For large enterprises, considering a shift to DevOps comes with the stigma of being risky and difficult to manage.
Changing to the status quo of how IT departments interact with other parts of the company can garner some resistance, especially within corporations that have been around for a while and are set in their ways. However, the challenges of the transformation to DevOps are worth it. DevOps has positively affected the efficiency of day-to-day operations, brought real value to the customer, and enhanced company culture.
Here are four success stories of large enterprises that have adopted DevOps:
Because Capital One has only been around for 20 years, it considers itself a startup in an industry where some of the competition has been around for over a century. It is one of the largest digital banks in the world, with millions of accounts, and was recently ranked #1 in Information Week Elite 100 . 'We love DevOps Security and Continuous Delivery. We feel like we have different DNA [because we use DevOps],' said Topo Pal, Director and Engineering Fellow at Capital One, at the DevOps Enterprise Summit in San Francisco earlier this month. 'I was and still am a DevOps evangelist. What changed was that [a few years ago] I was driving some changes, and today I’m learning new things.'
'Winners in banking are going to be the ones that recognize that technology is really going to play a central role in how consumers want to bank in the future,' says Rob Alexander, who has been leading Capital One’s IT department as its CIO since 2007. 'We’ve got to be great at building software.'
For American Airlines, the transformation to DevOps brought two IT teams together after the company acquired US Airways in late 2013. 'DevOps ended up being our answer, and the merger became a catalyst for cultural change at American Airlines, which really allowed DevOps to take hold within our organization,' said Susanna Brown, Managing Director of Operations Technology for American Airlines. While bringing together teams was the foundation of the shift to DevOps, American Airlines set the stage for the transition by coordinating team building activities that united scattered IT teams, which resulted in the improvement of company culture and the creation of new apps.
The 100-year-old car rental company needed to adjust to keep up with the times. Earlier this year, At IBM Interconnect in Las Vegas, John LaFreniere, Vice President of Global IT Architecture, explained why he helped guide the company towards DevOps. 'When an industry evolves as rapidly as ours, the technology gets dated quickly, and it gets to a point where you’ve got to take quantum leap, pick a technology that you believe is going to be an end point, delivers the results you need, and move toward it with passion. The DevOps methodology is all in lock-step of where we want to go.'
On the challenges of transforming the culture of Hertz to adopt DevOps, specifically how different departments interact, LaFreniere offered the following insight. 'It’s a challenge. The business-IT relationship is very traditional. Some of the absolute required aspects, like pulling business people into the mix, has been a bit of an education process. But they see the value in it. They understand that the old way of throwing some requirements over the fence and hoping to get a good result is just not going to work with where we’re going.'
In an interview with Forbes at the 2016 Chef Conf, CIO Dawie Oliver explained how he and his team changed the culture of the 150-year-old bank, the second largest bank in both Australia and New Zealand. Oliver noted that DevOps provide a clear advantage in highly regulated industries, such as banking, as companies that employ DevOps can stay compliant because they can catch and resolve issues quickly. Using this reasoning, Oliver actively educated and engaged stakeholders, so they get on board with the transformation.
Oliver initially built teams that consisted of both tech and non-tech people, and quickly noticed the newly formed groups flourishing, 'Once they came to realize that leadership was serious, and it was a safe environment to try out new behaviors and engagement soared.' Westpac was also awarded the Best ICT Culture Award at the CIO Awards in June of this year. An award that is nominated and awarded based solely on crowdsourced input from employees themselves.
Putting the Pieces of the Puzzle Together
Large enterprises face many risks when undergoing any transformation. Shareholders are interested in stability and growth. Employees are comfortable in their roles, and familiar with their daily tasks. More and more, larger enterprises are transforming to DevOps because they understand that speeding up the process by which applications are developed and released is quickly becoming the new measuring stick of success.
However, committing to the DevOps strategy is only the first step. Understanding how the transformation will affect company culture might be the most important part of the process, especially for large enterprises. Some have succeeded, while others have experienced growing pains. What we know for sure is that DevOps positively affects all aspects of the corporation - if the shift is done with the right things in mind.