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How to Build DevOps Competency? - SI/ Consulting firms

DevOps competency - Strategy

I believe 2016 is the "Year of DevOps." Last year it was a "wait and watch" situation but this year companies are actively pursuing a DevOps initiative, so it's a no-brainer for SI and consulting firms to jump onto the bandwagon to build DevOps practice/ competency but How/ What remains the challenge.

Companies do practice CI/CD processes and follow agile methodology / microservices, etc., so pure professional service opportunities through technologies like Jenkins, Chef, Puppet, and Maven don't exist. The basic tenants of DevOps shifted from point solutions to enterprise level objectives in terms of measurable outcomes like reduction in time-to-market, avoiding post deployment issues, increasing throughput. etc., so it's no more a pure technology play rather it's more of people and process related aspects. So the new SI/ Consulting firms need to be cognizant of these facts at the industry level to strategies their service offerings. Without contradicting my earlier statement the professional services continue to be the major source of revenue but not on stand-alone basis because it has to start with tools/ process consultation in terms of maturity assessment to identify the scope for improvement, priorities and define the enterprise level DevOps implementation roadmap. The assessment framework should be able to give a comparison against the industry standard and report the key constituents of DevOps.

Next is to execute the technology / implementation road map the technology know how and experience on generic open source and licensed tools alone will not suffice because it's important to build innovative platforms and accelerators to differentiate in this competing landscape. DevOps is always horizontal but having vertical flavor to the offerings can help to position in this segment. This can be on SDN/NFV for telcos, Product launch and org wide visibility on compliances for Banking, yearly enrollment for Insurance etc.   The Big bet and non-linear growth through products should be the strategy to have repeat business and sustainable growth but that comes along with investments, so it all depends on the culture and vision of the organization.

DevOps is wide open right from project inception by the business to PMO till the post deployment issue handling by production support team, so it's equally important to define the scope of DevOps offerings to remain focused and master to consistently repeat the success. If Automation is the primary driver to build solutions then the offering should be an end to end zero touch automation solution with workflow definition and authorization mechanism to put into auto-pilot mode without any manual scripting and human intervention.

No doubt the consulting firms with brand value will have an edge but DevOps is still an emerging segment so having the right strategy / vision with appropriate set of IP solution can create room for late entrants to establish and position as market leaders in this space. If the engagement model is outcome based then DevOps is a sure multi-million business opportunity.

More Stories By Ramesh Ganapathy

26+ years of IT experience with major IT servicing companies. Done DevOps digital transformation with Fortune 2000 companies. Functional experience includes large account management, technical sales, innovative product development & IP commercialization. Domain experience includes Banking and finance, Auto and Aerospace, TTL, M&E & Energy. Academic Qualifications: Master of Science, Software Systems, BITS, Pilani, India Bachelor of Engineering, Computer science and Engineering, TCE, TN, India Advanced Master’s Program in Management of Global Enterprise (AMPM) IIM Bangalore UCLA, Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) Anderson School of Business Los Angeles, USA, SDA Bocconi-School of Management, Italy Mannheim Business School (MBS) in Germany College of Business, City University of Hong Kong at Hong Kong/ Shenzhen, China.

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