Many changes are going on in the IT world; the news talk about how IT is moving to the Cloud, how much strategy leaders are focusing their efforts on Big Data; and with no doubt, one of the top initiatives that shows up when you search for what IT organizations are currently doing, is DevOps—the cultural movement that stresses communication and collaboration among IT Development and IT Operations, among other things.

But what is the rationale behind these DevOps implementations? And moreover, what are the benefits… no, wait, the ECONOMIC benefits that organizations are expecting from DevOps? Certainly they expect benefits from such a program, as they would expect from any other framework adoption or any other kind of initiative, but do they understand the ROI that they will obtain?

One of the most frightening risks that an IT organization can take is implementing something (e.g., a tool, a framework, a model, etc.) just because that’s what the industry is doing—going with the flow—without first assessing, forecasting, and more importantly “knowing how to measure” the actual value they will get from that initiative.

 What’s Behind DevOps

DevOps is being formalized and adopted as a response to a critical pain point most (if not all) IT organizations have: a lack of collaboration between Development and Operation teams. This, as simple and isolated from the rest of the enterprise as it may sound, has a great impact on the entire enterprise, and even on the end customer. (We could list many ways in which this issue impacts organizations, but that probably deserves a whole article.)

Just as the lack of DevOps impacts much more than only two IT departments, the same way its presence can benefit much more than just these two players (Dev and Ops). However, the actual benefits, and especially the economic ones, may be out of sight of the people in charge of the implementation. The result can be Boards of Directors that are uncertain of the economic benefits and ROI that will be achieved with the initiative they are funding, and which IT is betting on.

Why Is It So Important to Know the ROI from DevOps?

In pre-approved initiatives, identifying the ROI from DevOps can exponentially increase the chances for approval of the funds to do the implementation and deployment; and in other cases, including those where the budget has been already approved, it will help both Business and IT executives to understand what the expected benefits of adopting this culture are—this can only help increase the buy-in and commitment of those involved in the initiative!

What should IT executives ask before deciding to start a new initiative such as a DevOps implementation?

Many things could be answered, but all of them would be around this idea: “What is the value of doing DevOps?”

Value is achieved when benefits are delivered to those who expect the benefits (beneficiaries); and someone else must do something that enables each of those benefits (benefactors). There is a tight relationship between these two roles.

How do we measure the achievement of benefits? Through KPIs. And how do we measure performance of benefactors? Through SLAs. So if SLAs are met, most likely KPIs will be met as well! Hence we can better forecast the certainty of a benefit being achieved. It’s basically an Identify-Quantify-Measure model. But of course there are many other variables in the equation that also need to be considered. How do we identify, quantify and measure the ROI for DevOps?

Global Lynx has developed a DevOps ROI™ model, available via the white paper DevOps ROI™ – Economic Justification for a DevOps Program Implementation” which presents a comprehensive economic justification for a DevOps program implementation for a typical company. This can be used as a basis by many enterprises for doing their own DevOps ROI analysis, and can be customized to each enterprise’s particular scenarios.

Are you trying to justify a DevOps Program? Would you like to know what the ROI will be?