Creating the Next Generation IT function powered by DevOps

Blog by: Padma Parthasarathy

The boom in e-commerce at the start of the millennium saw the birth of a new class of companies, and the corporate world was soon classified into the new age online firms versus the older firms, which quickly got labelled “legacy”, “brick and mortar”, “old economy”, etc. But the old economy firms proved that they were still very relevant in the digital world, and became brick and click companies.

The evolution of various digital technologies has enabled a vastly enhanced service for their customers, with speed, improved experience and the ability for software to analyze and adapt to their needs. As businesses have evolved to take advantage of these capabilities, their IT functions have had to undergo an enormous transformation. Digital native firms seem to have an ability to rapidly change and enhance their systems and deploy these changes to end-users, without the users even being aware that the software changes are occurring. This ability to maintain speed, stability, performance and agility, and sustaining a high velocity of change is the hallmark of the next generation IT function.

Brick and click firms have challenges in matching this speed to market, with the IT function sometimes becoming the constraint to launching a new service or product. Many of them have experimented with Agile to make their IT organizations more responsive. Several have implemented tools to enable more automation in areas such as integration, testing and release management. Some have gone all the way with DevOps tools to manage the full cycle of development and operation of their systems. All of them have experienced challenges in succeeding with this approach, and in meeting their ultimate goal of time to market.

As we’ve worked with clients, we in the Tech Mahindra consulting team have learned that the right approach is to address three different aspects of transforming the IT function: People, Process and Tools.

  • Train the people in IT, as well as their partner functions in the business, on the principles of Agile and DevOps. Transform the culture and organization to a one-team, product-centric one.
  • Change the IT function processes and governance to align with an Agile / DevOps way of working.
  • Implement the right tools to address the entire cycle from the planning stage through implementation and operations. We have defined what we term a 7C framework and architecture to manage and automate the entire delivery pipeline.

Such transformation does not happen overnight, and is definitely not an easy change. Each organization needs to design the new culture and processes in its own context. Addressing the needs of multi-location teams in different time zones, is one example of such customization. Piloting in one team, or implementing in phases is a good way to start, provided there is a roadmap of what will follow. Planning for change management as part of the transformation is critical.

The rewards are more than worth it, though. A successful transformation:

  • Brings about much more collaboration, not just in the IT function, but between IT and the business
  • Enables IT to respond quickly to business changes, through increased velocity
  • Improves the quality of software deployed
  • Results in much greater efficiency

About Author

Padma Parthasarathy, Senior Vice President and Global Head Consulting, Tech Mahindra

Padma Parthasarathy currently heads the global consulting team at Tech Mahindra – a team of 2,500 people engaged in business & technology consulting, and process advisory & re-engineering services. As a sponsor and mentor for TechM’s DigitAll program, the development and execution of digital transformation strategy and plans, both internally, and for clients, is one of her key focus area. She has more than 25 years of experience in consulting and technology & process outsourcing.