Is DevOps Worth the Investment for Manufacturing Companies?
A little background. As a custom software development team, we often have (and prefer) long-term partnerships with our customers. We don’t just build a piece of software and move on. We’re often called on to continuously provide new integrations and features or other long-term software support. And then there’s always at least one more solution a customer has been waiting to pull the trigger on …
Because of this, our own development team’s development processes have to be flexible enough to integrate with those of our customer’s. So if our customer isn’t ready or doesn’t see the value in a continuous build cycle (which is the core of what DevOps is), then we can’t use a DevOps approach.
For our manufacturing customers in particular, we generally recommend moving to a DevOps approach, and we’ll explain why.
But first, let’s break down what DevOps is.
What Is DevOps
Traditionally, software is created and maintained by two separate processes and potentially even different teams: development and operations.
DevOps is a software development strategy and set of practices that integrate development and operations together using a continuous development and testing loop.
DevOps relies on a set of automation-based tools that work together. Using these tools, each step of the development and operations process (testing, deployment, feedback, etc) is informed by the others in real-time using web services.
Small Example of How This Works
Whenever a developer makes a change to the code and checks it in to the repository, the new code will be tested by a tool that’s aware of every piece of software this code integrates with. If something breaks because of this new code, you’re sent an alert.
Since you’re sent an alert that the new code would cause a failure in some system or another, the code is not put into production until it gets fixed.
How it Helps Manufacturing Industries
Everything relies on software.
In this digital era, we use software in every aspect of our companies. Software is used to develop and enhance physical products, manage shipping and distribution, and manage operations.
Because of this, the more efficient the software we use, the more efficient our companies will be.
Any software development strategy done well can save your developers time and money, but DevOps is the most likely to dramatically reduce errors.
For instance, if something goes bad in the product manufacturing process, you make bad products. By providing continuous testing and feedback, DevOps reduces the likelihood of this happening. The same with distribution, etc.
With DevOps, your development team will:
- Be less likely to put bad data into your software which, in turn, makes it easier to integrate with other systems.
- Prevent hiccups between development and production which speeds up your go-to-market time.
- Be more capable of scaling production according to demand (reducing the costs of scaling).
- Produce better products that have been more efficiently tested.
- Produce better performance data throughout the development and deployment processes — in turn this lets you see areas of improvement and increase efficiency.
- Have an easier time designing and maintaining customer platforms and tools and integrate customer-facing platforms with operational data.
Think of DevOps as change management.
DevOps offers you more control over your company and the ability to change faster with more transparency about what your development team is doing.
Imagine having a report every night that explains what changes your development team is ready to deploy. It might give you information around how these changes have been tested with what’s already in production, a success rate with how these changes have integrated with other systems, etc. Imagine being able to approve what’s ready for deployment based on real data and testing.
Where to Start
We offer personalized DevOps assessments to help you understand whether DevOps is right for your company, an estimate of what the financial investment would be, and where to start.
Developing new software or changing development processes is always in response to a business problem. Our assessment starts by understanding the problems you have in the area of software development and whether a DevOps strategy is the right fix for these issues.