Recently, BMC was very honored to host a webinar with renowned DevOps and customer-centricity expert, Gene Kim. As we’ve mentioned in previous entries in this series (you can read about Gene’s take on the scope of DevOps, its mainframe-specific attributes, and its role in the Jobs-as-Code approach for developers, engineers, and site reliability engineers, or SREs), Gene has clarified and expanded the definition of DevOps for thousands of IT and business professionals, and his deeply insightful books, The DevOps Handbook, The Phoenix Project, and The Unicorn Project, have helped ground DevOps principles in concrete and relatable teamwork scenarios for readers around the world.
Gene’s definition of DevOps, which can be applied to any business, is the architectural practices, the technical practices, and the cultural norms that enable us to increase our ability to deliver applications and services quickly and safely, thereby allowing us to deliver customer value without sacrificing security, reliability, and stability.
As Gene explained, “We create organizations, systems, [and] cultures, that either fully unleash the creative problem-solving potential of everyone in the organization, or we create systems that constrain, or even extinguish entirely the creativity and problem-solving potential of each organization. And so the hallmark of the second one, where people can’t do what they need to do…I think it actually led to DevOps.” Gene further summarized the business goal of DevOps in the words of one of his chief collaborators, Jon Smart, “Get better value, sooner, safer, and happier.”
In a nutshell, DevOps allows people to do what they need to do—and in today’s business, that freedom is afforded by robust and capable IT service management (ITSM) and IT operations management (ITOM) capabilities. Adding artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML)-enabled ServiceOps capabilities to the mix unifies operational metrics, service request and change management information, and third-party data with dynamic service models, allowing faster problem resolution and better support for DevOps teams. There are key features and outcomes to keep in mind when considering these technologies.
To start, especially for those working in HR, IT, and Facilities job roles but extending to service delivery owners in any function, the ability to manage, automate, and scale service delivery for peak efficiency is crucial to that mission. A few examples of key differentiators for service delivery solutions include:
- Intelligent self-service that gives employees the ability to be self-sufficient and productive
- Shared services that help ensure faster, more accurate problem resolution based on persona and business rules
- Automated artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) and robotic process automation (RPA) capabilities that extend use cases and task bundles organization-wide for reduced resolution time and low-touch/no-touch solutions
- Advanced service reporting and service level agreement (SLA) monitoring that inform integrated, customizable dashboards so insights and performance are easily evaluated and reported
- Agents and end users receiving fast, accurate responses with real-time translation in their channel of choice
BMC’s own DevOps guru, Solutions Director Tony Anter, hosted the webinar, and discussed with Gene the importance of surrounding yourself with knowledge, shared information, and respect for expertise. The concept couldn’t be more fundamental to DevOps, and to a successful knowledge management and digital workplace strategy, where expanding self-service access to ready, verifiable resources contributes to an agile, innovative workforce. In fact, a recent study by Forrester indicates that businesses that are taking a more comprehensive enterprise service management (ESM) approach to expanding service thinking and the service catalog into domains outside of IT are experiencing noticeable gains in speed, productivity, and efficiency. Some key components of a successful approach include:
- Accurate, consistent knowledge with AI-powered analytics and search, built-in translation capabilities, and cross-channel support that gives easy access to proven answers
- A unified service catalog that eliminates catalog confusion and streamlines requests
- A consumer-like experience in a one-stop shop that helps employees get what they need, quickly
- Intelligent chatbots with cognitive search capabilities that can help anticipate users’ needs and save human time and effort
Gene’s conversation with Tony also took a fascinating look at the expansion of DevOps principles and patterns in large, complex organizations, and how to make in-roads for a culture shift in accepting DevOps as a game-changing structure for innovation. In its essence, approaching DevOps from a mind-set of operational problem-solving and efficiency can help shine a light on its benefits—and drill down on those as collaborative exercises not specific to any working group. Similarly, identifying use cases that appeal to all facets of operational improvements, including security, can be very powerful. In particular:
- Built-in artificial intelligence for IT operations (AIOps) and service management (AISM) capabilities help reduce risk, manage governance, and automate change
- Service-centric monitoring, advanced event management, and AI/ML-based root cause isolation reduce mean time to repair (MTTR) and improve agility
- Dynamic service modeling and mapping for all application and infrastructure dependencies can enable more effective change management, an optimal customer experience, and regulatory compliance
- A jobs-as-code approach to the continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) toolchain makes it easier to version, test, and maintain workflows so teams can deliver better apps, faster and with less rework
Expanding the potential of DevOps
Enterprise DevOps is a tech tenet of the Autonomous Digital Enterprise framework, a vision for successful organizations that adapt to ongoing change by increasing their investment in digital transformation and evolving to new business models that equip them for a future of growth through actionable insights, business agility, and customer centricity. That forward-looking, optimistic view is counter-balanced by its opposite. As Gene says, “Technical debt and legacy systems slow down valuable development work.”
At BMC, we can help customers deliver on the innovation capabilities of the DevOps discipline and the promise of consistency and speed afforded by Enterprise DevOps. BMC Helix, our award-winning ITSM/ITOM portfolio, leverages ServiceOps and AIOps to enable faster, more accurate, and more efficient ways of delivering service innovations. It also identifies patterns in monitoring and capacity, data across IT operations (ITOps), and DevOps environments for real-time, enterprise-wide insights.
And with the SaaS-based application workflow orchestration capabilities of BMC Helix Control-M, developers, ITOps, and business users get a simplified, end-to-end view of critical services in production, further streamlining processes and ensuring more reliable deliverables.
Are you unleashing the full potential of your organization and its people? Learn more about Gene Kim’s point of view on DevOps and its role as an agent of change for all businesses today, as well as his plans for the future and his advice for practitioners of any age or experience level.
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