The top 7 benefits of DevOps for CEOs

Updated August 2020

If you were asked what the benefits of DevOps are, you could probably name two or three straight away. Maybe four or five. But – and here’s the thing – what if the person down the corridor was asked the same question? Someone who works in the same place, but does a different job.

This is an important question to ask because if you’re a CEO, your answer will be different to a CIO or an IT Manager, both of whom will have another viewpoint.

This disparity in the way people think emerged in an MSc research project undertaken by David Linwood, a highly experienced IT Director. He set out to discover the key success factors of DevOps and found the top seven benefits of DevOps are:

  • The faster speed and lower cost of a release
  • Improved operational support and faster fixes
  • A faster time to market
  • Higher quality products
  • A lower volume of defects
  • Improved frequency of new releases and features
  • Good processes across IT and teams, including automation

Looks like a good list, and most people would nod and agree and then move on. David Linwood didn’t. He decided to dive a little deeper and see if the benefits changed according to the perspective of the different stakeholders involved.

We all know, for example, that the focus of CEOs is often on lowering costs and increasing revenues. We can also appreciate that CIOs are probably more interested in processes to increase throughput, while IT Managers will be concerned with the performance of their team.

David Linwood discovered that, of the 24 benefits of DevOps he revealed in his research, the top seven were, indeed, different, when viewed through what he called the lenses of CEOs, CIOs, and IT Managers.

CEOs want to know that any investment in DevOps will result in higher revenue and/or profitability so, for them, the top seven benefits are:

  • A faster time to market
  • Higher quality products
  • A stable, reliable IT infrastructure
  • Higher customer satisfaction
  • Lower costs
  • Improved business efficiency
  • Higher revenue

Notice how the faster speed and lower cost of a release, along with improved operational support and faster fixes have disappeared off the radar. While those may be of concern, a faster time to market and higher quality products shoot up the list. Similarly, ‘lower costs’ isn’t linked to releases, it’s a benefit on its own and applies across the board.

Why is this important?

It’s not just important – it’s crucial if you’re thinking if introducing DevOps in your company or organization. Show the first list to your CEO and he or she will politely but firmly put it in the recycle bin. Show the second list and the reaction will be one of interest.

There are many benefits to DevOps, but each of us looks at them in different ways, depending on our role. What’s great for you may induce a yawn in someone else. So in order to get buy-in to a DevOps initiative, you need to understand the advantages your colleagues expect from it as well.

That said, you might like to read the next two articles in this series on the benefits for CIOs, and the benefits for IT Managers. That way, you’ll have a complete picture of the benefits that are important to the people you work with. You can then frame a discussion about DevOps around what the different stakeholders want – often need – so that it becomes a genuine discussion, rather than a disagreement on the way forward.

If you’d like to know more about the critical role database teams play in driving a leaner and faster development cycle, download this free IDC Executive Brief.

This post was originally published in February 2018 and has remained relevant – and popular – ever since. It was reviewed in August 2020 to ensure the content is up-to-date.