When applications are the heart of your business, timing is everything. Users demand more sophisticated digital tools and expect you to deliver them faster than ever.
But to get your apps to market in a timeframe that meets these demands, your IT team has to evolve. In this cloud-paced world, trying to manually manage all of the different tools, channels, and environments in your development process makes it more likely that more agile competitors will beat you to market.
That’s why 40% of leaders believe IT automation will have the biggest impact on their operations in the coming months and years. Automation promises to help you deliver more reliable software faster, and with fewer errors. But it’s not enough to automate for the sake of automation.
The key to accelerating time to market is using automation to unify all software tools into a single platform—and Azure DevOps offers just that.
Studies show that 90% of IT teams that have embraced DevOps report positive results. DevOps adoption continues to grow because it may just be the biggest IT advancement we’ve seen since the cloud. If you haven’t already, now is the time to look and see if Azure DevOps could be that way to innovate application design and development quicker, more reliably and securely.
3 Reasons Azure DevOps Is King of App Time to Market
Azure DevOps is the next generation of agile software development. While the shift from waterfall to agile development helped bridge the gap between customer demands and development, Azure DevOps focuses on bringing efficiency and accuracy to communications, testing and software rollout between developers and operations.
When the dev team and ops teams are aligned and automated under a single platform, you’ll be able to reduce the time needed to build, test, and deploy software features. The acceleration of time to market depends on three main Azure DevOps components:
- Continuous Integration (CI): Developers integrate code into shared repositories at set intervals throughout the day. Each time, the code is automatically verified so your team can identify and resolve bugs quickly. Rather than wasting time trying to figure out which line of code broke the build, Azure DevOps gives you the CI tools necessary to focus more on innovation and less on fixing bugs.
- Continuous Delivery: These practices increase the time to market by delivering every code change to a production environment, using automated testing to ensure reliability. All changes wait in a staging environment until you manually choose to deploy. And with Azure DevOps, deployment from this stage only requires a single click.
- Continuous Deployment: This is a step beyond continuous delivery in terms of automation. Instead of delivering code changes to a staging environment, every change that passes your automated tests is automatically deployed to production. This level of automation minimizes time to market and helps you gain competitive advantages with your applications.
With Infrastructure as Code (IAC), continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment tools included in Azure DevOps, you can balance speed with the need for version control and rigorous testing. Instead of wasting resources searching for bugs all at once in staging, you can continuously verify code and give your developers more freedom to maximize usability and customer satisfaction.
Accelerating New Feature-to-Market Release (A Real-World Example)
Moving to the cloud is a good first step in increasing efficiency, increasing application availability, and improving cost efficiency. But by adopting a development strategy combined with Azure DevOps, you can go a step further to bring more timely and engaging applications to your customer base.
That’s exactly what a large, well-known, nation-wide insurance company accomplished. Over the last five years, customers have engaged more frequently with IT to press for more innovative digital solutions. This organization wanted faster, easier access to data combined with more innovative methods (such as apps) to access that information, and the IT team knew they hadn’t been meeting those demands efficiently.
Today, Azure DevOps is helping mid-market and enterprise businesses make transactions and customer service faster and easier—but the road to get there won’t necessarily be easy.
In this story, the IT team of this large insurance organization believed that Microsoft was maturing in the cloud space and decided to take advantage of its Azure platform offering, rather than trying to purchase expensive internal hardware and infrastructure to support growing customer demands. They wanted to tie together multiple tools into a single platform and to stop relying on legacy infrastructure to support innovative development goals. But they also acknowledged that Azure DevOps was a sophisticated solution that required a solid strategy to define the desired outcomes before taking on the task of implementation.
Working with an advanced gold-tier Microsoft partner like Tridius is key for helping IT teams to review existing inefficiencies, possible software rewrites, compliance procedures, and help in creating an environment streamlined for automation.
The automation found in Azure DevOps helps IT teams create an on-ramp to the cloud that increased productivity thanks to:
- Software development within the Azure platform, enabling incremental bug testing and real-time correction.
- Faster provisioning of development resources, including anything from reallocating engineers to new concept modeling, standing up infrastructure, and more. All of it can happen immediately within Azure DevOps, allowing the team to test and refine ideas faster.
- Testing, troubleshooting, and monitoring all occurring in a live environment. Now, development teams have real-time data to support their processes and applications can go to market without downtime or bugs rather than going through multiple iterations of a feature rollout.
- Fewer overall interruptions in the development process that come from a business continuity architecture that delivers unprecedented stability and peace of mind.
What Can You Get from Azure DevOps?
It’s worth repeating that there’s no plug-and-play when it comes to automation or cloud-based DevOps at large. However, there’s no denying that the right DevOps strategy can improve productivity for any IT team—no matter the size, industry, or level of expertise.
No matter your unique needs, Azure DevOps delivers three critical advantages over other development tools and strategies:
- Reliability and Repeatability: IaC helps you automate the provisioning and configuration of development environments by capturing definitions as declarative code like JSON and YAML. With that declarative code, you can reliably provision identical environments using DevOps tools like Azure Resource Manager, Terraform, or Ansible.
- Actionable Insights: Azure Log Analytics and Azure Monitor keep track of infrastructure health, integrating with existing dashboards like Grafana and Kibana. Azure Application Insights then takes that data and provides actionable insights through application performance management and instant analytics.
- Compliance and Security: DevOps tools such as Chef Automate, and Azure Policy allow you to manage provisioned infrastructure and applications to maintain regulatory compliance. When combined with services like Azure Security Center, you can limit your exposure to attacks and remediate vulnerabilities that threaten compliance.
If your current dev ops solution is not working for your or if you don’t have a dev ops solution and would like to learn how Azure DevOps can help your team produce better software, we’d love to give you a demo. Give us a call at 800-674-2977 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for reading my blog and all the best to you!
Matt is President & CEO of Tridius.
He’s head of Digital Transformation, People First Strategy, our Advanced Cloud Solutions Powered by Microsoft Azure.
Matthew has been in the information technology industry for 25 + years and served numerous leadership capacities including CEO. Previously, Matthew was a member of the original launch team for Fandango.com and functioned as program manager navigating multiple stakeholder interests including investors, theaters chains, content suppliers and the software development teams.
Matthew also served as the CIO for Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst where he was responsible for IT strategy, enterprise applications and building a global service delivery team.
During challenging transitional periods for companies, Matthew has stepped in on an interim basis to fill the role of CIO, CTO, and CEO for technology, medical, financial and commercial real estate companies.