Traditional IT is Standing in the Way of the Software Revolution

It has recently come to my attention that software is eating the world – today’s dominant companies are software companies. The growth of cloud and the affordability and ubiquity of high-speed-network connected devices have finally tipped the scales. Software is fundamentally changing the way we work and interact. Even for companies like AT&T, the role of software is becoming increasingly important. A little over a decade ago this company’s revenue came largely from phone lines, long distance, and yellow page sales. Today we are focusing on products like U-verse and Digital Life, which are software platforms that deliver new services over our existing network. In the coming years software will continue to transform whole industries and professions in ways we cannot yet imagine.

Moving deployment out of the dark ages

One of the biggest barriers preventing software from taking over the planet (i.e., making our lives even better) is that deploying software still remains something of a dark-art. It hasn’t universally risen to the level of a science the way manufacturing has, for example. Yet. There is a new school of thought percolating called “DevOps” that is seeking to change this. According to this school of thought, transformation is needed from both a process and technology perspective:

  • Developers and IT operations staff should work closely together. On the surface this sounds simple, but I assure you it is radical. IT and development have always been “separate but equal,” neither trusting nor liking the other.
  • Many companies use methodologies like Agile, LEAN IT, and ITIL; why not integrate them all and use them to drastically speed up the rate software is released into the live environment?
  • LEAN manufacturing principles can be used to manage and prioritize work, reducing the amount of work in progress and eliminating bottlenecks so work can flow through the system (and into production) faster.

Traditionally people in IT development and operations have looked at each other suspiciously because they confuse the technology they work with and their job description. But ultimately their job isn’t “developer” or “network engineer.” Their job is to use technology to advance the business goals of the organization. Development and operations should be working together, which is the idea behind DevOps, and reason enough to pay attention to the hype.

Is your organization using DevOps to enable and speed deployment? How are you encouraging IT to embrace this approach?
Jason Druebert Consulting Solutions Senior IT Service Management Consultant AT&T About Jason