It’s True: DevOps Boosts Productivity, Profits & Business Value

For those of us who’ve been working, talking and living DevOps for the last few years, it’s obvious DevOps can produce great results for companies that understand and implement these approaches. Now we’ve released our third annual DevOps report, which shows definitively that IT done right is not a mere cost center, but a strategic asset that can deliver better profits and business value.

This year’s DevOps report is based on our December 2013 survey of more than 9,200 people in IT operations, software development and technology management roles in 110 countries — about double the number of respondents to our December 2012 survey, and the largest DevOps survey to date. As well as expanding our reach, we added more questions this year that have helped us refine the definition of IT performance, and link it to performance of the overall organization.

The result: For the first time, we have data that tells us IT performance has a real impact on business performance. High-functioning IT organizations create greater business value for their organizations, as measured by productivity and profitability. Our data for publicly traded companies also revealed that those with high-performing IT departments had higher market capitalizations than companies with lower-performing IT.

The IT practices that make an organization a high-performing one also happen to be those commonly associated with DevOps, a cultural movement that says the delivery of quality software isn’t the responsibility of just developers or IT operations, but of both groups working together from the initial planning stages right through to deployment.

Some of our key findings:

  • IT performance predicts organizational performance. Companies with high-performing IT departments are twice as likely to significantly exceed their targets for productivity, market share and profitability, compared to those with lower-performing IT departments.

  • Job satisfaction is the No. 1 predictor for high organizational performance. And job satisfaction correlates strongly with the tools, processes and culture of DevOps.

  • Organizational culture affects IT performance, and IT performance affects organizational performance. There’s a virtuous cycle at work in the top-performing companies, and it’s strongly linked to the values of DevOps.

As in our prior surveys, Puppet Labs has partnered with Jez Humble, the author of Continuous Delivery and Lean Enterprise and principal at consulting firm ThoughtWorks Studios, and Gene Kim, an award-winning CTO, IT researcher and author of The Visible Ops Handbook and The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win. This year, we added someone new to the survey creation and analysis team: Nicole Forsgren Velasquez, a professor at Utah State University whose expertise is in the impact of IT, knowledge management and user experience.

Our new team developed more and deeper questions, and a more sophisticated methodology for survey design and data analysis. We’ll talk about that in an upcoming blog post, so watch for it.

In the meantime, what are you waiting for? Download the 2014 DevOps Report and get reading!

Nigel Kersten is CIO of Puppet Labs.

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