IT DevOps Transformation: The Next NUMMI?

Repost of May 2015 from

@EMC World this year, it is clear that we are on the cusp of a major IT revolution.  The need for agility and transparency is growing as software’s role to enable the enterprise and touch customers expands daily.  Consumer expectations about how, when, and where we use technology are now being set by startups like Uber and Airbnb.  For IT to support the goals and keep pace, they need to critically evaluate how they build, deploy, and manage software.

IT must ask questions like,…

  • How do I delivery software faster?
  • How do I create higher quality software?
  • And, run that software in a more resilient data center?
  • How do I do more with less?

Your competitors are asking themselves these same questions.

When we look at the NUMMI experiment with GM and Toyota, we see many parallels between the crossroad that IT is standing at with the joint-venture that GM and Toyota entered into over 50 years ago.  Like GM and Toyota, IT is searching for ways create sustainable competitive advantages that that can both support and transform the business.  Accelerating flow, improving agility, and driving quality are the levers that IT can pull to effect the value creation cycle.  This theme of IT as a platform for change and enabler of the business was echoed in countless sessions at DevOps@EMC World event and was a key theme in David Goulden’s keynote at EMC World.

Other parallels to Nummi, include the people, process, and tooling aspects of the IT.  IT is no longer about being the gatekeeper to technology.  Rather, they are responsible for implementing a flexible, extensible delivery platform and surrounding that platform with and ecosystem of people, processes and tools that enable the business.  At the core of modern IT are automation tools and collaborative systems.  Staring with collaborative, cross-functional teams, IT can build automation solutions that reflect the end-to-end development and delivery process.  As these solutions mature, confidence in the tooling and reporting can allow enterprise to start unpack the process debt that impeding the flow of change.  Together, these components drive change by building a culture of trust across the enterprise that is enable by the delivery platform.

Like NUMMI, this transformation is not easy and more importantly requires a commitment to continuous improvement.  Those that have started are already starting to see order of magnitude improvements in release time, recovery time, and overall IT performance.  Can you afford to wait?