IT Leadership

DevOps is about breaking the silos and building COEs: Saurabh Saxena, Country Director, Micro Focus India

Gartner report, predicting the state of digital transformation in 2019 states that it is a priority for the enterprise segment, and only 33 percent of the enterprises have managed to reach the scaling stage of their digital business. So, the scope is huge. This brings us to the trend of implementing DevOps initiatives within the organisation.
In fact, digitalisation of businesses demands a more agile way of operating the applications and processes to meet the constantly changing market demands. DevOps is what will give this agility and competitive advantage to organisations. According to a Gartner Insight, CIOs while understanding the importance of DevOps for better business agility, are struggling with ways to approach this.
Saurabh Saxena, Country Director, Micro Focus India, talks to DynamicCIO about the importance of DevOps in the current scenario, the way forward for the CIOs vis-à-vis DevOps and how Micro Focus is working with enterprise segment in this. Excerpts:

DynamicCIO  (DCIO): How is DevOps implementation and strategy evolving within the Indian enterprise? Share some insights.

Saurabh Saxena (SS): Today, in an Indian enterprise, the business applications and IT management is handled through a mix of internal IT team and also outsourcing partners. Traditionally, India has been more of an outsourced market. If you look at the segments that are more advanced in technology adoption like Banking and Finance, Telco, ITES – they have outsourced their IT solutions and services requirements. The expectation has been that the outsourced partner will bring in certain levels of quality and DevOps.
But that is changing. What we are seeing now is that since some of these partners are driven by SLAs which means slower pace of project turnaround – most of the enterprise customers are moving towards creating their own COEs (Centres of Excellence) and teams internally.
This is where DevOps adoption comes into play. DevOps is about breaking the silos. Having a CI/CD (Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery) framework in place is possible only if the CIO is driving everything within the enterprise IT. So, we are seeing the trend where many of the customers, who in the past would have gone for outsourcing, are now opting for having their COEs and DevOps team.

DCIO: What does it really mean for a CIO to have a DevOps set up and how is it helping the organisation?

SS: DevOps is actually about going across all teams – so from conceptualising to developing to coding, to testing to releasing to deploying to usage; the feedback and the loop is continuous. Typically, most of these were done by different teams, which led to delays and struggles within the organisation. Earlier, each application or process was being handled by different service providers, and when there was need for business agility it became difficult for the enterprise customer to marry each of these to get a seamless experience. Also the number of tools involved from the service providers can make the process complex.
With a DevOps initiative in place, the CIO is able to integrate various tools and the whole process is then owned by the CoE, and the team can drive for better agility in the business process and outcomes. That’s the trigger which is driving the CIOs to opt for DevOps internally.

DCIO: What should be the business thinking process for CIOs when they are looking at DevOps?

SS: The thinking process for CIOs has changed. It has come a long from the ERP way of thinking. If we recall the earlier scenario there would be business heads for every IT operation – say there would be GM ERP – that would have an organisation within the traditional enterprise – that was forward looking; one that would drive change.
DevOps is a step away from conventional IT. It is dynamic and is in process of constant evolution. DevOps is combination of people process and technology. The biggest hindrance is to break people’s mind-set of them to work together. Each has different cycles, milestones, timelines etc. The key is to have the right organizational change and develop a team culture. This is where you need a leader who can drive this.

DCIO: Can you elaborate on the state of Hybrid IT currently?

SS: Indian customers have evolved but have managed to create a very complex ecosystem. It’s a combination of legacy and completely modern architecture. But all of that needs to be managed. The CIO needs a single pane of glass and not a console of systems to view what’s going on within each set up. The other thing that CIOs today look for is not to waste too many resources in solving problems that may not be the root cause of an issue. They are looking at things like automated correlation and hence look at concepts like automation orchestration, AIOps which is predictive in nature. This is relevant because most customers are moving from proactive to predictive operations. These are the trends we are seeing in Hybrid IT Management.
When an enterprise is looking at Hybrid IT infrastructure, it needs to look at foundational event and performance monitoring set up. This is because the CIO needs faster indications of what’s going to happen and needs to look at automated change, configuration, and compliance management. Today, the CIOs want to actually free up the resources to look at more of the innovations, and get the tools to automate and do everything for themselves. This is the area where we see change in the market.

DCIO: What kinds of solutions are you offering the CIOs now to move into true digital transformation?

SS: We’ve been in this for a long time. We have experience in working across platforms, technologies and servers to understand and manage these kinds of complex environment. What we’ve done is consolidate our solutions into suites. It gives the customer the ability to grow and transform at the speed they want. It gives them the ability to have tools that they can deploy in phases. Otherwise, they can go all out and deploy everything at one go.
So one of the areas we look at include operations bridge – a concept where they are able to consolidate events across the landscape, and correlate the event and then ensure that it is reported as causal and logged as a ticket.
in IT service management – we are bringing in expertise in analytics in IT SMA or IT Service Management Analytics. So, what we bringing in to end users is a Google-like experience. At the same time give intelligent insights to the administrators so that they know the hot topics that can be addressed and solved to reduce tickets. This way we are able to help the helpdesk and the IT service management ecosystem be more intelligent in nature.

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