The executive view on DevOps: We understand it…just not how it fits into mobility

The executive view on DevOps: We understand it…just not how it fits into mobility

The executive view on DevOps: We understand it…just not how it fits into mobility

0 comments 📅17 February 2016, 02:45

The executive view on DevOps: We understand it…just not how it fits into mobility

Exclusive DevOps – the software development method that aims to remove the silos between development and operations departments – has been around the block for a while now. In the enterprise, there is evidence to suggest organisations are getting a keener understanding of DevOps practices. But do executives understand how DevOps can fit in to enterprise mobility?

Well, yes and no. According to survey results published by Red Hat and TechValidate on behalf of Enterprise AppsTech, the response among organisations went right across the board. 26% of the 114 global Red Hat customers surveyed said they were using DevOps to support mobility projects, 24% said they didn’t see a role for DevOps in mobility projects, while 15% said they understood DevOps but didn’t see its role in mobility. One in five (21%) said they didn’t even understand the term.

Clearly, not everyone is pulling in the same direction. Steve O’Keefe is product line manager for mobile and JBoss middleware at Red Hat. He argues the industry needs to do better in communicating the benefits of DevOps, and how it fits in.

“I think the industry is going through a ‘what does it really mean’ [time],” he explains. “Any time you overlap two existing roles and trying to coin another term I think it gets confusing, and that’s what the results reflect.”

O’Keefe opines over what he would say to the 15% who admitted they understood DevOps, but didn’t see its role in mobility. He says it’s straightforward: does your organisation have mobile developers who want to go from project conception to a fully developed, deployed app in a week? Does your organisation have historic Java EE or .NET developers who go in two year updates and believe there’s a six month requirement gathering stage, a six month planning stage and a six month development and testing stage? If yes, how do they both work together?

The Red Hat exec is quick to note the importance of both sides of the coin. “You have different developers that work in different modes, and on different projects, and rightly so,” O’Keefe says. “I don’t want my core system changing every week. I’m comfortable with both of those ends, how do I get them to work together? I think that’s where DevOps comes in, managing the different paces and speeds, and the collaborative environment.

“To me, the results say that hasn’t happened yet,” he adds. “You probably still have mobility off on its own island, and you have enterprise systems on their own island, and there’s friction in communicating.

“That’s our challenge – to explain to the market the role of mobility in catalysing this idea of DevOps.”

Back in March, Red Hat issued a bullish four point manifesto on how businesses – with Red Hat, naturally – could succeed in the ‘mobile-first’ economy. One of these bullet points involved collaboration in two-track IT environments; using mobile as the catalyst for building a “fast IT” organisation.

Not unrelated to that is the concept of mobile centres of excellence; bringing mobile across the whole organisation instead of appointing a ‘head of mobility’, or worse, a ‘chief mobility officer’. It’s a topic which Cathal McGloin, previously CEO at FeedHenry and now VP mobile platforms at Red Hat, has spoken about to this publication previously.

For O’Keefe, the survey results represent the next step of the strategy, which continues to be fine tuned. “I don’t think we just threw a dart at the board and hit the bullseye,” he jokes. “But this is a further evolution of that strategy. We’ve got to communicate that there’s a better way to do some of these things; there’s a better way to do the collaboration, there’s a better way to think of backend integration.”

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