A decade ago, it was common for an organization to update its customer-facing applications every few years. When those applications were updated, the changes were often superficial—such as making the user interface more attractive. What a difference a decade makes! Today, these applications are being radically transformed from top to bottom. The goal is to transform the customer experience to improve sales and keep innovative competitors at bay. It is not uncommon for one mission-critical application to be updated multiple times in a single day. Given the urgency, it is not surprising that the concept of software engineering has taken hold across businesses large and small. The imperative is clear: To create sophisticated customer-facing applications, there has to be a focus on the integration of software development with testing and deployment.
At Techstrong Research, we decided to see if our thesis was correct. Are DevOps teams beginning to break down silos and work collaboratively? What is the impact of cloud services—such as software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cloud-native applications—on the ability to create highly effective and safe applications? To find out, Techstrong Research conducted a study of more than 550 IT professionals and leaders about their opinions on DevOps and software testing. I was impressed with the dramatic changes happening within the DevOps community. Developers, testers and operational professionals no longer see themselves as separate and distinct business units. Collaboration across these groups is becoming the norm in this new world where software is the definition of the business.
Traditionally, software developers had a narrow view of their role within the organization. While these developers understood the importance of testing, they did not see testing as their responsibility. Software QA professionals often found themselves in an awkward position. When QA professionals discovered significant bugs in software, they would often find themselves at loggerheads with developers who were under pressure to finish mission-critical projects. When software was viewed as a back-office function, senior management paid little attention to these internal issues. However, now that software is the definition of how companies operate their business to support customers, suppliers and partners—collaboration is imperative.
The transition to a true DevOps environment that is focused on the use of cloud services, software-as-a-service and the continuous release of software requires a focus on testing as an integral part of software development and deployment. In fact, in the Techstrong survey, 59% of respondents stated that testing reduced issues once applications went into production. Likewise, 51% of these respondents indicated that testing and collaboration enabled new software development projects and applications to be implemented faster with greater confidence. At the same time, there is an acknowledgment that testing in this complex hybrid cloud environment can result in delays in completing the deployment of new applications.
There is no longer a debate about the value of collaboration between developers and testers. Therefore, it is not a surprise that 95% of respondents found that DevOps, in conjunction with testing, increased the speed of getting mission-critical software into production faster. The bottom line is that without collaboration across software development, testing and deployment, organizations will not be able to keep up in a competitive business environment that is defined by its software.