Three Trends That Will Transform DevOps in 2023

The onset of COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation-related initiatives like cloud migration, microservices, observability and CI/CD, giving long-delayed projects the budget and staffing they needed to build momentum. After almost three years of increased investment and accelerating progress, CTOs and software development teams are navigating how to enable the time-to-market and customer experience improvements that they set out to achieve. In 2023, we’ll see enterprise DevOps mature and expand its business impact by placing a central focus on quality, delivering improved time-to-market, customer satisfaction and productivity.

DevOps Mature as a DX Enabler

The past three years have seen massive growth in cloud computing, observability and pipeline automation as enterprises raced to deliver new, high-quality digital experiences to consumers. Cloud spending alone increased from $270 billion in 2020 to 397.5 billion in 2022, according to Gartner. With new technologies in place, the focus shifts to processes that deliver business agility and efficiency.

Under increased pressure to deliver faster, businesses need to revisit, evolve—and, in some cases, undo—decades of risk and change management practices built around brick-and-mortar experiences and long software release cycles.

As digital engagement increases, so will expectations for software quality and scalability. We’ll need to invest in new tools and practices—from testing to observability and beyond—to ensure that we’re meeting or exceeding those expectations.

The economic uncertainty will compel us to look for ways to improve productivity and decrease waste. Quality practices are central to both. We’ll continue to look for ways to shift left and catch defects early in our pipeline when they are the least expensive to fix. We’ll want to optimize our build, integration, testing and deployment processes to identify bottlenecks and causes of rework that drain the productivity of so many teams daily.

DevOps, with its emphasis on automation and collaboration, will connect the dots between operational goals, technological investments and improved software. Established frameworks like DORA give software development organizations concrete ways to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of delivery pipelines. The key metrics outlined by DORA—deployment frequency, lead time for changes, change failure rate and time to restore service—enable teams to align on where they can improve development practices and quality practices.

DevOps Will be Measured by Business Success

The value of digital transformation and DevOps will also extend even further across the enterprise as CTOs evaluate DevOps practices with structured assessments such as DORA. With several years of accelerated digital transformation under our belts, the software development industry can build out a broader definition of DevOps performance over time. The DORA framework sets the stage for understanding how engineering practices impact the customer experience and, in turn, company growth. In one example, Liberty Mutual, a company prides itself on exemplary customer service, is already seeing how DevOps performance connects to business success.

Architect Justin Robinson notes in their roundtable on data-driven decision-making and DORA metrics: “For organizations, this is improved organizational performance. If we want to keep investing in great tech and serving our customers as best as possible, [we need] behaviors and practices that we can adopt to continually get better and hit on every front here. Happier engineers, a better culture and a better bottom line for our company.”

In 2023, more enterprises will harness DORA to measure DevOps performance and its impact on company growth.

Customers Will Reap DevOps Benefits

We’re already seeing how metrics like deployment frequency can support an organization’s ability to attract and retain users. According to the 2022 Testing in DevOps Report, teams that increased deployments by 50%-100% were two-and-a-half times more likely to report high user satisfaction. The ability to innovate—without introducing defects to users—is the next frontier in DevOps success. Quality engineering will serve as a safeguard for DevOps teams so they can deliver new features faster and with confidence.

The Testing in DevOps Report also illustrated the growing connection between digital transformation, DevOps and quality engineering. A full 88% of teams with highly automated pipelines and mature DevOps practices reported high test coverage, which in turn is connected to high customer satisfaction. Test coverage, a core metric for quality assurance teams, is becoming the connection between code and customers throughout development. Quality teams will expand their testing strategies to cover more aspects of the customer experience, including non-functional attributes like performance and accessibility. Automation, particularly automated testing embedded in CI/CD pipelines, will allow teams to adopt these additional quality factors without slowing deployments.

Connecting Engineering Transformation to Business Success

2023 is shaping up to be an unpredictable year in technology. But with the momentum propelling digital transformation to an enterprise-level priority, engineering leaders have the data and the tools to shift focus from DevOps processes to transformative outcomes. DevOps maturity, measured and improved with DORA, will help organizations extract more value from their digital transformations by supporting greater innovation and better customer experiences. Quality engineering, augmented with new testing strategies that measure more of the customer experience, will play a critical role in this evolution by enabling development teams to move faster with confidence.

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