DevOps across the pond: A DOES16 London reprise

I just wrapped up two amazing days of hearing about all the latest and greatest developments in the DevOps world at the DevOps Enterprise Summit (#DOES16) in London. Around 500 plus people attended and I was fortunate to speak and share ideas with many like-minded technology leaders.

As far as how DevOps compares across the pond, I found there really aren’t many differences between organisations in the US and Europe. We all share similar challenges and have experienced a number of comparable revelations. But a few themes seemed to permeate the discussions and presentations at the conference:

It’s all about the people

From Jason Cox at Disney to Andrew Hawkins at LV, and Darren Hague at SAP, I heard the same message repeated: people are the most important thing that matters to achieving successful DevOps. Having the right tools is critical to DevOps success, as is implementing the right processes and purpose-building the infrastructure. But, above all, hands down, it’s the people that really make the difference.

DevOps is about bringing together all the people you need to creatively develop the ways your organisation delivers business value as effectively as possible, and empowering them to learn, adapt, and iterate quickly as quickly as possible to achieve their goals. These principles rang through loud and clear by virtually everyone here at the London event.

FinServ is ahead of the curve

There were a number of really great sessions from the Financial Services (FinServ) community, including banks, insurance companies, and other financial services cohorts. Financial services organisations face great challenges in meeting the new standards set by the unicorns. Many did not start online, and they’re busy modernising back-end processes and systems to support today’s digital age – one of the most challenging obstacles in today’s modern software delivery world.

In addition to legacy systems and code, they face concerns around mitigating risk for better security, complying with highly regulated environments, and meeting compliance standards, all of which make software innovation a complex and potentially slow-moving process. Or so you would think. But, talks from Ron van Kemenade, CIO of ING Bank, Margo Cronin of Zurich Insurance, and Jonathan Smart of Barclays sure told a different story about the progress their organisations are making in software delivery because of methodologies like DevOps.

Over the last few years, the FinServ community has not only caught up, but is now a leader of change when it comes to speeding up innovation and modernising software delivery practices. Executives in this sector see DevOps as a proven way to roll out value to the market faster, more efficiently, and in a more predictable and safe manner. I heard once and again, from speakers and our customers alike, that DevOps also enables FinServ Dev and IT teams to increase the cadence and quality of application releases while also addressing the stringent business areas of governance, risk, security, and compliance strategies.

Scale of delivery is getting massive

The companies presenting at DOES16 are large, mature 'horses' that have instituted DevOps practices within teams, but are now in the process of scaling these successful implementations across their enterprises. That’s a hefty feat, especially considering how many customers each of these Global 200 brands touch on a daily basis. This is where the tools come into play.

Organisations need ways to deploy thousands, if not millions of applications simultaneously. The ability to support more advanced deployment strategies is now paramount to success as today’s end users of technology products expect real-time, always-on access to high-quality applications. If companies want to be leaders in their respective marketplaces, it means they need to release feature-rich software updates more often than their competition in order to maintain their edge. Over the past two days, nearly every speaker discussed the value proposition of automation and how, in one way or another, it’s a cornerstone to delivering software innovation faster.

These were just some of the major themes discussed in London at DOES16 this year. We also had the pleasure of spending time with many of the DevOps Luminaries at the event, including Patrick Debois, Rob England, Gene Kim and more. The community is strong and we’re all here to help support each other and learn how to amplify the best practices in the industry.

In closing, I hope to see everyone back at DOES16 San Francisco later this November. I have no doubt the stories being shared there will be equally engaging and address all the topics that people within large enterprises care about most. I can’t wait to hear what’s next.

Steve Brodie, CEO at Electric Cloud