A Better Way to Embrace DevOps: ServiceNow Webinar Recap

Digital transformation leads many organizations to DevOps in the hopes of driving innovation faster. But those that weren’t “born in the cloud” may need major adjustments to see the true value from DevOps, reducing its inherent complexity for enterprises.

In their webinar, A New Era in Enterprise DevOps, ServiceNow walks through how organizations can realize the speed and agility of DevOps by expanding its adoption while lowering risk across enterprise environments.

If you haven’t had time to watch the full webinar (yes, we know you’re busy finishing off that Halloween candy, getting the leaves off your lawn before it snows, and preparing for a *unique holiday season) never fear – we’re providing a recap of the full thing.

Tameem Hourani, CEO, RapDev.IO, Mik Kersten, CEO, Tasktop, W. Eric Ledyard, Sr. TPMM-DevOps, ServiceNow, and R.J. Jainendra, VP and GM, ITBM and DevOps, ServiceNow discuss why regulated enterprises find it challenging to scale DevOps, the business imperatives for DevOps, and the benefits that can be achieved.

It’s not easy for large, regulated enterprises to implement DevOps.

DevOps is a hot topic because it is at the core of digital transformation. While many startups and tech giants report huge successes after adopting DevOps, the same can’t be said for enterprises. This is particularly true for regulated enterprises that must abide by compliance policies, such as HIPPA, SOX, and ISO. One of the biggest KPIs for adopting DevOps is release frequency, but 85% of companies that have attempted DevOps have seen little or no increase in release frequency.

Why?

Some of the biggest barriers are manual change processes and manual processes brought over from legacy systems. As a result, many large organizations are prevented from truly benefitting from DevOps because 70% of development time is spent on non-value-add work. This leaves little bandwidth to devote to market differentiating business feature development. It also takes on average more than 23 days to approve a change, which makes it difficult for companies that are regulated to be as agile as they want to be.

A better way to get enterprise developer teams to embrace DevOps

For enterprise customers, moving to DevOps requires adapting to changes. Tameem Hourani, CEO, RapDev.Io observed that large enterprises often have many developer teams using many different tools. It’s not realistic to expect all the teams to uniformly agree to change gears and adopt the same DevOps tools. Instead, IT leaders should identify one smaller team of developers excited about DevOps and have that team work on a project and achieve success.

Then, those engineers can share their achievements and their new ways of working with other engineers across the enterprise. In the developer world, engineers place a lot of trust in what other engineers share by word-of-mouth. As a result, other groups and teams are more likely to start using DevOps, and adoption will grow exponentially.

How to expedite change processes

Tameem said that new tools, such as the ServiceNow platform, to automate change processes can be very useful. If you’re deploying code to production 600 times a day, there’s absolutely no way you can expect every developer to manually submit a change form. Given the right tooling can expedite the process significantly.

Enterprises need to adopt new ways to measure and manage the software delivery process

Mik Kersten, the author of the definitive book, Project to Product, which introduced the ground-breaking idea of the Flow Framework, has observed that tech giants have incorporated DevOps to enable digital transformation at a much faster rate than large, regulated enterprises. However, it’s not impossible for regulated enterprises to streamline large-scale software delivery if they are willing to adopt new ways to measure and manage the software delivery process.

With DevOps, if regulated enterprises can select the right platform and implement and automate all necessary controls for their pipelines, such as controls on data separation for HIPPA, then enterprises can achieve successful deployments. According to Mik, the path forward— to shift from a project to product focus and move faster with less risk delivering software— is to implement product value streams on top of a platform that supports necessary controls and then integrating best of breed tools.

Change management processes in the enterprise are still very manual

When it comes to software delivery and DevOps, the focus has been on automating configuration management systems and enabling continuous delivery. But one area that is underserved is around governance and change management. According to R.J. Jainendra, VP and GM, ITBM, and DevOps at ServiceNow, ServiceNow customers report that their DevOps teams can move quickly to produce artifacts for production, only to hit a wall with change management.

Too often, the approval process can take weeks and is still very manual, involving the filling out of change request forms.

Now, the focus is on ways to enable developers to quickly move features into production and at the same time be able to weigh the risk of a change and make informed decisions. A low-risk change wouldn’t need scrutiny and could use a lightweight change process to get into production fast, while other changes may have a more far-reaching impact and a longer change approval process.

Ultimately, the goal of making it easier for enterprises to embrace DevOps is to give developers more opportunities to focus on market differentiating business feature development so they can drive new and innovative intellectual property out into the hands of customers.

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