In March 2017, our team sponsored Cloud Expo Europe. The event, which attracts thousands of technologists, was a great place for us to try and understand the current state of DevOps adoption in companies both large and small.
So, we decided to put together a survey - and bought in a giveaway that would tempt even our own team to complete a short survey: the Lego Millennium Falcon.
Respondents were asked some introductory questions about their organisations’ state of DevOps adoption; and then asked to rank a list of commonly recognised DevOps barriers and benefits. We had over 50 survey completions.
From the answers we collected, we’ve pulled out some particularly noteworthy statistics comparing the behaviour of SMEs and enterprises when it comes to DevOps adoption.
We’ve put together an infographic, which you can see here.
What have we learned about DevOps adoption in 2017?
1. DevOps adoption is still higher in SMEs than the enterprise – but the gap is narrowing
It’s no news that DevOps adoption is growing in the enterprise – Gartner marked 2016 as the year that DevOps would evolve from a niche strategy employed by large cloud providers, to a mainstream strategy employed by 25% of Global 2000 organisations – but it’s interesting to see that from our pool of responders, adoption in the enterprise is now only 20% lower than adoption in smaller organisations.
What’s more – enterprises that haven’t yet gone some way to adopting DevOps can see themselves doing so soon: only 11% of enterprises we spoke to were not currently planning to adopt vs. 18% of SMEs who had no plans to adopt in the future.
Are enterprises more sold on the business benefits of DevOps?
2. It’s still easier to adopt DevOps in SMEs
Of the enterprises we spoke to, none of them had adopted DevOps across their entire organisation – compared to 31% of SMEs who had.
Of course, enterprises are larger than SMEs and so adoption across the organisation is more complicated, but this also suggests that it’s easier for SMEs to do so.
Could this be partly due to the nature of enterprises containing legacy technologies, with typically have much lower change frequency rates, making adopting DevOps practices more difficult?
3. Cultural change is a false barrier to DevOps
The DevOps methodology promotes cultures of adaptability, flexibility, and creativity that allows organisations to maximise their efficiency in rapidly changing environments.
Despite this, our research shows that organisations which haven’t adopted DevOps rank cultural changes as their top three barriers to DevOps (out of six) – whilst organisations that have adopted DevOps list cultural changes as the bottom three barriers to DevOps.
Does the idea of cultural change scare those that hasn’t yet seen the benefits?
4. Enterprises are more concerned about cultural change than SMEs
Interestingly, cultural barriers were also listed as the top DevOps barriers by those that worked for enterprises – but ranked amongst the bottom 50% of barriers by those working for SMEs.
Whilst this ties in with our third statement – more of the organisations that hadn’t adopted DevOps in our sample were also enterprises – it also suggests that the size and legacy nature of the enterprise makes cultural changes more of an upheaval.
For starters, being creative and innovative is much easier for early-starters – those that are still small and flexible enough to take risks. Smaller and newer businesses may also find adopting DevOps processes much easier than enterprises that have long-settled, often hierarchical and market-driven cultures and need to take steps backwards to introduce a DevOps culture.
Are enterprises in general resistant to change, or does this resistance sit at the top?
5. The true DevOps benefits are only understood by those using it
Of our 50+ respondents, 57% had gone some way to adopting DevOps. The top benefit of DevOps for this 57% is better collaboration. Yet, for the 43% that haven’t yet adopted DevOps, the benefit of “better collaboration” was ranked fifth, out of a possible seven.
Is this because those who haven’t yet adopted are unable to understand the true benefits enhanced organisational culture through DevOps?
Many surveys – including the yearly Puppet State of DevOps Report go some way into explaining how cultural processes such as collaboration and blamelessness lead to higher levels of organisational culture, but for this to feature as a top benefit over the more tangible results of increased speed, efficiency of processes and lower costs, perhaps it’s one that you’ve really got to see to believe.
6. SMEs and Enterprises value different DevOps outputs
When we break down the ranking of DevOps benefits into SME and enterprise respondents, we notice a pattern.
Amongst SMEs, the highest rated benefits include the tangible outcomes: increased deployment speed; improved efficiency of processes and improved reliability of deployments. Contrastingly, enterprises ranked these three “tangible” benefits with least importance of the seven benefits listed. Their highest rated benefits: cultural outcomes including increased employee satisfaction, team ability to adapt to new technologies and better collaboration between teams.
Are the benefits to each type of organisation based on what they’re currently competitively lacking?
SMEs and smaller organisations typically need to show strong competitive benefits, such as delivering so much more quickly or reliably, than a time-trusted enterprise to win business. Enterprises can typically also learn a thing or two from the innovative and agile cultures of SMEs that offer a threat to their business.
Could DevOps help businesses minimise the threat of their competitors?
7. Cost savings are no more of a driver for the Enterprise or SME
Cost is a small contributing factor to the adoption of DevOps. Whilst DevOps processes can bring long-term cost-savings, it does require initial investment.
This is reflected through our results. We gave respondents the option to rank cost as either a barrier or a benefit of DevOps, but it was ranked as both a mid-range benefit and barrier by those that completed the survey. Whilst the initial investment can be high, the long-term savings through other means cancel out the initial cost.
And whilst we’d have thought cost might be more of a barrier to the SME than the enterprise – both ranked it equally.
What to know more?
We recently released our yearly whitepaper: The CIO Guide to DevOps. Our research, led by a panel of CIOs from five leading UK organisations – Aviva, MoneySupermarket.com, Save the Children UK, London Borough of Camden, and Copyright Licensing Agency revealed that while progress is being made by UK organisations in the adoption of enterprise DevOps, barriers do remain.
Our whitepaper tackles some of the prominent CIO barriers to DevOps, including ‘toxic doubters’ within the organisation, time pressures, and the shortage of skills and resources – and highlights priorities in relation to digital transformation using DevOps principles, concepts and methodologies.
Who are ECS Digital?
ECS Digital are leaders in Automation and Digital Transformation. We’ve been helping enterprises deliver software and software-related services faster and at lower cost through the adoption of DevOps and Continuous Delivery practices, since 2003.
If you’re thinking of adopting DevOps, but are held back by any of the above barriers, please get in touch. Our years of experience mean we’re well-placed to help you understand how DevOps could benefit your organisation.