Ready, Fire, Aim? Establishing Business Alignment to Maximize DevOps Benefits

DevOps is helping boost development speed in many organizations. The question that remains is how or whether DevOps benefits translate to the rest of the business. BizOps is a critical complement to DevOps because it helps teams ensure DevOps deliverables are aligned with business outcomes. Read on to learn more about why DevOps on its own doesn’t cut it anymore, and how BizOps can help.

Introduction: The Fate of Development, CEOs, and the Business Now Interlock

Like the rest of us, enterprise CEOs are navigating uncharted terrain. Current obstacles and opportunities, threats and advantages—and the pace with which they’ve emerged—are all unprecedented. Business landscapes are entirely different than they were a short time ago. While a lot is in flux and uncertain, one thing that’s clear is that trusting the same models and approaches from prior years is not a winning strategy.

Whether it’s due to radically changing workforce, competitive, or customer dynamics, enterprises will need to pivot and do so with unprecedented speed. How well organizations make this pivot will often come down to software. CEOs seem to be crystal clear that their fates and that of the business are ultimately reliant upon the capabilities and outputs that come from application development teams.

In this regard, a Forrester survey of more than 300 executives from large enterprises underscored some unanimity.1 For example, “Improving insights into customers and markets” and “Aligning software delivery with business goals” were the two top-rated competencies across the board, cited as critical by 91% and 86% of respondents respectively.

Those top-level objectives were broadly acknowledged. However, when you look at the topic of speeding software delivery to meet business requirements, a dichotomy emerges. CEOs viewed this as way more important, 2.3 times more so, than software leaders. If software leaders aren’t seeing the same sense of urgency as the CEO, that’s a problem.

There was also a big disconnect in another area: Obstacles. When it comes to barriers that are inhibiting software delivery success, a vast majority of software leaders, 85%, pointed to a lack of executive support. Amazingly, only 5% of CEOs believed that to be the case.

DevOps Benefits: Part of the Solution, or Part of the Problem?

When you look at the disconnect above, it can seem like the solution is simple. CEOs view the speed of software delivery as critical. DevOps comes in to save the day, and the enterprise lives happily ever after, right? Not so much.

DevOps is a mature, but rapidly evolving discipline. DevOps benefits are well documented and understood. One of its hallmarks is the ability to boost delivery speed. However, if you’re lacking direction, what’s the point? The same Forrester survey reveals that, while there was general consensus around aligning software delivery with business goals, very few are actually doing so.2 For example:

  • Only 38% are correlating software initiatives to their impact on revenue.
  • A mere 37% are attempting to measure ROI for software development.
  • Less than half, 45%, are measuring the impact on customer experience.

Without business alignment, resources and investments may be dedicated to efforts that don’t support key objectives. Therefore, the gains in speed that DevOps provides may not be translating to business benefits. On the contrary, the boost in speed can increase waste and inefficiency.

How BizOps Can Help

Eighty-six percent of respondents said it’s important to align software delivery practices with the overall objectives of the business. While it’s one thing to understand that conceptually, it’s another to start running the business that way.

It is for these reasons that the adoption of BizOps approaches has emerged as such a critical imperative, and such a vital complement to DevOps. BizOps is a framework for data-driven decision making. This approach helps put business outcomes at the center of everything, from value management to development to IT operations. Through BizOps, teams can correlate IT outputs with business results, such as conversion rates, sales per hour, user retention rates, and so on.

This approach enables DevOps teams to build on established concepts like continuous feedback loops, and to expand them to incorporate strategic planning and enterprise business context. Ultimately, teams can establish continuous measurement of the business value being delivered. Teams can also establish continuous incorporation of strategy, factoring in such elements as business priorities, dependencies, models, value, and more.

Conclusion

Through BizOps approaches, DevOps teams can help maximize synergy and minimize redundancy. By successfully employing BizOps, teams can build a new level of transparency, traction, and trust that drives collaboration across departments. Through BizOps, your teams can apply optimized decision making and continuous improvement to achieving vital business outcomes, such as boosting business growth, enhancing the customer experience, and increasing profitability.

 

1. A Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper Commissioned By Broadcom, “To Drive Great Business Results With Software, Close The CEO-CIO Gap,” December 2019, URL: https://www.broadcom.com/industry-analyst-report/forrester-ceo-cio-tlp

2. A Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper Commissioned By Broadcom, “To Drive Great Business Results With Software, Close The CEO-CIO Gap,” December 2019, URL/link: https://www.broadcom.com/industry-analyst-report/forrester-ceo-cio-tlp