Tooling has always been a strategically important method for engineering teams to bolster efficiency. The latest research by McKinsey & Company, where 440 senior engineering executives were surveyed, demonstrates that companies are 65% likely to be more innovative with better tooling.
There’s nothing new here, engineers have always looked at tooling as a source for automation. But with the report revealing that only 5% of executives listed tooling a top three method for software enablement. With technologies rapidly rising and falling, software companies need to be leaner than ever in their adoption of automation tools.
To master this accelerating shift, technical leaders need to look at automation adoption beyond engineering departments and view the software delivery process as a cross-departmental effort. If you’re one of the many forward-looking technical leads hoping to gain strategic advantages, here’s how to ensure automation success.
DevOps Today and the Automation of Tomorrow
Traditionally, the developer tooling market has always been geared towards engineers, where DevOps specialists would craft automation, pipelines, and processes by integrating different technologies for the developer, and the graphic below shows the current tools out there.
In essence, the automation that the tools above provide was built with developers in mind as the end-user. The end result yields greater developer satisfaction, as their talent and imagination are given the means to shine.
As evidenced by the 2019 State of DevOps reports, the software industry values speed and automation of delivery and tasks, and the report, in particular, asserts that strong tool-chains give developers a culture of “psychological safety,” effectively bolstering team productivity. With $300 billion being lost annually in developer productivity, we can see a real opportunity for automation to keep saving developers, and the overall business, precious time.
A Movement to Workflows
There’s already been a movement in the software industry to streamline processes with automation. For example, GitOps is streamlining source control by tightly integrating it with CI/CD. But that just doesn’t go far enough. As the developer tooling market grows, more and more tools are now required to be integrated into the software delivery process, causing greater market fragmentation. Companies like Salesforce are even launching their own DevOps platforms, meaning vendor-specific integration is more of a challenge than ever before for DevOps teams who are looking to streamline their delivery across their technology portfolio.
So, as business toolchains grow, it has become more critical than ever to eliminate silos of automation creation and empower other functions across the business, especially that outside of engineering, to be able to automate on their own. Essentially the cost of automation ownership must be lowered to allow for a more frictionless process for automation to take place. In this scenario, we see the rise of the workflow – a set of tasks and processes whereby multiple tools can be seamlessly integrated. As such, businesses must see automation outside the lens of engineering, and look to democratize its extraordinary benefits across the entire business to other departments.
A great example of a company lowering the barriers to automation is Atlassian. The company announced a no-code workflow creator for any user across it’s Jira Cloud portfolio.
In parallel, an interesting insight provided by McKinsey, which was missing from other reports, is the growing benefits of low-code tools. The study reveals that low-code tools help organizations adopt automation advantages at a much lower cost of ownership and allow them to exponentially increase their leverage on their development talent. The study observed that teams were able to adopt automation much faster when the barrier to automation (i.e. code complexity) is lowered. This makes automation accessible to less technical team members and enhances self-service and cross-functional accessibility to automation through workflows that they can create to their own needs.
At CTO.ai, we rethought automation from the bottom up to address these challenges. We realized that the most obvious solution was not only to lower the cost of automation through low code, but also to bring these developer tools to the place where people meet across the entire organization – Slack – and more specifically, SlackOps or DevOps in Slack (often more generally called ChatOps in the industry).
We further realized that businesses need an easy platform that all employees can leverage. By bringing the ease of chat and automation in a shared and transparent environment such as Slack, there’s an opportunity for businesses to significantly reduce inefficiencies and turbocharge productivity.
A Brave New Automation
With automation changing form, there will be winners and losers concerning how businesses approach the new world we’re entering. Businesses that are unwilling to begin implementing changes in their software development tooling and wider business access to workflow creation will be left behind.
For technical leadership, this is an opportunity to export engineering-based concepts and ideas such as CI/CD, automation testing, and more to other departments. Engineering departments have, generally speaking, long been ahead of other departments in regards to optimization, and use of automation. After all, engineers can code, but other departments don’t have such requirements in their job descriptions.
We at CTO.ai continue to advocate for greater use of automation for DevOps and all departments. As we continue to iterate our cutting-edge technology for Slack workflows (SlackOps), not only does the rise of the workflow become an important factor in the accessibility of automation, but also the measurement of workflow efficacy becomes even more critical. As such, companies need to be cognizant of their workflow efficacy and therefore must continue to ever optimize for scale. This is why we’re also introducing a Workflow Metrics MVP, the first-concept measurement of workflow efficiency.
Want to see our private demo? Contact us by clicking here to see the private Alpha of the MVP.