DevOps is gaining ground in the communications industry as a way to accelerate product development, increase efficiency and become more responsive to changing customer and business needs. The DevOps methodology contrasts with traditional, rigid, project-based development approaches, as it grants service providers’ IT departments with more flexibility to adapt to shifting market focuses.
DevOps offers service providers three major advantages as they take on digital transformation and respond to the market's increased competition.
Service providers often take on lengthy, traditional development cycles when creating a new service or enabling new IT functionality. The thorough, if not excruciating, process delivers a fully tested, carrier-grade, highly available solution. This approach derives from an engineering-driven history that focused on delivering high-quality services without disrupting static and heavily engineered networks or inviting unnecessary risk.
Conversely, DevOps methodologies are designed for the digital age, enabling service providers to focus on creating sound operational offerings that keep pace with the rapid service development and launch times from major internet and cloud companies. This focus on time-to-market means the initial iterations of a service can be developed further utilizing DevOps processes to add enhancements incrementally over time.
Service providers’ traditional approaches to development are often constrained by rigidly defined project scopes, which may cause solutions to be constructed based on the business needs at the time of development, not when the solution is deployed. Furthermore, the strictly siloed structures between service provider development and operations teams create disconnects as projects are handed from one team to another.
DevOps enables changes to be incorporated easily into the development cycle because it presents a path of continuous evolution from concept to completion. The ability to add to a project and incorporate lessons learned from earlier versions enables stronger development capabilities that ensure the solution or service matches current and future needs.
The DevOps process is generally more cost-effective than traditional development models. This is because DevOps enables developers to take responsibility for implementing the new solution or service into production environments. As a result, development and operations responsibilities come together, creating efficiencies and eliminating redundancies.
DevOps processes also help service providers minimize the risk of costly failures. Integrating development with operations creates an environment with enhanced resource utilization and productivity, as employees are more engaged in bringing a solution or service from concept to operations.
Adopting DevOps practices can be an important component of digital transformation, both in terms of accelerating development and encouraging a more digitally focused delivery culture. It is not a silver bullet, but rather an important set of tools for service providers to adopt as they become more innovative and responsive to customer and internal business needs.
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