Building a killer business case for DevOps adoption

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DevOps is changing the way IT works. Businesses can innovate, develop and deploy faster and more efficiently than ever before. You know it, we know it — but sometimes senior management need to be convinced.

It might sound daunting but, at its core, DevOps is simply a set of practices intended to reduce the time between making a change to a system and the change being placed into normal production. All while maintaining a high level of quality.

Although it’s been around for a few years now the term is still little-known outside of technical circles, so the first job of the business case is to demystify the concept in order to gain wider support from c-suite management.

Building a business case for DevOps can be an uphill struggle but here’s how to help senior decision-makers like CTOs or CIOs buy in to your vision.

What makes a killer business case?

Some of the decision-makers you need to convince won’t have strong technical backgrounds, so you need to find the solid business benefits, demonstrating that DevOps practices can bring value and efficiency to the entire organisation.

This isn’t just about what would make your job easier, or make things easier for your team — It has to go further than that. The business benefits generally split down into three categories: time, cost and resource efficiency. Here are some key points that you can highlight:

Making better use of staff time

Good developers are a rare and expensive resource. DevOps methods like continuous delivery ensure that their time is used efficiently — giving you the best bang for your buck.

By spending less time on rework and unexpected issues, and more time on new work it helps the business to move forward faster. It also helps developers to continually innovate, so you’re less likely to lose your best talent due to stagnation.

Keeping pace with the competition

The thought of being left behind by the competition strikes fear into the heart of leadership teams — and for very good reason. In today’s business world new threats and competitors can come out of nowhere — they’re small and agile, often well funded with a highly dedicated team ready to move quickly.

But DevOps isn’t limited to just start-ups or tech companies. Larger organisations are increasingly adopting DevOps practices and taking advantage of the efficiencies it offers.

Flexible frameworks save on cost DevOps processes embrace the use of open-source tools. These are generally either free or very low-cost. The use of open-source software keeps the business free of costly contracts with multiple vendors, allowing it to use the technologies that best fit its needs and budget and, crucially, allowing it to change and adapt quickly.

This is a huge benefit during periods of growth or during quieter times when the business needs flexibility in its platform costs. It also allows your developers the freedom to work with a variety of platforms, helping them to sharpen their skills.

Helping your business attract the best talent

DevOps makes it much easier for your business to attract excellent developers. It enhances productivity and increases efficiency, allowing developers to deploy high quality code multiple times per day with little to no risk.

Talented developers are in high demand, so they can take their pick of where they choose to work. They don’t want to use outdated or proprietary technologies or spend time bogged down trying to fix inefficiencies in your systems. Implementing the DevOps platforms they already know will keep them challenged and effective — ultimately improving your IT staff turnover figures.

Measuring the success of DevOps

So how will you know if DevOps practices have delivered all that you promised?

Like any change project you’ll need to have a clearly defined set of objectives and outcomes to track. Here are some of the key metrics you can use, relating to both the IT function and the business as a whole, to categorically prove the effectiveness of DevOps so your senior management team will really sit up and take notice.

Before you implement DevOps, take a baseline measurement of how long it’s taking your team to get to production. Measure everything. Are your staff regularly coming in at weekends to work and fix code? Are projects overrunning regularly with unforeseen issues? How long does it take you to get from planning to production?

Time efficiencies

Track how much more efficient DevOps tools and processes are allowing your team to be. You’ll probably find that you can get to production far more quickly, speeding up your development cycle. Then translate that into a financial benefit. Whether it’s saved staff hours, new revenue streams or being able to compete more easily, the cost and time benefit will be what everyone is interested in.

Defect reduction and resolution

Also, measure the frequency of defects in your apps. If you see this decrease you can link it back to the increased stability and agility of your development processes, thanks to DevOps.

When bugs do happen, how long is it taking your team to fix them? As DevOps processes speed up your delivery, you’ll notice that not only do the frequency of bugs decrease, but also the time it takes you to fix them. This has wide-ranging benefits for the whole business, minimising downtime and keeping productivity levels high.

Flexibility of infrastructure

Keep track of how much easier it is to scale up your infrastructure as you need it, and the cost of doing so. This will help to demonstrate to the business how DevOps practices can help it to meet ambitious business growth goals.

Total cost of infrastructure

Get a better picture of how your infrastructure costs go down over time as you move from burdensome legacy contracts onto a more flexible model with more agile tools. This will help to change the mindset of those less used to working with open-source tools and platforms, showing that the quality of work you can deliver is higher, and at a lower cost.

By building a killer business case for DevOps implementation, you’ll be helping your business innovate faster, retain quality staff and stay competitive.

If you need help with implementing DevOps at your company, reach out to us at OSO DevOps. We start by working with you to grasp and document the present state of your infrastructure or needs, and then map out a plan to help you fulfill your infrastructure and business goals. We’d love to hear about your project, just drop us a line.