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July 11, 2018

Insights for Spanning the Divide Between Business And Technology

By IT Revolution

The DevOps Enterprise Summit London 2018 conference may have come and gone, but the wealth of information springing forth from before, during, and immediately after the show continues to flow. Indeed, while the conference itself is an absolute treasure trove of knowledge-sharing and collaboration, one of the most amazing outcomes of DevOps Enterprise is its ability to inspire and facilitate discussions of important industry topics for years to come.

One of the hot topics surrounding the programming this year was focusing on practical advice to bridge the gap between business and technology. Below, we took a brief look back on a collaborative panel discussion with InfoQ, between Helen Beal, DevOpsologist and InfoQ Editor, Jelena Laketić, Head of Asset Management SWAT at UBS, Mark Howell, Head of DevOps at Lloyds Banking Group, and Tom Clark, Head of Common Platform at ITV. The discussion focused on how organizations can span the business and tech divide, and also touched on each panelist’s journey into the world of DevOps, how they view their organizations in the context of technology, and more!

Watch the full Panel discussion

For each of these tech leaders, their position as DevOps transformation practitioners and leaders came from experiences on both sides of the software delivery coin – dev and ops. Tom Clark, in particular, has had great deals of experience in both development and operations. This experience has helped him look at software development from both perspectives and think about how one can unite dev and ops to drive business objectives forward. You can hear more about Tom Clark’s journey here >>>.

“So, my background in my career, I’ve actually flipped back and forth between development, admittedly Perl development. I do consider myself a recovering Perl developer these days,” said Clark. “And then various operations roles as well. And so because of that, when I was a developer and I had that operations background, I was thinking to myself, the code that I write, how can I make it more operable? Trying to think about, kind of, person on the other side when it was still Dev and Ops, how they’d run it, how can they make code more friendly from their side?”

This is one of the fundamental tenets of DevOps – using it as a means to bridge the gap between the development side of the business and the operations side of the business to increase both efficiency and success. Clark has a very healthy perspective on this approach, and having experience in both the dev and the ops side allows him a unique perspective on how these two units can function collaboratively.

See Tom Clark Speak at DOES18 London

Another basic tenet of DevOps is the understanding that, for the strategy to work, your company needs to see itself fundamentally as a “tech company.” In recent history, companies like Target, Alaska Air, and Domino’s Pizza have stood up and described themselves as tech companies. It’s not surprising that in today’s hyper-competitive marketplaces, organizations of all sizes and verticals and turning towards DevOps and software to drive meaningful value for customers and position themselves at a competitive advantage.

The question, then, is how can organizations approach this shift in mentality? Mark Howell described the strategy and viewpoint at Lloyds Banking group, which you can view here >>>.

“So you mention Lloyds Banking Group to anybody in the UK, they’ll think of the black horse. They’ll think of our banking brands,” said Howell. “As a technology company, certainly, I may view it as an engineering company and it’s something we’re working very hard on and re-branding ourselves as. And then the examples you phrased there, Target, Domino’s, Alaska, those guys themselves are very prevalent in the industry known as technology companies, in the way in which they’ve transformed themselves. So we’re very much on a journey to try and get to that position as well.”

For Howell, the journey has centered around giving more power and visibility to their engineering teams. While Lloyd’s has always had great developers, it has not been the central focus of the organization. In this respect, it is truly a cultural shift and a change in mindset.


ATTEND THE DEVOPS ENTERPRISE SUMMIT

?? Las Vegas: October 22-24, 2018


For Jelena Laketić, the challenges presented by being a Swiss bank present an opportunity to leverage technology for success. You can learn how here >>>.

“Well, when you are thinking about regulations, if you double them, this is what you have in Switzerland, because Switzerland is also very, very protective about its whole banking industry,” said Laketić. “So we have additional regulation on top of additional regulation that we need to satisfy. And, you know, in a same way, we had to find a way to actually reshape everything that we had to adapt to this regulation and not just that, to be able to re-adapt if it’s needed. So we have to be always in a constant change and, you know, you can’t do that now with a piece of paper and a pencil. You have to actually use technology to be as fast as possible and even ahead our competitors.”

See Jelena Laketić Speak at DOES18 London

For all IT practitioners there are always two things that are in high-demand – time and budget. Oftentimes these resources come with organization buy-in. Clark talked about his approach to funding and the challenges it can present here >>>.

“We’ll seed some funding in an area, show me some value and help us get more funding,” said Clark. “So we’re trying to turn the dial in terms of how we move more towards that model and take some of the blockers away from us. In terms of all of the process that comes with the funding as well, having the money is one thing, but actually to the point spending it and using it wisely, there’s usually a lot of red tape in the way. So we’re very much looking to streamline that process from a sponsorship, from the business point of view.”

If you want to hear more about how these business and technology leaders from some of the world’s top financial institutions and media organizations, and their approaches to DevOps , you can read Helen Beal’s extensive write-up for InfoQ here >>>.


ATTEND THE DEVOPS ENTERPRISE SUMMIT

?? Las Vegas: October 22-24, 2018


- About The Authors
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IT Revolution

Trusted by technology leaders worldwide. Since publishing The Phoenix Project in 2013, and launching DevOps Enterprise Summit in 2014, we’ve been assembling guidance from industry experts and top practitioners.

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