Chris Jackson

I Don't Often Blog, But When I Do It's Here…

Where the Enterprise and DevOps Meet

I attended the CIO Europe Summit on Tuesday, hosted by CDM Media.  There was a first for me at this event…  A CTO for a major global bank gave a 30 minute talk on DevOps to his peers. (In actual fact he credited Rackspace’s awesome YouTube Video as a great starting point).

I’m sure he’s not the first Enterprise leader to talk about DevOps, but he was the first one I had seen and more importantly – he got it.  I felt this newsworthy enough to report!  He identified the challenges of driving cultural change and a shift in mindset as a key enabler.  He was also incredibly frank with the reality that competitors who are smaller will be moving more quickly than them and the challenge was to keep pace and stay relevant.

This got me thinking about where DevOps will come from in the Enterprise.  As a relatively new, but keen member of the community that is being formed, I’d love to think that speakers like this will arrive at all our usual haunts such as DevOpsDays, Velocity, FOSDEM etc…  I think the reality is that Enterprises have some challenges about community engagement that may stop them from appearing right now.  Simple things like restrictions on contributing to Open Source projects because it shows what they are using to develop applications.  Talking at DevOps events because elements of their operations are proprietary or sensitive.  We cannot expect them to change corporate culture on a dime and externalise a ton of information which was previously confidential.

Enterprise DevOps is going to come from the inside – at events where Chatham House Rules can be applied where they can talk amongst peers who genuinely understand and share the scale of their challenge.  As comfort increases, I’m sure more will publicise fully, but right now, its a world that a lot of the DevOps community members do not walk in by choice and in order to influence these organisations we need to find ways to communicate in channels they respect, value and trust.

The other interesting insight is that the view of DevOps being synonymous with Open Source software is going to be challenged by the Enterprise.  They will want to make sure that investments in tools and technology they already have can help them start this journey.  It will test the assertion that DevOps is really about people, culture and collaboration – if they can use the tools of the Enterprise to deliver the outcomes of the Start-Up we’ll really have proved that DevOps is an approach for all to consider.

The final observation is that the most tenured Enterprise IT leaders will not find DevOps all that uncomfortable.  After all, they remember the time when IT was a small team of 20 where you really could shout over your desk and collaborate with another discipline.  IT has a nice way with repeating trends… Imagine what TOGAF will be doing for internet start-ups in 2030!

I’m excited to see what the Enterprises come up with as thinking around DevOps gains maturity and I’m looking forward to sharing that insight with them and understanding how we can advance the entire movement regardless of size.

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