At the root, there remains siloed teams, systems, and processes across the software development life cycle (SDLC). While much progress has been made, IDC finds that 62% of organizations are focused on joining together Dev and Ops as the next most important thing to do on the DevOps journey.

Integration across Dev and Ops is not just in terms of people and process but also in terms of achieving unified automation, given that very often silos of automation have spun up across the SDLC. For instance, while automations around continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) and application release orchestration are common, they are often siloed to the teams that use them and for the purposes of the job to be done in that team. However, the goal is to achieve a seamless process from “ideation” to “feature adoption.” Continuous delivery is a challenge, especially when thinking about cloud-native continuous delivery. A very real challenge is for enterprises to figure out how continuous delivery works for them. It’s great that development teams can ship code faster and faster, but the delivery process needs to be able to keep up.

To overcome day-two DevOps challenges, European organizations are prioritizing on simplifying their DevOps tools stack — looking for the glue that connects the tools. This tool stack simplification and the ability to integrate and connect tools goes hand in hand with the transition to multicloud strategies.

The Cultural Conundrum

We couldn’t discuss DevOps without touching on culture. Getting the right culture is hugely important for DevOps success, and clearly remains a very real challenge. There is ongoing evidence that many organizations claim to be super modern and are even doing important workloads in Kubernetes, but if we take a closer look at the applications, these are still monolithic applications that still ship with a traditional waterfall mindset. This means many organizations think they are DevOps- and cloud-native-ready because they are using a “DevOps” or “cloud-native” platform, but they are just refurbishing an old culture with a set of new technologies. This causes more challenges than it solves as these enterprises don’t see the benefits from these technologies without adjusting the underlying processes and the culture.

Let’s Build Some DevOps Muscles!

It was agreed that organizations must work on building “DevOps muscles” — and there was unanimous agreement that for sizeable organizations it is impossible to teach everyone to do DevOps in one day. This must be progressive. Organizations should gradually build competence and capabilities across teams, then focus on learning and iterating and scaling the competence across the organization.

With the current emphasis on speed to innovation and the delivery of superior customer experiences, agile and DevOps tools and approaches become the default for all enterprises. It’s no longer about if organizations should adopt DevOps — it’s now about getting DevOps right and scaling it across the enterprise. This entails taking the learnings from a more collaborative style of working and pushing this through into the wider organization.

Over the past year we have found that European organizations fully embracing DevOps are able to push out innovation at 50–100 times the frequency of traditional approaches. Many European organizations are only at the beginning of the journey to achieve elite delivery performance. From IDC’s point of view, the ability to transform application estates and accelerate application delivery is one of the most critical business objectives for organizations in the next five years. European organizations are forecast to spend $80 billion on accelerated application delivery by 2022. This is a process that will provide substantial spend opportunities throughout a good chunk of the next decade.

Who’s in the IDC DevOps RIC?

IDC invited the following DevOps innovation council members to the inaugural research innovation council:

  1. Capgemini —
  2. CloudBees —
  3. Cycloid —
  4. Dynatrace —
  5. ECS Digital —
  6. Eggplant —
  7. JFrog —
  8. MongoDB —
  9. Microsoft/Azure —
  10. MuleSoft —
  11. NetApp —
  12. Plutora —


If you want to know more about IDC’s European DevOps Research Innovation Council, please contact Jennifer Thomson or go to


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