Organisations have always had this Chinese wall between designing and building applications and then running them. Real-time DevOps changes this by bringing these two ‘worlds’ together through collaboration and effectively tooling between the different environments.
With real-time, it is about the development environment using a more agile methodology and bringing out solutions faster. Similarly, the operations teams use lag behind doing a more blended IT approach into the agile space. But ultimately it is about ensuring agility between both of them.
But adopting a more real-time approach is not going to be easy. For many organisations, especially the larger ones, the challenge is getting the development and operations teams to work together as the historical way of doing things have become so entrenched.
On the development side, the teams focus on functionality and what needs to be delivered from a systemic perspective. The operations teams are more concerned about non-functional things such as security, up-time, and performance. So to bring these two together, teams need to talk to one another which realistically will not happen.
However, organisations can introduce a chief architect who would be responsible for the end-to-end solutions management. This individual will orchestrate everyone in the value chain responsible for delivering the solution to ensure that it meets the exact business requirement. Teams can then be bought together as a practice and the chief architect will coordinate all the roles. The person will also hold the traceability all the way through so that from a technical level all the requirements are also met. While this does imply a Waterfall approach it does not have to be as the chief architect can be a practitioner of Agile as well.
There will be pockets of this happening in South Africa, especially from technology-oriented businesses who are focused on delivering value to the market using technology. For the larger organisations, it is simply not possible to embrace real-time quickly. There might be an occasional proof of concept but nothing significant will happen in the next 12 months. For larger corporations, there are a lot of inhibitors including legacy thinking and behaviour that accompanies their size.
However, it is not only South African companies who are struggling with this trend. In Europe and the United States, many organisations are facing similar issues especially when looking at the Agile approach. For them, iterative development is a safe way of getting things done. It incorporates some of the principles of Waterfall and allows for quick deployment. But the Agile approach is not yet convincing the market to replace the iterative way of development and deployment.
One of the ways that real-time can build momentum in the local market is by middle-level managers who understand the concept, are open to it, and have enough say in the organisation to warrant a proof of concept and start doing a business case for it. Once the culture of the past starts to change, then real-time has great potential in the market and at organisations.