We recently hosted a CrowdChat where we gathered software delivery industry experts to talk about some of the top themes and trends taking shape in this space. In addition to a few Opsera team members, the esteemed list of industry thought leaders who joined us were:
During the CrowdChat, we covered a range of topics from Value Stream Management (VSM), to Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and Salesforce DevOps, AIOps and GitOps. While the discussion was mainly taking place on the CrowdChat platform, we also had a lively backchannel going on where we captured some additional insights on these topics. Below is a recap of some of the top posts and quotes gathered from the Chat.
As companies become more software-driven, it is critical to understand how business value moves through the software delivery lifecycle (SDLC) - from ideation to development, testing, production and monitoring. VSM has emerged as a practice to accomplish this level of visibility and transparency in a single pane of glass so that all stakeholders can understand the value software delivery teams are delivering.
During the CrowdChat, we asked about the trends that will emerge around VSM this year. Dr. Pallapa made a far-reaching comment that encompasses VSM - “Improving the quality of life of people is going to be a primary driver for all the DevOps trends.”
Pauly, who has years of experience implementing VSM practices in organizations large and small shared two of the top benefits of VSM: “The first part is the visibility. In larger organizations, especially with complex processes that tie together and have codependencies, it's great to be able to see everything. Often one individual doesn't know the entire value stream from ideation to the consumer consuming the product or services. The other valuable thing that's often left out is everyone's like, ‘Oh, this is fantastic. This was great. Let's all go back to our jobs.’ But, at the end of the value stream, you should have clear, defined tasks. Otherwise, you've identified problems with no plan for solutions.”
Many of the hosts agreed that education around VSM, including why it’s needed and the true value it brings, will be key this year.
With the proliferation of SaaS apps in use across development teams and IT organizations, managing and orchestrating all of them is complex, tedious and near impossible to accomplish manually. It’s not just the fact that some of these SaaS apps are complex in and of themselves, but the sheer number of SaaS in use across an organization is head-spinning. Companies are looking for ways to systematically manage their SaaS sprawl and this is being done through SaaS DevOps or Salesforce DevOps.
When asked about trends in SaaS DevOps, Vernon noted:
“One general trend we're seeing is that DevOps has sprung up out of what I call the cloud-native world which is where people build applications from source code, and one of the key definitions of Salesforce DevOps or SaaS DevOps is we don't have source code. We have to have all these other systems to build up around them. I think that people are definitely looking for ways to manage their development activity in a more project-oriented, agile-oriented, or product-oriented way. What's happened in the cloud-native world, which I see as advanced and elegant, we're starting to put these things into Salesforce more and more. And hence, the other SaaS systems need to be managed that way.”
Garima put a stamp on the importance and complexity of managing SaaS: “You wouldn't believe the manual effort all these big high-tech companies are doing just to move the data from one org to another org, from one platform to another platform. It's an army of people sitting there just to maintain these SaaS applications like Informatica, Snowflake, or Salesforce. Even we are upgrading their skillset to learn a different technology, move up the ladder and automate all these manual tasks so that you can learn a different skillset and upgrade yourself also in this process.”
One additional theme that emerged was that low-code and no-code platforms will be the best way to get a grip on SaaS DevOps. Garima called out the trend in her response, “No-code platforms - bring your own DevOps features integrated seamlessly,” as did Dr. Pallapa, “More no-code/ low-code solutions to simplify release automation and reduce complexity.”
Opsera’s no-code DevOps orchestration platform helps manage and automate Salesforce DevOps pipelines - learn more: https://www.opsera.io/platform/salesforce-pipelines.
Perhaps one of the more controversial topics amongst the hosts was AIOps. There is definitely no shortage of “Ops” monikers in the industry today and AIOps particularly strikes a chord for some. AI is starting to infuse its way into every step of the software delivery pipeline - from testing to data analytics - and can provide tangible benefits like increased productivity, better resource allocation and agility. However, some don’t believe AI technology is quite there yet from the intelligence perspective.
John encouraged practitioners to err on the side of caution when it comes to AI or AIOps: “I come from a traditional computer science background. I've done a lot of AI theory and the thing I keep coming back to is it's neither artificial nor intelligent and it usually takes a really long time and comes back with the wrong answers. I think as practitioners and as members of the community we have to be really careful about espousing these terms because I think they set up people for certain expectations.”
Our co-founder and CTO Kumar Chivukula mentioned that if done the right way, “AIOps can offer significant benefits to the enterprises. It can identify use cases and find a solution to solve the use case as opposed to adopting a solution and finding the use cases to leverage AIOps.”
While there was general hesitancy amongst the hosts when it comes to AIOps, or, really AI-anything, there is still general acceptance that this strategy will evolve in a mature, beneficial way.
Several of the CrowdChat hosts mentioned that in their own experience, GitOps is something that has already been happening in IT organizations for years before it was called GitOps. Pauly accurately noted that it is an “evolution of Infrastructure as Code (IaC).” Using Git as a single source of truth for declarative infrastructure and applications, GitOps is the set of principles for managing infrastructure and application configurations. GitOps enables developers to adopt best practices around infrastructure.
Kevin said that “the GitOps term is newer, but this is something that has been in practice for some time. I think the key here is making sure the development team is empowered by the process that is implemented so that they are core participants in the DevOps culture.”
Vishnu Vasudevan, Head of Product at Opsera added that “GitOps will play a huge role especially with cloud migrations in enterprises and SMBs. Opsera's no-code platform offers native integration to GitOps to help customers have their processes laid out in minutes. This gives two benefits, developer empowerment and compliance requirements.”
From the conversation, it seems that GitOps is moving its way out of just being a buzzword into having a real, positive impact on the developer experience. It will be interesting to see how GitOps evolves this year.
We had a great time discussing these trends, themes and challenges with our hosts! If you want more, you can read the full transcript of the CrowdChat here: https://www.crowdchat.net/chat/c3BvdF9vYmpfMzI0Mg==.
Do you agree with what our hosts had to say? What other trends or predictions are in the near future?