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DevOps, which comprises advanced approaches to code management, server procurement and configuration as well as the use of microservices, is helping IT organizations accelerate development work while improving quality and reliability.

In recent blogs, we've focused on defining DevOps and discussing how it improves the customer's experience. I'm writing today to focus on the return on investment that mature DevOps delivers.

DevOps is a software development approach that supports rapid product delivery. It represents a cultural shift that blurs the boundaries between development and operations, with a focus on team interaction. It's also a philosophy that stresses continuous improvement and visibility.

While all of that may sound as though it pertains only to the IT team and its day-to-day work, DevOps carries important business implications, including the delivery of significant hard and soft ROI through a number of mechanisms.

Quality. New code management techniques reduce errors and increase visibility into development work, allowing you to see how your developers compare with one another. In addition, build-automation software and integration-testing services accelerate development, reduce demands on the IT staff and improve quality. All of that translates to ROI.

Velocity. Cloud-based procurement - for example, infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or platform as a service (PaaS) - enables the IT staff to procure fully configured servers within minutes, as opposed to months. This enables the business to deliver new features and functionality to consumers more rapidly. Advances in code management also increase velocity while reducing development costs. Velocity further increases when the development and operations teams engage in more frequent conversations, resulting in an amplified feedback loop.

Consumer engagement. Being able to respond to consumers' feedback and requests as they arise, rather than once a quarter, builds consumer loyalty and brand affinity. That offers competitive advantages that translate to ROI.

Scalability. The use of microservices such as Docker bring about substantial reductions in IT labor, helping you reduce costs, while also enabling you to scale rapidly and reliably. Docker in particular drives ROI. Docker is "hotter than hot because it makes it possible to get far more apps running on the same old servers and it also makes it very easy to package and ship programs," according to ZDNet.[i] This can save a data center or cloud provider tens of millions of dollars annually in power and hardware costs, ZDNet noted.

Broadly speaking, DevOps enables you to produce more at a higher velocity and at a higher level of reliability. DevOps reduces bugs, rework and errors in production. It saves time and reduces complexity through automated deployments and standardized environments. It enables you to scale rapidly. At the same time, DevOps helps you build customer affinity and loyalty by responding quickly to customer feedback and requests. All of this translates to ROI, whether hard or soft. And that's the bottom line, whether you're a business executive or an IT executive.

[i] Nichols-Vaughan, Steven J. "What is Docker and why is it so darn popular." Aug. 4, 2014, ZDNet. Available at