Can Today's Companies Shorten Delivery Times While Cutting Costs?

    June 28, 2016
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    By Luis Colon

    Every company hoping to incorporate DevOps and/or bimodal IT is approaching the shift in a different way. No matter what their methods are, organizations must have holistic control over IT to ensure that legacy and agile methodologies meet in the middle.

    The rapid adoption of bimodal IT and DevOps strategies has been the cause of some lively debate within the industry. CIO explains that some companies see this trend as the natural solution to more efficient delivery of online service, while others argue that bimodal is a concept that’s hardly new, and rarely productive, according to Forbes. But few argue with their basic precept: IT departments must contend with both shorter turnaround times and the increasing pace of innovation/disruption.

    Of course, even the most opinionated of industry commentators will acknowledge there’s no single best way for organizations to improve the agility of their operations. Naturally, enterprises have taken a number of approaches to that end, not all of which emphasize a bimodal approach or a DevOps culture. But with such a rush to keep up with the pace of industry change, it’s important that IT bring agile and legacy strategies under one holistic roof in order to maximize the combined efforts best benefit the business.

    No One Path Forward

    Most companies aren’t in a position to fully commit their operations to a given set of procedures on day one — bimodal and DevOps were always intended as simply useful frameworks for transitioning organizations.

    But with so much emphasis being placed on shorter delivery times, companies are putting their faith in those frameworks. As TechTarget notes, the efforts of organizations to modernize their IT have taken many forms. For instance, insurance giant Prudential has launched efforts to overhaul at least seven of its legacy applications, using open-source tools like Apache Zookeeper to construct workable proofs of concept. Their objective is a long-term transition into DevOps, picking and choosing tools that will sustain the project as it evolves.

    A large Canadian bank is opting for a more aggressive approach, and aims to transform its IT and development teams into a single “responsive solutions group” over three years. The bank’s initiative differs from traditional DevOps strategies in that it will attempt to apply the agile mindset to management generally — allowing different departments to choose options that work best for them — rather than for strictly development-related purposes. Still, they hope to shorten their application release cycle from 12 months to three or four.

    No matter a company’s approach, efforts to reduce delivery times can put a strain on the infrastructure; IT has to free up or acquire additional capacity to pursue new projects while maintaining their existing systems all the while.

    Balancing Two Fronts

    This strategy of “looking forwards while looking backwards” amounts to something of a juggling act for IT administrators. Almost invariably, organizations will have to invest in elastic cloud resources or other additional infrastructure to support new applications and services, and more often than not, exactly where IT is creating costs for the business becomes obscured in the shuffle.

    It’s difficult for companies to roll out innovative platforms or re-architect their legacy apps without a comprehensive dashboard view of how IT performs, especially when it comes to understanding how interrelated systems work together — or actively compete against one another — to create value for the business. As IT professionals know, this insight isn’t only for them; they have to sell their ideas to executives while guaranteeing that their initiatives align with the goals of decision-makers.

    Companies are demonstrating that it’s possible and practical to shorten their development timelines and compete in leaner environments — even if their existing hardware systems are somewhat dated. To gain a vantage point for viewing clear avenues to future flexibility, they’re using administrative tools to help them not only see what’s happening in the present, but thoroughly understand the causes behind it.

    (Image credit: Tome a La Rue/flickr)


    Category: best-practices