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Interview with Sacha Labourey, CEO and founder at CloudBees

The democratisation of software delivery: “DevOps has become the new baseline that any organisation must fully adopt”

Gabriela Motroc
DevOps
© Shutterstock / Artur Szczybylo

For once, smaller organizations are in a huge situation of strength to challenge much larger players: not only are they more agile and quicker at adopting DevOps at their birth, but they have instant access to huge compute and data power that only the most sophisticated IT shops could afford, until today. We talked to Sacha Labourey, CEO and founder at CloudBees about DevOps adoption, why shifting to a DevOps mindset is something companies should consider and more.

JAXenter: How is the evolution of IT fuelling DevOps?

Sacha Labourey: A number of technological elements are impacting the way developers operate. Cloud and containers, for instance, have radically morphed what companies can do with IT and are contributing to the democratisation of tools and resources previously available only to the largest organisations. Smaller businesses can now leverage huge amounts of elastic compute power and highly sophisticated data services on demand and cheaper than ever, meaning that the “operations” side of IT is not the bottleneck anymore. This shift has provided development teams with unprecedented agility and levelled the plainfield from an innovation perspective.

DevOps is also fuelled by the fact that software is eating the world. We were preaching this a few years back, but at the time only a few could see it. This has now completely shifted and an overwhelming majority understands that their future success is dictated by how good their software delivery is. That has contributed to the adoption of DevOps and continuous delivery, which is now seen as the secret sauce of business transformation. There is not one thing that leads to DevOps, it is just the natural order of things pointing in that direction. It is the natural evolution one has to follow to survive.

DevOps is fuelled by the fact that software is eating the world.

JAXenter: DevOps’ star is still shining bright. Who and what should we keep an eye on?

Sacha Labourey: For once, smaller organisations are in a huge situation of strength to challenge much larger players: not only are they more agile and quicker at adopting DevOps at their birth, but they have instant access to huge compute and data power that only the most sophisticated IT shops could afford, until today.

The availability of resources at lower costs, is bringing unprecedented innovation and as a result, a growing number of established enterprises are being challenged in their core business. The balance has shifted in their favour and large players have no other option but matching the speed and innovation of their much smaller competitors.

All of a sudden, the “unfair advantage” has shifted sides and from a software development perspective, the saying “too big to fail” has lost its meaning. DevOps has become the new baseline that any organisation must fully adopt, be either very small or very large.

JAXenter: What’s new at CloudBees?

Sacha Labourey: We recently raised $62 million in our series E funding round, which is enabling us to further accelerate our vision to become the “ERP of IT” and orchestrate the key processes that bring innovation through software to production. We think this really presents the growth and importance of the DevOps industry across all business sectors as software development becomes a key to competitive advantage and innovation.

That said, we have been working on our product portfolio and restructured our offerings in line with industry trends and following the acquisition of CodeShip earlier this year. We also introduced a support-only option for Jenkins opensource, allowing the most smaller players to benefit from the latest technology available with the ability to scale up and grow.

We are expanding our ecosystem with more and more partners for training, consulting, integration and DevOps evangelism. The movement is on and it is good for IT services. We invite our customers as well as all decision makers who wish to step into continuous integration and delivery continues to find us on our Webinars or at the DevOps World 2018.

JAXenter: How is CloudBees trying to further streamline the way indie developers and large institutions bring software to the masses?

Sacha Labourey: Perhaps unsurprisingly, smaller companies (but also tiny teams within larger organisations) want to “start cheap & easy” on a credit card, just like Jenkins was being adopted in the pre-cloud era. With SaaS-based CI/CD solutions becoming popular amongst developers and project teams to utilize CI/CD capabilities in a self-service model, we are offering development teams self-service tools that are easy to use and manage, letting them take control over their end-to-end delivery pipelines.

We are uniquely differentiated to help organisations establish a continuous delivery practice at scale, operated centrally, that they can offer to the entire business, while leaving them the power to act and decide locally. This makes it possible to centralise the core operations and define the aspects of compliance that matter to the company at large, but then let innovation happen in a distributed fashion, within teams. This is a very important balance to find.

SEE ALSO: If you’re ignoring DevOps, you’re wasting money

We have evolved to provide an extremely wide range of technologies and make it possible for enterprises to increase velocity of existing projects, leveraging technologies such as Java, or .Net (or even much older stacks), while offering advanced support for leading edge environments such as public cloud, Docker and Kubernetes.

JAXenter: What does a successful DevOps adoption look like? An unsuccessful one?

Sacha Labourey: The thing to understand is that DevOps is a business cultural matter. You achieve DevOps when you create a software development culture supported by technical practices. It can’t be done without incorporating the building blocks of successful continuous integration and continuous delivery practices.

Successful DevOps implementations can generate significant value around employee satisfaction – by creating an environment that can help companies maintain and recruit top talent – increased productivity, resulting in less time wasted in the software development life cycle in addition to the ability to innovate faster while maintaining quality gives a company a tremendous competitive advantage in the marketplace.

You achieve DevOps when you create a software development culture supported by technical practices.

Equally, there are consequences to doing DevOps wrong. Today’s market is moving fast and businesses must be able to adapt if they want to survive and remain competitive. Investing in a faulty DevOps project wastes money, time and employee resources that could have been directed elsewhere, whilst preventing IT leaders from getting the buy-in required for another DevOps transformation.

JAXenter: Why should companies shift to a DevOps mindset if things are working well for them right now?

Sacha Labourey: As market opportunities arise and competitiveness increases, DevOps presents a perfect solution to help businesses respond to those requests in the field, from consulting, pre-sales, but also an extensive set of “post-sales” customer-success activities. Companies that have adopted DevOps principles are disrupting industries, innovating faster and leaving competitors behind.

If they have not already started, organisations will need to transition to DevOps soon to remain competitive – even to stay relevant. An increasing number of companies are finding out the hard way that almost every company is a software company, that developers will seek employment at companies where they can innovate instead of fight fires all day and that DevOps is a common sense way to gain a sustainable, competitive business advantage.

Businesses should pursue a transition based on the evaluation of potential opportunities and challenges for their specific organisation, with a pinch of scepticism for claims that “DevOps is the cure for every software issue”.

Thank you!

Author
Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc is editor of JAXenter.com and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.