What opportunities does DevOps bring for companies building their own custom Apps?

If you have paid attention to the IT marketplace during the past few years, especially in the Apps development arena, you have probably heard stories about unicorns: companies that are able to ship, frictionlessly, new versions of their Apps twice a day with release automation; provide new development and test environments in a matter of hours with cloud orchestration; reduce defect density by up to 50% with test automation, and engage their business departments in features decision-making. These companies are game changers.

However, don’t think only of IT pace-setters like Facebook, Google or LinkedIn.  Each and every industry is joining this trend because market and consumers are dictating that high-quality, responsive and innovative software makes a difference. Think about Germany’s Industry 4.0 initiative and how manufacturing companies are moving from hardware products, controlled by small pieces of firmware, to complex cyber-physical systems enabled by rich software, augmented by APIs that open the door to new human-machine interactions via ‘the Internet of Things’. Think also about Banks where mobile Apps have become a core banking discipline, enabling the organizations to reach out to ‘gen-Y’ consumers in a way that was not even imagined a decade ago. In reality, all companies are facing the challenge of becoming world-class Software Development firms if they want to remain competitive in the market.

The business opportunities that can be obtained through custom Apps development are out there ready to be seized: increase in monetary throughput; quicker access to new revenue streams; reduction in operational expenses and risks; wider enterprise agility and greater simplicity. Within this framework, Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) becomes an industrial value chain – from custom business idea to customer feedback in a matter of weeks. We must conceive the IT department as a “production system” with its own inputs, transformations and outputs that involve the acquisition and consumption of different IT assets (infrastructure, network, storage and security) to deliver a final product: an Application.

Businesses do not care how fast the Applications team can build software during the development stage. Instead, they will measure the entire IT organization in terms of helping to achieve business goals, like better understanding of customer needs, continuous improvement of product portfolio, increase time to market, larger sales pipeline and better customer retention. And there is a lean way to do it.