2 items tagged "DevOps"

  • Monitor, evaluate and act to improve with DevOps analytics

    Monitor, evaluate and act to improve with DevOps analytics

    Today, most companies can say that they have integrated some form of DevOps collaboration between their development and operations teams. They are breaking down the silos, communicating better, and making the company more efficient as a result. But is that really true? Is your DevOps movement doing what it was set out to do?

    DevOps first came about in 2007-2008 to fix problems in the software industry and bring with it continuous improvement and greater efficiencies. The idea was that to be more successful, development and operations teams that had never worked together before were now expected to share responsibilities, communicate with each other, and be transparent. Thus forming a highly performant DevOps team.  

    For most companies, especially analytics businesses, the word 'efficiency' is what sparks interest. If the main goal is to bring about efficiencies, shouldn’t there be some measurement available to make sure the target is being met? 

    Of course, there should be. And it’s called DevOps analytics.

    DevOps analytics is the analysis of machine data to find insights that can be acted upon. In this case, insights that can be responded to in order to optimize a sequence or a larger process quickly. DevOps data analytics can be set up and measured at any time during your DevOps journey. Of course, the sooner you do it, the sooner you will be able to measure your successes and failures and make necessary adjustments. Every day is critical, especially in a DevOps environment where teams are working faster and more reliably. 

    Getting started

    Start by listing your KPIs. You should have at least one KPI for every part of your product cycle; planning, development, testing, deployment, release, and monitoring. Don’t overlook adding a few KPIs for the active cooperation between different teams (since this is the heart of the DevOps culture). Think in terms of developers working with their operations counterparts to deliver operable applications, or operations specialists monitoring applications delivered by development.  

    Useful KPIs should be obtainable, reviewable, and actionable. With the ‘actionable’ KPI playing a significant role in analytics for DevOps. We’ll circle back to the actionable part later on in this blog. 

    If you’re managing a team, you might want to consider adding usage analytics to your routine. This is an excellent way to see who is looking at their dashboards and using the data to move things forward.  

    With DevOps touching on so many different aspects of the entire company (teams, people, processes, etc.), there are multiple DevOps dashboards that can be created. Most of the metrics you will want to measure will fit within three categories:

    1. The process

    This is the ultimate measurement. With DevOps teams working together to improve the entire service lifecycle, from design through development to production and support, this is where DevOps data analysis will drive efficiency and effectiveness. 

    A good time-to-market dashboard can be used to measure and optimize the product development cycle. Phases of the product that are in delay can be identified quickly, and the overall delivery of the project can be minimized by acting on those insights quickly. 

    Quality assurance dashboards can help i managing the release of the project. Detailed information on the cases in progress and the number of completed and failed cases all contribute to the decisions that need to be made.  Bottom line, if the quality assurance manager decides the release isn’t up to par, there better be data to back it up. 

    It is recommended that you set alerts for key milestones that you want to reach, and get notifications if you are under or over the target. This will give you time to adjust the process and get those sequences back on track before it affects the entire process.

    Set up your dashboard to include milestones, and then monitor the progress daily, even hourly if necessary. Just imagine what your daily scrum meetings will look like when you pull up a visual dashboard showing the team’s progress for build duration or cycle times? Nothing beats the visual impact of a chart to display the hard work of the entire team. And at the end of the sprint, you can pull up the historical data and discuss the output, and what can be improved in the coming period.   

    Once you execute a successful activity, you can use it again and again. With DevOps teams putting more emphasis on releasing software faster and more reliably, reusing good processes can speed up the frequency of releases without diminishing the quality.

    2. The end user

    The holy grail of measurements. If customers are not satisfied with the product or release, then it doesn’t matter how efficient or effective your DevOps process is. Customer success is the base of any business growth, and there are many metrics you can choose from to measure this: NPS (Net Promoter Score), customer satisfaction score, customer effort score, churn rate, expansion revenue, and more.

    Set up a customer service dashboard to track the most crucial customer service metrics for your business. Some examples of the metrics this dashboard shows are customer churn, customer engagement, and customer experience, as well as metrics like help desk tickets, CRM tracker, and call center analytics. It may not be obvious, but all of these items can be indicators that something is off and in need of a quick fix to bring value back to your customers. 

    It will also help to keep track of customer satisfaction by asking your customers straight-up if they would recommend your product/service to a friend or colleague. High or low scores here are a direct reflection of your DevOps processes, and how you deliver quality products to your customers.

    3. The people

    People metrics, or employees, are a great way to measure success. Happy employees tend to have a tremendous cascading effect on the entire company, and the accompanying processes.

    If you’re doing DevOps right, then a majority of your employees will be experiencing modification (almost daily) in the way they are collaborating with other teams. HR teams can use analytics to keep their fingers on the pulse of these specific teams and stay ahead of any issues that may be swerving from the norm. 

    Here are some of the main HR KPIs that can be associated with DevOps: employee turnover rate, productivity, satisfaction, and even employee compensation (check to make sure you’re paying your DevOps people what they’re worth). HR teams can use people analytics to provide insight into organizational performance and engagement.

    Keeping your DevOps people happy will keep the spirit of this movement (cooperation, communications, and transparency) alive and kicking in your company.  

    Make it actionable and gain a competitive edge

    Once you’ve started to measure DevOps KPIs, the next step will be to start implementing changes in the process by becoming predictive with your analytics. Predictive analytics uses AI (Augmented Intelligence) and ML (Machine Learning) to identify other patterns and relationships that might be hidden or harder to realize. This is the actionable part of your KPIs. By using predictive analytics, you can detect certain anomalies, act on them, and gain a real competitive edge.

    Now you’re making the most of your DevOps journey.

    Author: Dana Liberty

    Source: Sisense

  • SAP: how DevOps can improve your business performance

    SAP: how DevOps can improve your business performance

    Software is vital to the success of businesses today. Quite simply, the speed at which you can change your software is the speed at which your business can innovate and compete. If you can’t change as fast as your peers, you’re giving them an opportunity to steal market share and competitive edge. This means there’s enormous pressure on IT teams to deliver applications, infrastructure, and services quicker than ever before.

    However, an accelerated pace of delivery brings significant risk if your existing tools and processes don’t adapt at the same speed. In that case outcomes like unplanned downtime, critical application failure and a higher cost of delivery may be just as likely as greater business agility. For many organizations, agile development and/or DevOps (Development Operations) are a solution to this problem. These new approaches provide the means to automatically deliver change at high speed (potentially thousands of times per day for some applications) and crucially, to do so with less risk than traditional processes.

    So if that’s the case, you might well ask, why isn’t every firm already doing DevOps? Well, aside from the fact that changing the way you operate can be a very sensitive topic when you’re talking about business-critical systems like SAP, in part it’s simply because change is hard. It’s never easy to shift mindsets that have been entrenched over decades, not least because while the ‘downside’ of change is often relatively clear (particularly in terms of cost), the benefits are not always as clear before you begin.

    With that in mind, a solid business case may be essential if you’re going to get the management buy-in and investment you need for the adoption of DevOps for SAP. It might be the difference between adopting a new approach and continuing with the status quo, so here are some key steps that can help you to build a compelling business case and win you the support you need to modernize the way you manage SAP.

    1. It's not all about numbers

    Qualitative descriptions can be useful in framing your proposal in a way that resonates with the stakeholders involved. DevOps is about modernization. It’s about optimization of resources, de-risking of change and increasing efficiency by employing automation and the principles of lean manufacturing. These terms might seem vague and perhaps irrelevant to the task at hand, but using positive, forward-looking language to position your proposal can help to set the right tone and bring people with you from the very start.

    2. Define what you're asking for

    Realistically, adopting DevOps in your SAP environments will require some level of investment. That might be a direct cost, like automation software designed to enable DevOps for SAP is essential for success for example, or like training team members in new ways of working – but it could also be the ‘opportunity cost’ of reallocating people away from their normal daily work. Either way, being clear exactly what you are asking for will avoid difficult situations at a later stage and gives a starting point for any calculation of ROI.

    3. Identify quantifiable outcomes


    The broad principles of DevOps help to set the scene, but they won’t be enough to justify the investment you’re asking for. You need to define some tangible outcomes that you believe are relevant to your business and in particular your SAP landscapes, such as:

    • Reducing the cost of downtime. DevOps for SAP can provide more rigorous processes and improve quality, stability, and risk controls, all of which combine to reduce production downtime by up to 70%. This has significant business impact – IDC estimate that critical application failure costs up to $1 million per hour, while Gartner use $5,600 per minute as a benchmark cost for ‘network downtime’.
    • Delivering business value early. DevOps can decrease development cycles and enable you to deliver solutions faster, which increases revenue and strengthens your competitive edge. If you can estimate the potential value of a change (e.g. a new feature) then you’ll be able to indicate the additional income (or cost saving) that earlier delivery could generate.
    • Eliminating expensive manual effort. DevOps helps to automate the end-to-end development and delivery process. In some cases firms have automated 90% of the SAP development lifecycle cycle. That adds value in numerous ways, such as by reducing errors, increasing volume of change and freeing team members to do additional value-add work.
    • Removing rework and waste. Endless loops of QA and development occur when solutions are deployed incorrectly or incompletely, or the requirements are ambiguous. DevOps shifts quality left and massively increases collaboration between teams to increase development and testing efficiency. Unnecessary Work In Progress may also fall into the category of ‘waste’. Do you know how many transports have been created in your SAP landscape but never deployed?

    4. Add some data

    To really cement your case, supplement these general outcomes with examples of what they might mean for your business. To do so you’ll need to identify appropriate KPIs that contribute to the cost and/or efficiency of your development and delivery processes. This may not be easy. Some data might be available in the tools you use today but much of it probably will be a ‘best estimate’ based on discussion with members of the team. That’s OK. It’s important to remember that this process is not a science. It’s unlikely that anyone is expecting an amazingly precise cost calculation. The goal is to create a credible, understandable view of the outcomes that DevOps could deliver.

    Important metrics might include:

    • What’s the volume and frequency of deployment (how many changes do you deliver, and how often)?
    • What’s your cycle time (how long does it take to deliver a change from requirement to production)?
    • How many cycles of rework does a typical change go through (how many loops from dev to QA to dev?)
    • How long do approvals take on average?
    • What percentage of deployments fail?
    • How many critical production issues occur in a typical month/quarter/year?
    • How quickly can you recover if something goes wrong?

    Once you have this information you can start to quantify the improvement that DevOps may bring, e.g. how many developer hours does a 90% decrease in manual effort actually make available? Ultimately you may even be able to create an estimate of the cost of an ‘average’ change and therefore the overall financial savings that DevOps for SAP can deliver.

    5. Be clear on scope and approach

    It’s important to set expectations effectively regarding the scope of the project you are proposing. If your intention is to start small and evolve as you prove out the method, make sure that’s clear – you’ll be more likely to secure the approval you need. On the other hand if you’re starting with a large project or making a wholesale change in your team’s approach it’s important to make sure the implications are transparent, including short-term risks that may lead to long-term gains. It’s also worth looking beyond SAP. If there are DevOps initiatives in progress in other parts of your organization, you may benefit from aligning your proposal with those programmes to leverage positive sentiment and maybe even budget and resources that are already available.

    Automating your way to success

    Following this outline will help you to put together a story that justifies the adoption of DevOps for SAP in terms of business outcomes rather than purely technical benefits. But remember – the amount of work you need to put into your business case will vary. For example if you’re asking to start a small trial project in a company that has already adopted DevOps, maybe you won’t need all that detailed cost analysis to get management buy-in. Tailor your proposal to the people and circumstances you’re dealing with. Once the business case is approved, you’ll be ready to start implementing the new tools and processes that will help you to successfully bring DevOps into your SAP environments.

    Author: James Roberts

    Source: SAP

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