DevOps has become a powerful set of tools, processes, and cultural norms for improving the deployment and operation of the software. As businesses grow more reliant on software applications, DevOps becomes even more important as it aids in accelerating the delivery of new features to production.
Instead of relying on lengthy manual processes and manual testing stages to release updates, DevOps helps you streamline your release process so you can get new features out faster with higher quality and consistency.
The success of any organization relies on its ability to scale quickly and efficiently react to market demands. The demand for fast-paced change has forced many companies to reevaluate their current operational strategies. In response, organizations are now adopting a new culture for developing software and continuous integration processes that support rapid application development and application delivery cycles.
Let's explore rapid application delivery and how it can have a meaningful impact on your business!
What is Rapid Application Delivery?
Rapid application delivery is the practice of producing, testing, and deploying applications quickly from ideation to implementation – usually within days or even hours, rather than months or even years.
To stay competitive in the market, businesses need to get valuable technology into the market more quickly than their competitors. Your business may be amazing at executing quality deliverables with an amazing user experience. If those products are shipped to the market slowly, your competitors have an edge to capture the market faster if they are delivering products with the same quality and amazing user experience more quickly.
Organizations that are able to rapidly deliver new applications can respond more quickly to market conditions and customer needs, and therefore retain a competitive advantage.
I also believe that the barriers to entry on delivery have gotten far more complex over the past several years. With major incidents like Log4J still looming in the shadows, end users and B2B relationships are requiring more scrutiny over deliverables than they ever have in the past.
Some individuals may look at this increased scrutiny as a speed bump in the release process but I always encourage companies to embrace this increased scrutiny as a marketable way to show their products have a leg up on their competition. The reality of the situation is, it can only be a competitive advantage if it is rolled directly into a rapid application delivery cycle.
Why is Application Delivery Speed Important?
Fast delivery of new applications is critical to keeping up with customer expectations and staying ahead of competitors. In today's business environment, customers want goods and services faster than ever before. Consumers expect to be able to click a button and have their goods delivered to their doorsteps in just a few days.
Rapid application delivery means you can meet these expectations of speed and customer service in a highly competitive environment. If you're able to bring a new product or service to market quickly, you can generate greater revenue and market share than if your offerings are delayed by months or even longer.
Speed is a major factor in customer decision-making. Moreover, if you're behind the curve, you'll most likely be out-competed by other companies that are able to get products or services to market quicker than you. If you're slower than your competitors, you could lose market share and customers, which could damage your brand and profitability.
Benefits of Rapid Delivery
If you're able to deliver apps quickly, you'll see benefits in many areas, including the following:
- Higher Revenue: If you're able to get products or services to market faster, you'll be able to generate more revenue than if your offerings are delayed by months or years.
- Increased Brand Awareness: If you're able to get products or services to market faster, you'll be able to increase brand awareness, which can help you to grow your customer base.
- Improved Customer Engagement: More rapid app delivery means increased customer engagement, which leads to greater customer retention.
- Reduced Costs: By accelerating the software development process and cutting out unnecessary steps, you can reduce costs.
How to Achieve Rapid Application Delivery in the Enterprise
There are many steps you can take to achieve rapid application delivery in your organization, including the following:
- Identify the Business Problem: Before you do anything else, you have to identify the business problem that you're trying to solve. What is the company trying to accomplish? Once you know what business problem you're trying to solve, you can create an application backlog.
- Create an Effective Solution: You must then create an effective solution that will meet the needs of the business problem you're trying to solve. You can achieve this by using a collaborative approach to software development in order to build an application with input from all stakeholders.
- Test the Solution: The next step is to test the solution to ensure that it will solve the business problem in the way that you intended. You can do this by using automated testing and Continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) to maximize quality control and minimize the time to release.
Adopting DevOps and Agile delivery methodologies account for each of the rapid application delivery considerations holistically. These two concepts are wrapped up in a clever industry buzzword: IT Transformation.
IT Transformation is a full assessment of information technology systems with the intent of increasing efficiency, delivery speed to market, stability, and cost to remain competitive in a digital market. IT Transformation is not only for Exchange and document storage servers.
While it might be a tough pill to swallow, taking a step back and fully reassessing delivery and emulating organizations that do it very well is the key to success. Some of these problems are solved problems that are not looking for the next creative solution.
Why is my Application Delivery Slow?
Naturally, over time, businesses will add process after process to application delivery cycles as a result of incidents or outages. While well-intentioned at the time, the organic growth of these processes can lead to a dramatic downturn in both productivity and delivery of valuable products.
- Manual Testing
- Dependency Management Hell
- Custom vs 3rd Party Integrations
- Lack of Visibility
- Overbearing Visibility
- The work environment does not meet the needs of employees
- Poor Communication
- Misaligned Expectations
- Outdated Technology
- Too Much Parallel Work In-Progress
I believe that the first step is always a recognition that there must be a better way to deliver. After that, any changes made to this space are going to vary company by company depending on their appetite for risk.
The Benefits of DevOps in Software Development
DevOps is often used to describe the relationship between software development and operations that have evolved over the last couple of years. The term was first used in The Phoenix Project, a novel about bringing together IT and business leaders to fix a failing production system. It's an abbreviation of "software development" and "operations".
Its main goal is to get better collaboration between IT departments and software development teams. The DevOps movement gained momentum in the 2010s, as organizations looked for ways to improve application deployment and management while meeting growing customer demands.
The software development process includes several stages, like planning, designing, and testing the product. In an Agile project, these stages happen in very short iterations, and organizations work in a continuous flow. DevOps is the way of organizing work at scale and is about breaking down silos between teams and finding ways for them to work more closely together.
Rapid application development is also an early cornerstone in any kind of digital transformation.
Continuous Integration in DevOps
The ability to test new code is a key component for DevOps to work effectively. Continuous integration (CI) is the practice of integrating new code with existing code on a frequent basis. CI triggers the creation of new versions of software after every new code deployment.
Modules are integrated with other modules based on their dependency relationships. By using automated CI tools, developers can continuously test code against a production-like environment while they are responsible for writing code.
Continuous Delivery in DevOps
Organizations that have embraced CI are now looking to accelerate the deployment process further by implementing continuous delivery (CD). CD can be described as the automation of the entire delivery process. It includes automating the build and test process, setting up the necessary infrastructure, and using a deployment tool to deploy new application versions to production.
Continuous Testing in DevOps
Finally, continuous testing is the practice of the entire software development and testing team executing automated tests together. It is achieved through the use of CI tools that allow the team to run tests against the code and infrastructure in a single console.
By adopting CI/CD and embracing a DevOps culture, companies can reduce the time it takes to deliver new features to customers by 50 percent, according to research by CA Technologies.
As businesses grow more reliant on software applications, DevOps becomes even more important as it aids in accelerating the delivery of new features to production. The adoption of DevOps can significantly reduce the time it takes to deliver new features to customers by automating the build, test, and deployment processes. By accelerating the deployment process, DevOps helps organizations meet growing customer demands while reducing risk.