DevOps And Chill: How Software Automation Has Transformed Saturday Evenings

DevOps is responsible for delivering our favourite TV shows, takeaways and social media experiences.

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DevOps is responsible for delivering our favourite TV shows, takeaways and social media experiences.


DevOps And Chill: How Software Automation Has Transformed Saturday Evenings

DevOps is responsible for delivering our favourite TV shows, takeaways and social media experiences.

Share this article

Everyone loves a cosy Saturday night in, yet many do not realise that technology – and more specifically software – is at the heart of the everyday luxuries that make this possible.

From ordering a takeaway, to streaming the next binge-worthy Netflix show and interacting with our favourite social media channels, software has intrinsically revolutionised everyday life and allowed businesses to innovate faster than ever before, and DevOps is how leading companies deliver software.

DevOps might seem like a highly technical concept causing eyes to glaze over, but it is the force quietly powering not only the weekend entertainment we often take for granted, but more broadly anything that  runs on software.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, goods and services are becoming digital (some faster than others) and software has become the one component dictating a company’s success or failure.

In fact, even those brands seemingly far afield from the digitalisation wave have found that they need software to best support their core business.

By embracing a DevOps methodology, businesses can automate the everyday and potentially mundane operations that keep the business running smoothly, and focus on their efforts on innovation and disruption at an accelerated rate.

This isn't to suggest that other project management methodologies have no value: Scrum, Agile and Lean are all viable alternatives - see Scrum Explainer for elucidation.

But, in general, companies that perfect the art of developing and delivering value, improving it steadily - day after day, week after week - and delivering that value to users continuously and consistently, are leaving competitors in the dust.

By taking a closer look at three components of a cosy Saturday night in – streaming platforms, food delivery services, and social media – anyone can quickly realise the importance of DevOps and why it has become an integral part for modern businesses wanting to deliver the best experience to customers.

From Blockbuster to Bandersnatch

Everyone can remember the now relic of the 90s, Blockbuster. Blockbuster’s failure to quickly innovate away from its rent-and-return model, enabled new competitors to enter the market and disrupt its business model.

Netflix with its subscription DVD rental model knew the market was changing as it needed to stay ahead of the curve. By implementing a software-based system to launch a streaming platform, Netflix now boasts 139 million paid members.

However, with competition from a variety of rivals including Amazon, Apple, Hulu, and YouTube, Netflix knows continuous innovation is necessary, let alone the coordination of a complex global software infrastructure.

Innovating at speed can only be done with advanced software practices and Netflix knows full well it cannot afford each update to involve a stalled buffering screen, or system reboot, as customers will quickly switch to another provider.

With a system that automates the update, test, and deployment phases of software delivery, Netflix has been able to perfect its product and respond to what its customers want and need.

Skipping intros, delivering an intuitive UI and handling updates for thousands of titles in its catalogue is only a taste of how the platform has evolved. Then in 2018, Netflix successfully grabbed headlines when it released the film Bandersnatch, throwing an extra element of complexity right within the flick.

This streamed interactive format allowed viewers to shape the story themselves by choosing what the characters in the film did next. By embracing software as core business, Netflix has shown what a seamless automated approach to software can do to stay ahead of the curve and provide innovations before its competitors.

Food delivery at the tap of a button

Another industry now relying on software to keep up with customer demand is food delivery. A decade ago, Saturday night takeout would involve running down or calling the nearest restaurant to order. Today, operators like Just Eat (or Deliveroo) rely on software to process roughly 2,700 orders per minute on any random Saturday evening.

By digitalising food orders and parting with geographical boundaries, the company has set itself apart by being able to aggregate over 26 million customers and 100,000 restaurant partners. With consumers’ appetites for home-delivered food continuing to grow, Just Eat uses software-driven innovation to provide more personalised options.

Companies like Just Eat can release updates to their website so quickly that they in fact deploy up to 500 updates a week and generate 1.5 terabytes of logs per day (that’s the equivalent to about 375,000 songs from iTunes or 303 pirated seasons of Game of Thrones).

Safe to say that these companies are generating masses of data and are using software at an unfathomable scale, which is why having operational updates at a speed that matches the appetite of their customers is crucial.

Tweet, Tweet – that’s a software bird

So many Saturday nights involve not only watching favourite shows, and eating takeout, but also going on Twitter to see what everyone else is saying about the shows they are watching. From the Great British Bake Off innuendos to massive plot twists and turns in Killing Eve, checking Twitter and commenting on live shows has become the norm.

Today’s technically savvy customers are accustomed to having immediate access to the benefits of technological innovation, and they’ve grown increasingly intolerant of software that is buggy, unstable or not secure. Customers experience and judge social media through its software.

Social media in general requires the ability for an accelerated development lifecycle – meaning the platforms can be updated and accommodate the constant posts and updates that are submitted, with little to no down time for the customer.

Many of these companies have bi-weekly app updates and understand that constant, rapid refreshes for mobile apps are the new normal. This constant speed of update is what users now expect from their providers, and if businesses do not rise to the challenge, they risk being left behind.

By embracing short iterations, continuous delivery, and zero-downtime updates, social media does not have to suffer through slow, painful site updates that frequently cause sites to go down and frustrate users.

With a fully automated deployment pipeline – their updates happen automatically and continuously – customers can tweet, like, and post to their hearts content.

Software and DevOps

How did those companies accomplish all that? How did they become the leaders? How did they manage to beat their competition?

They did that by acknowledging that software is their core business, through constant innovation, by adopting continuous delivery, and by creating cross-functional self-sufficient teams. Those, and quite a few other objectives are at the core of the DevOps movement.

Businesses need to accept that software is their core business, and that if they want to be able to innovate quickly, and deliver these results to their customers on a continual basis, they need DevOps.

By adopting a DevOps culture, businesses can align all stakeholders – from development and operations teams to management and more – around the common objective of delivering quality software rapidly and reliably. DevOps is here to stay, and the benefits of DevOps extend to organizations in any industry.

Companies that have adopted DevOps principles are disrupting industries, innovating faster and leaving competitors behind. Whether it’s ordering a take-away on a Saturday night, or skipping the intro of a film on Netflix, DevOps is the driving force of innovation.

Victor Farcic is developer advocate at CloudBees.

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DevOps And Chill: How Software Automation Has Transformed Saturday Evenings

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