As most enterprises fully transition into remote-first processes, they need to accelerate digital transformation efforts—specifically their DevOps adoption. Over the past year, companies have leveraged DevOps to combat COVID-19, accelerate banking app release cycles to meet customer demands, fight off cyber criminals with strong security protocols, and more. Today, more businesses are considering implementing changes that prioritize development and operations collaboration to utilize agile business strategies. We’ve now reached an inflection point where DevOps shouldn’t just be a focus for technical teams, it should be a main business strategy for executives and board members.
What Is The DevOps Platform Era?
We live in an innovative world powered by software. Every company is becoming a software company, no matter what the industry. People want to bank on their phones, shop online for everything from clothing to groceries and even have virtual doctor visits. To meet customer expectations, many companies began developing their own software, otherwise, they risk being disrupted and made irrelevant.
DevOps adoption is critical to business success, especially since 60% of devs are releasing code 2x faster with DevOps. Through GitLab Inc.’s expertise and leadership in DevOps, we’ve come to the conclusion that there are 4 phases to DevOps adoption, starting from the fruition of DevOps, and we are entering the fourth, and final, stage — The DevOps Platform Era. As all companies evolve to incorporate software across their business landscape, DevOps evolved too. As the DevOps industry expanded, so did the number and complexity of tool-project integrations within an organization, calling for a change in the way organizations adopted DevOps tools.
Let’s break this down:
- Phase 1: Bring Your Own DevOps — where each team would select their own tools. In this early stage, each department or team built or purchased their own tools in isolation, which they optimized for their own objectives without explicitly coordinating with others. The problem with this was when the teams tried to collaborate, they were not familiar with the tools of the other team. This chaotic environment slows down collaboration and knowledge sharing, or stops it altogether.
- Phase 2: Best in Class DevOps — where organizations employed the same specific set of tools across each stage of the DevOps lifecycle. The need for less chaos and more harmony drove organizations to this second phase. This granted teams the ability to collaborate, but because the tools were not connected it was difficult to move through the lifecycle.
- Phase 3: Do it Yourself DevOps — where organizations manually integrated their DevOps point solutions. The problem here was that these tools were not designed to use the same concepts and so they never fit quite right, resulting in an enormous effort to uphold. Similarly, homegrown toolchains create complex workflows that slow down the development process — and overall cycle time. For many organizations, maintaining DIY DevOps toolchains requires significant effort, resulting in higher costs, slower cycle times, and vulnerabilities to be targeted.
- Phase 4: The DevOps Platform Era — a single platform for every team, stage, and project in the DevOps lifecycle. The true potential of DevOps was not yet unlocked in the previous stages, until now. It includes every stage of the DevOps lifecycle, improving businesses’ velocity, efficiency, and security and allowing them to deliver software faster and at a lower cost.
Where We Are Now: The DevOps Platform Era
This platform era is bringing together development, operations and security into a single, unified platform and allows groups to collaboratively plan, build and deploy software. But to reiterate, DevOps shouldn’t just be a focus for technical teams, it should be a main business strategy for management, executives and board members alike. The fourth phase of DevOps is expected to tie together earlier tools into a platform that covers every phase of the DevOps life cycle. There are three issues that will prove to be crucial integrations into the platform era:
- Security: The platform solution that integrates security is the future. A platform solution that does this is the best way to secure your software supply chain end-to-end. The security built into the platform provides optimal protection without sacrificing speed. There hasn’t been a more crucial time to include security in your DevOps journey. In today’s landscape, you need to secure 100% of your applications 100% of the time they get updated to be sure you’re maximizing protection. The only practical way to do that is to integrate security in the platform.
- Machine Learning: Implementing machine learning reduces friction in the development process. It also automates workflows and compresses the DevOps cycle time, so more time is spent innovating and creating.
- Adoption: DevOps platform adoption is accelerating sooner rather than later. According to Gartner, “by 2023, 40% of organizations will have switched from multiple point solutions to DevOps value stream delivery platforms to streamline application delivery, versus less than 10% in 2020.” Get with the curve, or risk falling behind.
Now What? Looking Into The Future
According to Jim Mercer, research director, DevOps and DevSecOps at IDC, “The worldwide DevOps software tools market saw strong double-digit growth in 2020, with worldwide revenue totaling $11.9 billion.” Regardless of what advanced technologies the future brings, companies should recognize that DevOps improves with iteration, and DevOps-related goals and expectations will evolve over time.
Our remote work environment is accelerating the move to the cloud for many organizations. As a result, DevOps is increasingly being moved out of internal IT shops, into the cloud, and carried out by team members across the globe. While the world continues to adjust to this new normal, incorporating DevOps into your business is essential for aligned collaboration, agility, development speed and communication. While undergoing significant changes to implement DevOps strategies may seem intimidating, it’s the most efficient way to continue streamlined participation across your business, and is worth the effort.
Staying ahead of the competition is the key to success, and that doesn’t happen without a DevOps adoption into businesses. We are experiencing immense transformations in the digital age, which reshapes entire markets overnight. After working our way through the four phases of DevOps, the market is ready for the DevOps Platform Era, which is key in evolving how we operate entities to get the best business outcomes. There is no room to transcend goals and aspirations if there are barriers between your company and the public, and adapting to a DevOps-centered future helps to remedy that.
 Gartner, Market Guide for DevOps Value Stream Delivery Platforms, Manjunath Bhat, Hassan Ennaciri, Chris Saunderson, Daniel Betts, Thomas Murphy, Joachim Herschmann, 28 September 2020. GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.
 IDC, Worldwide DevOps Software Tools Forecast, 2020–2024, Doc # US45188520, July 2020.