Value Stream Delivery Platforms: Next-Generation DevOps

Aug 20, 2021

“DevOps Value Stream Delivery Platforms to be mainstream in two to five years”, according to a Gartner report.

Do you need one? 

In the Gartner® Hype Cycle™ for Software Engineering, 2021 report [1], Gartner predicted that DevOps Value Stream Delivery Platforms would become mainstream in 2 to 5 years (from a current market penetration estimated at 5 – 20% of target audience).

The Puppet’s State of DevOps Report 2021 explained that “the most highly evolved organizations in their DevOps models are adopting a platform model that enables self-service for developers and curates the developer experience” (emphasis is ours).

This year, GitLab surveyed 4,300 developers, operations, and security professionals around the world. 12% of respondents mentioned adding a DevOps platform to speed up software delivery. One of the report’s top findings is that in 2021 DevOps teams are “adding the big guns: SCM [Source Control Management], CI/CD [Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery], a DevOps platform, and automated testing” (emphasis is ours).

Gartner coined the term DevOps Value Stream Delivery Platform (DevOps VSDP) and recognized CodeNOW as a Sample Vendor. But what are VSDPs? What concretely makes VSDPs so attractive that everybody is talking about them? How do VSDPs affect the metrics that you care about? Do you need a VSDP? We think you should start incorporating DevOps Value Stream Delivery Platforms into your technology planning decisions.

And for the same reasons you use Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Software as a Service (SaaS), you should use a DevOps Platform as a Service (DevOps PaaS). Read on, we tell you all about it.

 

DevOps Value Stream Delivery Platforms?

If you are not familiar with the term, it’s OK. Oftentimes, Enterprise DevOps professionals simply refer to a DevOps platform. So why the wordiness? Developers often say that “there are two hard things in computer science: cache invalidation, and naming things” (note the emphasis). The DevOps VSDP wording clarifies the platform’s purpose and scope to both internal and external audiences. Let’s break it down word by word.

DevOps is predicated on the idea that unifying people, processes, and technology brings better digital products and services to customers faster. In particular, DevOps strives to move an organization structured in functional silos with sometimes unrelated objectives to one with integrated, customer-centric teams. As companies are going further in their digital transformation, the functions impacted by the customer-centric approach are increasing. It is no longer just Dev and Ops. It is also Q&A and security.

DevOps’ customer-centric approach breaks down organizational silos
DevOps’ customer-centric approach breaks down organizational silos

DevOps adopts a customer-centric approach to value delivery

A value stream is a sequence of actions that add value to customers; delivering a product, service, and experience customers desire. Value streams are important for business leaders because they provide a path to business process optimization. Once a value stream is mapped as a series of steps, those steps can be assessed against the value creation criteria. Non-value-adding steps can be removed. Individual value-adding steps can be the target of further optimization. The sequence of steps itself can also be optimized to drive flow efficiency, a core Lean concept. If you are wondering what can possibly be those non-value-adding steps (does not every task exist for a reason?), you will find here a few steps that add no value to customers nor to the company:

Flow efficiency, a core DevOps VSDP goal, requires identifying non-value-adding steps

Mapping non-value-adding steps drives DevOps flow efficiency

A platform is a product integrating miscellaneous capabilities into a cohesive whole to better support the realization of an overarching goal. That goal is determined by the needs of the specific segment(s) of customers targeted by the platform. For instance, an operating system provides a platform whose capabilities support developing, managing, and running software on a variety of hardware. With unifying APIs abstracting over the underlying hardware, operating systems increase the efficiency of software development. Android developers can thus write mobile applications targeting Samsung, Google, LG, or Motorola from a single source code.

We now have all the pieces. DevOps Value Stream Delivery Platforms are a product that embeds in a cohesive whole the capabilities necessary to create and deliver to customers the value originating from digital products and services ever faster, ever more reliably, in ever more secure ways. By using a single integrated platform over a collection of disparate tools, platform customers can enjoy end-to-end visibility and optimization of the delivery process.

Lead time reduction and increased flow efficiency are key goals. At a high level, good platforms achieve this through standardization and automation. At a lower level, the devil is in the details. Relentlessly iterating on these details is what provides an excellent platform. A lot of work goes into making a good platform, not to mention an excellent one.

DevOps platforms differentiate by their scope and features. Standard DevOps platforms support at the very least the obvious (the big guns, in the words of GitLab): source control management (SCM), continuous integration (CI), continuous delivery (CD) and rollback, automated testing. Good DevOps VSDPs additionally incorporate newer DevOps best practices: cloud-native architectures, Infrastructure as Code (IaC), release orchestration, configuration management, continuous monitoring, distributed tracing, observability, and many more.

Cloud-native architectures leverage the unique characteristics of the cloud to provide the elasticity, resilience, and agility that are necessary to provide a reliable level of quality at any level of demand — the basic expectations of today’s customers. The cloud-native term shelters under its umbrella a large set of technologies and architectural patterns (e.g., containers, microservices, service meshes) that enable scalable, zero-downtime services.

DevOps VSDPs must support DevOps practices

DevOps VSDPs must support DevOps practices

The increased speed of your value stream delivery process translates into products and services reaching the market earlier, customer feedback making its way faster into product features, faster detection and recovery from incidents, increased customer satisfaction. That drives your top line. The DevOps + DevOps VSDP combo also improves your bottom line by decreasing costs through increased efficiency: removing non-value-adding tasks, automating menial tasks, optimizing flow efficiency.

There is another key business benefit though.

DevOps teams focus on core business issues and high-value items

That is what our customers are telling us. There is no point in doing things faster if you are not doing the right thing. With DevOps VSDPs, DevOps teams free time to focus on core business issues that translate into high-value, non-automatable items.

Best DevOps VSDPs free time for teams to drive business value

Best DevOps VSDPs free time for teams to drive business value

DevOps teams in a bank can thus spend more time focusing on the specific challenges of banking (e.g., Know Your Customer, service reliability, security, compliance). That’s time used to design the architecture that addresses those challenges — a VSDP platform like CodeNOW will automate the infrastructure provisioning.

That’s time evaluating multi-cloud vs. private cloud strategies and selecting the best vendors. That’s focusing on security across the organization and processes, building on the security capabilities the platform already provides across systems. That’s honing your cloud governance model and its set of policies (e.g., roles and access rights, risk management, cloud spend budget, incident management).

That’s having a hard look at cloud spend, knowing that the platform supports both scaling up and scaling down. That’s a 30% saving opportunity by some benchmark! That’s time freed to work with other departments on aligning the organization and business processes with customer value.

So it is because of their impact on a company’s operations and bottom line that DevOps Value Stream Delivery Platforms have earned their own category and naming. DevOps VSDPs are the new DevOps best practice spreading to the mainstream. And unless you are Amazon or Microsoft, you should not build your own in-house platform. Why not?

 

We spent 5 years researching flow efficiency and quality.
It is our business. Do yours.

As it turns out, flow efficiency and quality require expertise, attention to detail, a lot of feedback and iterations. We at CodeNOW have been iterating for 5 years on our DevOps platform. What started as an embryonic platform at Komerční Banka is, years later, incorporating out of the box most of the DevOps best practices used by cloud-mature organizations to drive value.

In those five years, we had conversations with small and medium-sized companies who gave up on their promised DevOps business outcomes because of a lack of in-house financial and human resources. Large companies told us that with 800+ developers, 150+ new projects every year, and hundreds of staff leaving and joining teams, they appreciate having a single, unifying platform. That is faster onboarding; fewer handovers, maintenance, and other non-value-adding tasks.

All companies told us that they don’t want to pay the cost of vendor lock-in. They just want to go about doing their core business.

All those conversations have made their way into platform features. Our team has 20 experts that have been relentlessly surveying, experimenting with, and selecting the best open-source technologies across the whole delivery pipeline — so there is no vendor lock-in, not even CodeNOW lock-in. CodeNOW provides its DevOps platform under the Platform as a Service (PaaS) model — so you can benefit from our ongoing research and development, at little incremental cost.

DevOps VSDPs jump-start your DevOps journey
DevOps VSDPs jump-start your DevOps journey
DevOps VSDPs jump-start your DevOps journey

Best DevOps VSDPs free time for teams to drive business value

We accelerate your digital transformation

The Puppet’s State of DevOps Report 2021 reflected the switching attitudes of companies around Enterprise DevOps (emphasis is ours):

This year, for the first time ever, DevOps became serious. It’s somber. It’s grown up. It’s happening. […] Teams everywhere decided to focus on what mattered most, whether that was automation, or testing, or embracing cutting-edge technologies.

The DevOps VSDP category embodies that quest to extract that extra efficiency from your operations, that extra time from your teams to focus on the core business, that extra profit on the bottom line. Gartner is forecasting that “by 2023, 40% of organizations will have switched from multiple point solutions to  DevOps value stream delivery platform to streamline application delivery, versus less than 10% in 2020.”[2]. No doubt, the pandemic played a clear role in accelerating companies’ DevOps journey.

As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella observed last year, “We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months”.

At CodeNOW, we are on a mission to accelerate the digital transformation of all businesses. With our PaaS model, companies large and small, at any stage of their digital transformation, are one subscription away from applying the same DevOps practices and technologies as cloud-mature players. Without the years of R&D. Without the CAPEX spent on in-house platforms. Without the struggle to recruit and retain the skilled staff necessary for a top-of-the-line platform. Without the effort of maintaining and keeping up to date with the latest technologies that drive flow efficiency. And without the vendor lock-in that slows down their digital transformation.

We think that you should have a look at DevOps Value Stream Delivery Platforms. We certainly can show you our platform. How our customers use it to deliver value to their customers. How YOU can use it to drive value for your organization.

DevOps VSDPs are the future? Well. The future is NOW.

1] Gartner, “Hype Cycle for Software Engineering” Abhishek Singh, Mark O’Neill, July 27, 2021.

[2] Gartner, “Market Guide for DevOps Value Stream Delivery Platforms” Manjunath Bhat, Hassan Ennaciri, Chris Saunderson, Daniel Betts, Thomas Murphy, Joachim Herschmann,  September 28, 2020.

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