A quick search on SmarterCX for “DevOps” won’t return any results – or at least it wouldn’t have before this post was written. That makes sense, right? What could DevOps have to do with customer experience? As I found out, everything.
Two years ago, I was sitting in a board room in San Francisco with a cornerstone client that did $250 million in annual revenue. My agency was responsible for delivering technical marketing, ie: the development work that made their digital strategies and campaigns come to life. For a year before that, my agency had struggled with the velocity of their demands. Their customers wanted this feature, their franchises wanted another, and their C-level wanted results yesterday. On top of all of that, they had multiple internal and customer-facing websites and platforms that all needed to talk to and work with each other.
As I sat there, I realized that my team would never be able to keep pace with the velocity of demands from this client’s end-customers and franchises. No number of bodies would ever fix the issue for this client or any other. When a customer’s app breaks and they can’t schedule appointments, it has to be fixed now – not next week. When styles or product changes, dozens of different stakeholders and customers need to know immediately. Prime Shipping changed the world forever. Today’s digital customer demands instant gratification and information. This is why DevOps has everything to do with CX.
Luckily, someone else built the wheel. After speaking with my cousin, who works with Silicone Valley giants like Oracle and Cisco, I learned that something called DevOps was the solution to the problem. DevOps is processes and a toolset that makes organizations faster and better at meeting high-velocity internal and external development demands. It is both an ethos and a technology stack built on new cloud-based infrastructure and tools that didn’t exist until recently, and it’s basically all about getting one line of code to a live application as fast and reliably as possible. In today’s world, your customer demands it.
Enterprise and leading-edge development organizations have had production DevOps tools and supporting business processes for 8-10 years. Only recently has the toolset evolved to a point where it has a chance to benefit the rest of enterprise, midmarket, and SMBs. It boasts the potential to increase speed and efficiency and decrease errors and incidents. These improvements can be realized in organizations with as few as 5 to 10 developers.
In my experience, DevOps is the answer to high-velocity customer demands because it allows you to develop, test, and deploy code in minutes in some cases. It also works in concert with agile – developers and marketers can build assets together faster and with fewer misunderstandings. Ideas can be tested in near real-time. It breaks down silos not only between development and operations, but also between product, marketing, sales, or other internal departments or customers.
Winning organizations have already re-invented marketing to meet real-time demands, and built manufacturing streams that can be retooled in hours. Product release cycles are now at a similar pace, at speeds previously only imagined. Those who have mastered the digital transition have survived, and those who didn’t have failed.
The next winners and losers will be determined by those who master meeting the technology and development needs of customers, whose tolerance and patience dwindle with each quarter. DevOps may be software’s answer to the digital customer. You’ll be hearing a lot more about it outside the software industry now that every organization has essentially become a software company.