Report finds link between self-service platforms and DevOps success

Latest research from Puppet reveals organizations that embrace platform models are more likely to succeed at scaling DevOps.

  • 17 Nov 2020 Posted in
Puppet has released the findings of the 2020 State of DevOps Report. This year, over 2,400 IT, development, and information security professionals took the survey, revealing approaches that can help organizations scale DevOps principles and practices through providing more self-service capabilities and modernizing change management practices. Puppet’s State of DevOps report remains the longest-standing and most widely-referenced DevOps research in the industry after nearly a decade and 35,000 global survey respondents.

Taking DevOps from isolated teams to scaling across an enterprise is a significant challenge for any business. According to the report, establishing a platform approach to software delivery helps organizations standardize and scale DevOps practices across more application development teams. While the platform model is a fairly new approach for enabling application teams, it can help achieve overarching DevOps goals: faster and easier delivery of better-quality, more secure software.

Even more revealing in the report was that self-service capabilities were seen at higher levels of DevOps evolution, when companies’ DevOps practices are more mature. More evolved organizations are almost twice as likely as mid-level organizations to have high usage of internal platforms with self-service capabilities. Linked to findings in Puppet’s 2018 State of DevOps report, the DevOps evolution model consists of five stages of DevOps adoption which show critical practices at each stage and the “how” to get from one stage to the next.

“The underlying structural changes that have occurred to get to the highest level of DevOps evolution have reduced complexity in the technology stack, automated away a lot of toil, and reduced handoffs between teams — all while building a high degree of trust. These are all the necessary components for building an internal platform that can deliver higher value for the organization,” said Alanna Brown, Senior Director of Developer Relations and author of the State of DevOps report. “For organizations that are not ready to make the leap to a self-service platform approach,addressing change management processes within your company can also help eliminate toil and speed up software delivery.”

The report also revealed four common approaches to change management based on approval processes, degree of automation and risk mitigation techniques. The four approaches — operationally mature, engineering-driven, governance focused and ad hoc — result in different levels of effectiveness and different performance outcomes. Orthodox approvals make the change management process less efficient. Firms with high orthodox approvals are nine times more likely to have high levels of inefficiency than firms with low orthodox approvals. Teams that automate and practice advanced risk mitigation believe that their change management process reduces risk and downtime while facilitating the rate of change the business needs.

"This year we were able to gather data in-depth on how change management practices correlate with organizational success. The highlights for me were clear evidence that by using CI and automation as the primary change management mechanism outcomes are better, and effectiveness is higher,” said Michael Stahnke, Vice President, Platform, CircleCI. “Surprisingly, teams that have good outcomes are likely to not be satisfied with their change management process. Likely because they strive for continuous improvement — particularly when compared to organizations practicing a more traditional change management approach."

Additional key findings of the survey, include:

  • 63 percent of the respondents state their company has at least one self-service internal platform, and 60 percent have between two and four platforms.
  • Highly evolved DevOps firms are six times as likely to report high use of internal platforms as firms with a low-level of DevOps maturation.
  • Top challenges in creating an internal platform include: lack of time; lack of standardization; and lack of technical skills within the team.
  • Firms whose employees believe their change management is effective are three times more likely to automate testing and deployment than firms where confidence in change management performance is low.
  • Among respondents with full security integration, 45 percent can remediate critical vulnerabilities within a day. Just 25 percent of those with low security integration can remediate within a day.
For every person who completed the 2020 State of DevOps survey, $1 was donated to the World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund. An additional $45,000, provided by our generous sponsors, was donated to several nonprofits helping our most vulnerable communities cope with the effects of COVID-19, including WHO COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, No Kid Hungry and Doctors Without Borders.
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