BizDevOps: Taking DevOps a Step Further
March 04, 2015

Jonah Kowall

Traditional siloed IT organizations, which were primarily driven by strictly gated Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) processes and workflows, created tremendously effective controls around operating, and evolving IT systems. This operational methodology was effective when the business expected methodical change to happen via large releases of hardware and software functionality that most often were delivering new capabilities every six to 12 months.

As businesses continue to transform to digital and become software-defined by nature, the need to iterate on software releases more rapidly has driven organizations to build specialized, faster-moving teams in order to adjust the business model and execution quickly. This began with development organizations adopting agile methodologies, including automated testing of software and continuous integration within the development lifecycle. On the IT operations side, there was a need to match the development velocity, requiring breaking down of some of the rigid infrastructure and application support silos.

DevOps is the resultant philosophy that brings together developers and operations teams organizationally, culturally and technically. These changes overcome the work blockages present in non-integrated teams. This requires automation, but also flexibility in the software and infrastructure to adapt and learn. Doing this effectively aligns the development and operations teams with the needs of the business. The ability to learn, pivot quickly, and experiment is critical. Having both teams on the same page, using the same data, and speaking the same language is essential.

Businesses today have stable consistent business processes used to run the bulk of the business. Today’s shift requires coupling these with smaller unstable business processes, to provide differentiation. These unstable processes can support customer interactions that are unpredictable and require ad hoc decision-making. These are coupled with larger, more stable business processes. Unstable processes are agile, adaptable and maneuverable according to shifting customer needs. Deliberately unstable processes mandate a shift in the ability of an enterprise and its people to change in a fluid manner. This holistic approach, blending business model, processes, technology and people will fuel digital business success and lay the foundation for the digital transformation agenda.

Product management or the business application owners are responsible for taking business requirements, and both stable and unstable processes, and translating them into product requirements and criteria that the DevOps teams must interpret, build and operate. What DevOps fails to do is capture the business transactions needed to drive shifting business model decisions, which are required for digital business success. In order for business, development, and operations teams to work together, key business transactions must be captured and factored into decision-making and automation. Business transactions should not be considered as isolated measure, but instead the path of the user and execution of user-initiated processes across application and infrastructure components.

Making decisions to shift or break business processes must be data-driven, using a combination of metrics and data across business, users, applications and infrastructure. This data includes contextual data such as user, location, device; transactional data such as revenue, channel, product; and operational data such as request response times, device experience, etc. BizDevOps is the extension of DevOps into the business. The ability to support these merged teams will require new technologies in order to keep these teams on the same page when driving digital business. Having a common language based on business transaction allows for more effective meetings and greater collaboration across normally disjointed parts of the organization. Future use cases for BizDevOps platforms and data may include teams who have often been within data silos such as marketing, sales, customer support, and even back-office business service teams.

Jonah Kowall is VP of Market Development and Insights at AppDynamics.

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