If you still think of IT as a cost center, think again. A new survey confirms high-performing IT organizations "have a strong and positive impact on the overall performance of the organizations they serve."

In addition, IT leaders can increase business value by enabling specific DevOps practices and by visibly investing in DevOps and in their employees’ professional development. 

Those are some of the highlights from Puppet Lab's 2015 State of DevOps Survey, which focuses on the cross-relationships between IT performance, organizational performance, DevOps practices and lean principles and practices. In this fourth annual survey, IPO-bound Puppet Labs again partnered with IT Revolution Press to survey nearly 5,000 technical professionals worldwide.

Portland, Ore.-based Puppet Labs is an information technology automation software company designed for system administrators.

"High performing IT organizations deploy code 30 times more frequently and 200 times faster (deployment lead time, defined below) than their lower-performing peers.

They also have 60 percent fewer failures and recover 168 times faster. High performers are able to achieve higher levels of both throughput and stability through the use of DevOps practices — a key reason the movement has gained such wide traction," the report states.

How do you know if you have a high performing IT department? Easy: There's an inverse relationship between high performance and painful IT deployments. "The more painful code deployments are, the lower the IT performance, organizational performance and organizational culture," the report explains.

The DevOps Difference

What separates the best IT departments from the worse? The use of DevOps practices, Puppet Labs maintains. And that contention seems to reflect more than the fact that Puppet Labs has a vested interest in DevOps

“There really is a clear link,” Nigel Kersten, CIO of Puppet Labs told CMSWire. The survey found there are fewer IT failures, faster deployments and a DevOps organizational culture.

DevOps practitioners are responsible for the communication, collaboration and integration between software developers and IT operations.

Their goal is to produce software and IT services faster so that these products and services can be pushed to market more frequently, lowering the failure rates and shortening the time to recovery if a failure does occur. 

When it comes to the importance of DevOps practioners, you don't have to take the word of Puppet Labs alone.

David Shacochis, Vice President of Cloud Platform at CenturyLink, called DevOps a "revolutionary software development method" that “places enhanced emphasis on communication, information sharing, automation and measurement. 

The International Data Corporation (IDC) in December reported that DevOps' impact in large IT organizations has been seen through process standardization, and there is an increased focus on teamwork across development and operations teams. IDC found organizations deploying 3rd Platform solutions in DevOps profit by driving tighter collaboration across business stakeholders and development, test deployment, application support and operations teams.

Digging into the Data

The report found:

  • Lean practices, when applied to software delivery, improve both throughput and stability, leading to higher organizational performance
  • High-performing IT organizations see increased levels of stability and reliability
  • Apps architected with testability and deployability have a powerful impact on software quality and developer productivity
  • The top three predictors of organizational performance are culture, investment in DevOps and IT performance

Old Boy's Club

Puppet Labs Devops survey respondent characteristics

This year, 19 percent of survey respondents were from a DevOps department, up from 16 percent last year. However, only 5 percent of the 4,976 respondents were women.

“This was much lower than we expected,” the report noted. “We were hoping to find more reassuring numbers of women working on technical teams, but we didn’t.”

Among survey respondents:

  • 33 percent report working on teams with no women
  • 56 percent report working on teams that are less than 10 percent female
  • 81 percent report working on teams that are less than 25 percent female

“Despite all of these clear advantages, organizations are failing to recruit and retain women in technical fields,” the report specifically notes.

“We can do better. It’s up to all of us to prioritize diversity and promote inclusive environments.” 

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.0 Generic License Title image by angies.