By Ciklum, August 23, 2018, 2:50 PM
What’s it like to balance a stick while walking across a tightrope? That’s not just a question for acrobats: It’s a scenario poised to enterprise-level DevOps organizations every single day, as they attempt to maintain the tricky balance between software delivery and stability. As users continue to demand more and more from their software, an enterprise approach to DevOps must ensure applications and websites won’t buckle under an unexpected workload or high-demand event.
In retail there’s never been a better time to have a digital storefront.
It’s no surprise — consumers flock to e-commerce for superior selection, convenience and 24/7 availability. With online shopping poised to take up nearly one-fifth of the retail economy, it’s critical for e-commerce platforms to put in place future-proof solutions to prepare for any eventuality. Online retailers big and small can be impacted by major shopping event. For instance, J. Crew saw its website crash last Cyber Monday, disappointing eager shoppers and missing out on hours and hours (and dollars and dollars) of potential sales.
How can full-fledged, enterprise-level DevOps stay ahead of potential issues without sacrificing the speed and software improvements users and customers rely on? Consider these seven tips to ensure your DevOps approach is future-proof:
Any business knows it’s important to understand what products customers want to purchase and why they want to purchase them. But when it comes to future-proofing your DevOps installation, it’s crucial to understand how customers purchase, too. Take time to analyze the way customers interact with your site: How long do they visit, how does traffic change during promotional events, when are customers browsing rather than purchasing and when does a customer abandon this process and decide not to check out items in their cart? Without understanding your e-commerce site’s traffic flow under normal, heavy and peak conditions, your site won’t be ready for the next marketing push or major shopping holiday.
If your development rock stars are able to churn out code at breakneck speed, make sure their work doesn’t break any actual necks — or software implementations. High-performing DevOps teams should recognize that development needs to work in tandem with their operations and QA counterparts. Teams that leave testing toward the end of the cycle risk creating significant delays and quality control issues that could have been solved early in the process. Follow best practices by executing continuous software testing any time a feature is added, changed or removed. Fortunately, you can easily integrate AI testing tools into your QA workflow and stay one step ahead of potential headaches caused by unexpected downtime.
Even though the members of your software team may all take care of vastly different tasks, it’s important to remember that they’re all still part of a team. From marketing to DevOps, your team members need to embrace a collaborative mindset to ensure everybody is working to achieve the same goals. In practice, this means getting away from working in silos in which certain teams claim to only own one piece of the process. Fostering a climate of open communication and collaboration between each team allows for valuable input that can prevent unforeseen issues or apply new approaches to problem solving that improves your users’ overall experience.
Are there particular pain points in your DevOps process that can be automated, simplified or removed altogether? One of the best ways to determine opportunities for improvement is to ensure your teams are using the proper tools. Using an inefficient piece of software “because that’s the way we’ve always done it” is a perfect recipe for adding an unnecessary bottleneck into your DevOps approach. DevOps thrives on automated software tools, and while there’s no one-size-fits-all approach for an enterprise organization, exploring new AI solutions can help you stay head of the curve. Take some time to research new software solutions that can streamline your overall process, save money and eliminate redundant tasks.
Sometimes it’s OK to brag! Take a look at areas of your organization where increased collaboration has had a positive effect and show them off to your DevOps teams. Illustrating instances when the DevOps structure smoothed out a workflow, solved a bottleneck or fixed bugs can help team members understand how the structure benefits the whole organization. Find ways to share these best practices to as many people as possible, including blog posts, company emails or lunch & learn events. Sometimes, all it takes for an employee to change the way they work is to see a successful cause-and-effect.
To help your DevOps team adopt a more collaborative approach, consider switching to shorter development and release cycles. This doesn’t mean speeding up the entire process; instead, try breaking your typical cycles into smaller milestones to allow teams to stay alert and engaged. For instance, instead of having a one-year calendar for a specific product, try segmenting the release into three-month chunks of alpha or beta releases and allow a select group of developers or users to have access to them. This offers three benefits: a far-off deadline becomes more approachable piece-by-piece, DevOps teams get a better chance to troubleshoot problems before a major release, and users get a heads up on new features or platform improvements.
Remember, making your IT, development and operations teams come together in a DevOps environment is both a technical and a cultural change. Any large organizational shift at the enterprise level takes time, especially when adjusting the attitude and approach toward achieving a common goal. Employees may not change the way they work overnight, and that’s OK. Stress the importance of the collaborative approach, offer constructive feedback and forgive simple mistakes. Giving DevOps teams time to learn how to work together and communicate clearly will result in an environment that’s respectful and efficient.
Without DevOps, retailers will not be able to react and respond to the changing customer demands. Ciklum DevOps experts will help you move your e-commerce product to the next echelon in customer service – just drop us a few lines about your product.
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