Want To Navigate IT Transformation? Get Yourself To A DevOpsDays.

July 20, 2015 Coté

DevOpsDays Amsterdam - Thursday June 25th

I’ve been watching the DevOpsDays events grow over the years and this year I feel like they’ve found even more of a mainstream audience than in previous years. I find they’ve found even more of a mainstream audience than in past years, and that’s being reflected in the events. Most of the DevOpsDays I’ve been to this year number around 300 attendees, and in Minneapolis I heard that about 70% of the attendees were new.

Pivotal at DevOpsDays

Pivotal has been sponsoring and speaking at many DevOpsDays events this year, with more coming up. Other than speaking and being gifted the occasional bathrobe, the thing I like most is talking with new people who’re interested in DevOps. I find the questions people ask at our table as fascinating as the conference talks: people of course have questions about what Pivotal does, but the most common questions are around getting started with changing how IT is done at their company. I think this reflects an industry-wide curiosity and growing need, and is especially punctuated at a DevOpsDays, of course.

From Austin, to Amsterdam, to Minneapolis, these conversations follow a similar pattern:

  1. The way we do IT is too slow and cumbersome, no one is happy with the results.
  2. We know there’s a better way, maybe this DevOps thing?
  3. How do we start?

While it’s popular to quip things like “we’re too busy firefighting to put out The Fire,” I also get the sense that inertia is almost an equally big problem. This comes up especially with people in large companies and government departments. What’s encouraging here, however, is what we see reflected in the market through the lens of our customers.

Many Pivotal customers have overcome this type of inertia by realizing they need to get ahead of disruption in their industry, like Allstate and Humana to name few in a typically inertia-encumbered industry, insurance. To further use the Cloud Foundry ecosystem as a proxy, there’s all sorts of encouraging movements like JPMC and other banks joining the Cloud Foundry Foundation.

Still, there’s room to grow, as represented by numerous surveys. To pick one that focuses on becoming more agile: a recent Institute for the Future study of 3,600 business leaders showed that majority agreed that they need to continually pursue new business opportunities and use agile methods to be successful, fewer than 25% felt that their company was innovating in agile ways.

I feel like the most helpful thing those of us in the IT vendor and thought-technology business can do nowadays is help companies understand how to move forward and as people like to say, “transform.”

Growing DevOps

The topic of the talks I’ve been giving this year at DevOpsDays fit into that. I’ve been giving an overview of how DevOps related practices and culture are spreading into the mainstream, the type of work I’d do if I were still an analyst. But I’ve also been suggesting some ways for the DevOps community to help out mainstream adopters, those companies above who want to transform but are self-stymieing starting. To me, jumping the innovation chasm is the challenge for DevOps at the moment.

You can see a recording of the most recent talk, in Amsterdam, below:

(And, here’s the slides if you like that kind of thing.)

I think the task of going mainstream will be easier than it seems, it just requires new types of conversations. These are the IT transformation discussions we have every day with folks who are interested in becoming cloud native enterprises—as is well understood, you don’t just start doing and getting the benefits of a cloud native approach over night. IT change that gives you new innovation benefits, rather than just optimization cost savings, is always work. (As a side note, Colleen Velo’s presentation at DevOpsDays Minneapolis this year was a comprehensive “requirements review” of what many companies face when thinking about moving to DevOps.)

It’s DevOps All The Way Down

Andrew gave a good talk as well, last week, in Minneapolis. One day, it’d be fun to see what Andrew could do with a 2 hour talk. People like brevity nowadays for some inscrutable reason, which tends to limit the types of talks you see. Somehow, he manages to cram a shelf of thought into 30 and 60 minute chunks despite that stunted view of presentation runtime.

Here’s his most recent one from Minneapolis:

The topics of Andrews talks nowadays are often a frog boiling approach to making people realize not only that they’re doing it wrong, but that the obvious, almost seamless next step is start doing it right. Which is to say, if you find yourself chuckling and nodding along, you’re probably ready for some good old fashioned IT transformation…and it’s going to be easier than it seems.

Upcoming

We’ll be at a few more DevOpsDays through out the year:

It’d be great to see you there! We always give out a ton of free Matt Stine books and those little Nerf-style finger rockets that people go nuts for. You know, and we can talk about computers too if you’re into that.

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