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

Recently, we have had several discussions on what DevOps will mean in the next decade, particularly for European organizations.

Across Europe it’s clear that DevOps plays a role in changing the way an organization is perceived externally. Not only because apps (essentially new digital products and services) are being pushed out faster, but because the apps built deliver better business value and growth potential.

This is fundamental.

Speed and velocity are great, but if organizations don’t link this back to the business to understand and measure the business value delivered, efforts to accelerate DevOps will hit a wall.

Throughout 2019 there was increased focus on getting the underlying framework and foundation right to support DevOps and accelerated app delivery. This included fine-tuning behaviors, tooling simplification and governance, the transition to modern app architectures, legacy integration, automation-led strategies, and changing, adapting, and fine-tuning CI/CD metrics that support maturity.

Three Key Themes Will Define DevOps in 2020

Moving into 2020 a number of these initiatives will continue. However, we see short- and long-term investment increasingly tied to the notion of operating more like a software company and the ability to tame complexity while gaining real-time insight. Why? Because an organization’s ability to rapidly develop digital innovation (digital products and services) will be a core competitive requirement, as more than half of the European economy will be digitally driven in the next three years.

This requires every organization to become, in effect, a “digital innovation factory.” Several organizations are already on the journey to becoming prolific software producers, creating and distributing digital products and services with digital-native speed and scale.

As organizations evolve to support future enterprise needs, the role of DevOps will evolve and expand. We see three key themes defining European investment strategies to support accelerated app delivery and enterprise-scale DevOps in 2020.

Firstly, DevOps process, governance, monitoring, and management. There is a clear realization that to enable DevOps to become business as usual, organizations must rethink how products/services are funded, governed, and made compliant. They must also consider tool complexity, culture, organizational goals, and sourcing models.

Secondly, short-term investment prioritization focuses on API management, open source repositories (reusable in-house and external components), and security integration. In parallel, the transition to cloud-native architectures continues, driven by the need for organizations to master working at scale. Business value creation, iteration at speed, and the ability to lower the cost of experimentation fuels demand for cloud-native initiatives.

Thirdly, 2020 is all about automation, with a core focus on injecting automation into the overall DevOps pipeline and moving toward a unified automation strategy. While organizations are slowly progressing, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Currently only 1 in 10 organizations has achieved continuous integration with automated build and release management. We expect to see an acceleration in the number of organizations that embrace the principles of continuous integration and deployment, and that prioritize automation and tool pipeline improvement.

The number 1 automation rationale is tied to the ability to support ambitions to deliver apps, including cloud-native apps, via hybrid and multicloud environments. Multicloud automation, orchestration, and self-service portals will have a significant impact in supporting future IT and DevOps needs. However, we see a significant gap between ambitions and current capabilities to execute on multicloud strategies.

Cultural Change Always Gets Overlooked, But Could Hold the Key

While a lot of the focus remains on technology changes required to support accelerated app delivery, in truth the ability to scale DevOps and drive change revolves around cultural change. By 2021, 80% of European organizations will adopt DevOps but only 10% will excel in terms of accelerated performance and delivery cycles.

Cultural inertia is the stumbling block. ​Driving and measuring cultural change is top of mind for 1 in 2 European organizations in 2020. When addressing cultural change, organizations trying to replicate or copycat “unicorn culture” without adapting to their unique company identity will struggle to produce value or returns. Culture has to relate back to the company DNA and its roots.

This cultural challenge is multidimensional, transcending collaboration, customer engagement and feedback, continuous learning, metrics and KPIs, and business vision and leadership.

Many organizations address the DevOps and enterprise agility challenge from primarily a technical point of view, but when agility is confined to the tech or IT alone it brings no value. Organizations need to embrace a “dare to try” attitude and have the confidence to execute and drive change.

In IDC’s view, high performance requires a unique culture. There’s certainly proof in Europe. Development, operations, and engineering teams are becoming cultural change agents at high-performing organizations. Companies embracing a dev culture focused on minimum viable products (MVPs) and continuous customer feedback loops have seen a 38% improvement in customer lead times in the past 12 months alone.

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Learn more about IDC’s Future of Digital Innovation Research and the importance of software in IDC’s research perspective, “The Future of Digital Innovation: Every Enterprise Must Become a High-Performance Software Producer”.

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