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The problem of DevOps among publishers

Software publishing is a very recent universe, since IT has only been in existence for 50 years at the most.

Over the past five decades, the progress made can be regarded as considerable. First of all, the power of computers has evolved at lightning speed, although it is currently slowing down to make way for miniaturisation. Software, which was used almost exclusively by the corporate world 30 years ago, is now massively available to the general public through mobile devices such as smartphones. Hence, this market evolution has transformed the way in which software is made.

The primary objectives of the players who made software solutions were to reduce costs (and problems), and to address this issue, they naturally turned to 'offshore' development. Reducing costs by massive use of cheaper resources. This approach, solely based on the execution of construction tasks in places unfortunately far away from the customer, wasn't as fruitful as hoped. The reason was the obligation to separate the needs analysis and development phases, causing a discrepancy in the understanding of the needs, and in the delivery of relevant solutions.

In view of this failure, which IT solution developers more or less admitted to, the result was inevitably the complete or partial repatriation of the development know-how as close as possible to the people who can express their needs.

It was at this point that solution developers turned towards new means to optimise their costs. This gave rise to integrated development environments, agile methods, collaborative work solutions, knowledge management platforms, etc.

Finally, with the growth in execution platforms, the ever-faster need for updates, and an increasingly tense demand in an ultra-competitive world, the world of software publishing started to optimise these processes...and DEVOPS was born.

What has always surprised me is that people who build objects with their hands have very quickly sought to automate tasks that are repetitive and fastidious. With the design of software programs, IT has always been perceived as an extremely intellectual profession. In addition, human beings, who have been awe-struck by technological progress over the past 50 years, have remained completely blinded in terms of their lack of rigour and the failure to automate their extremely boring tasks and sources of non quality, thus preventing them from focusing on their core business: inventing the most efficient solutions possible and, today, the most attractive ones (the world of green screens is over).

DEVOPS, in all this, is nothing more than a simple word to say that, finally, the software world is becoming industrialised, i.e. focused on 'an automated assembly line' dedicated to software.

Some believe that this principle only applies to publishers who offer their solutions in SaaS mode, whereas in fact, a publisher needs to deploy and execute their solution well before making it available to the end-customer.

Indeed, a development team's efficiency is associated with the automation of all the repetitive tasks required to transform a need into a quality packaged solution that is easy to install.

The advantage of a publisher over an integrator resides in their ability to invest in a platform that will allow them to significantly increase their efficiency: continuous integration, automated deployment, quality controls, access to support and demo platforms, are just a few examples of tasks that deserve to be robotised.

IT at the service of IT

We shall undoubtedly soon see new components in the DEVOPS chains, based on AI, for instance. Indeed, many control, consulting or even automated building phases will have a crucial role in the efficiency of our teams and in the quality of the solutions built.

The future still holds many surprises for us.

19/09/2018

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