DevOps is not "just another Gartner gimmick", according to Specsavers global CIO Phil Pavitt who admitted that he was sceptical about the approach at first.
DevOps is the integration of developers who build and test IT services and the teams responsible for deploying and maintaining IT operations.
Pavitt told V3 that he was "suspicious" when he first heard the term. "Was there any really heavy DevOps use? There wasn't. I mean it was just the next generation of agile, because companies who were selling stuff had run out of things to sell and were repackaging the same products," he said.
But Pavitt admitted that he now sees some merit in the approach. "Is it a silver bullet? Absolutely not. Does it improve margin? Marginally. We're dramatically increasing the amount of agile delivery that we do. We have organisations that have been training our staff and we have four or five projects which are agile that we have just commissioned and they'll be ready very soon," he explained.
Specsavers has also put together small, agile project stand-up spaces and 'Kanban boards', all of which are contributing to the company becoming increasingly agile, according to Pavitt.
"I think in one or two cases we may have what people would call DevOps, but I don't think we do [just] because it's called DevOps, but because it makes some sense there," he said.
"I think it's a bit of a fashion statement. I haven't seen many organisations taking it so seriously as if it is the only way to go, but I certainly see some cases where it can enhance how agile teams can deliver."
Pavitt is not the only IT leader to have been sceptical about DevOps. A CA Technologies poll in 2013 found that 45 per cent of respondents were not aware of DevOps, while 17 per cent thought it was all hype. Some 23 per cent of IT decision-makers claimed in 2014 that they were not familiar with the term.
But a 2015 State of DevOps Report by Vanson Bourne for data-as-a-service company Delphix found that DevOps was becoming increasingly prevalent in UK organisations. Around 75 per cent have introduced dedicated budgets and support teams for DevOps, and 35 per cent spend £1m or more on DevOps annually.
However, Puppet Labs founder and CEO Luke Kanies said during a live Computing webcast that organisations should not approach DevOps in the same way they did cloud computing just a couple of years ago.
"Every company had to have a cloud strategy. What we found was that most organisations' private cloud strategy was to rename their VMware vSphere infrastructure as their private cloud," he said.
"In the same way, a lot of organisations have implemented DevOps by taking all their ops teams and just calling them DevOps engineers, or hiring a slightly more senior ops engineer and giving them a different title but with fundamentally the same role and the same dynamic. That's not the right way to implement DevOps."
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