Bringing IT and DevOps Closer Together Through Self-Service IT and User Empowerment

When thinking of the relationship between DevOps and IT, the song and lyric ‘Why can’t we be friends?’ comes to mind. On the surface, it’s a valid question – both are enablers of innovation in the business, and each depend on each other to drive that innovation.

However, in modern enterprise IT, DevOps’ quest to drive the business forward can easily be sidetracked by roadblocks that prevent them from getting the resources they need when they need them. As gatekeeper of those resources, the last thing IT wants to be known as is a roadblock. But at the same time, IT needs to maintain control. 

Ultimately, there can be a rift between the two teams when DevOps feels helpless waiting for resources that never come–you can’t be the innovators when the provisioning process is hardly innovative.

The barriers to digital innovation

As gatekeepers, IT ultimately holds the keys to the castle. While IT themselves aren’t the problem – slow resource delivery is rarely a case of laziness–rumblings of being the roadblock inevitably happen with provisioning delays. After all, the workflows and processes that IT adhere to are still a representation of the department.

The main factors behind slowing down things aren’t just cases of IT being swamped with daily fires, although this is still absolutely the case in many enterprises. The process for requesting resources is often clunky with multi-step ticketing systems that require frequent back-and-forth follow-up, sometimes across multiple departments.

Additionally, while DevOps can control their destiny in a way by provisioning resources of their own directly from AWS, for example, they’ll often still run into the same efficiency and speed issues by taking things into their own hands. DevOps teams are great at what they do, but they’re certainly not experts at configuring resources, which often depends on others’ expertise within the enterprise.

Breaking down the barriers to innovation

IT is thus in a bit of a dilemma: They are the gatekeepers of provisioning these resources that DevOps teams need, but they’re not in a position to always provide them in a timely fashion. Developers are only able to be the innovators by building, testing and delivering unique products – and delivering them to market – as quickly as possible to keep pace with their competitors.

IT teams can thus look to an approach that takes the provisioning out of their hands, and empowers DevOps teams to get the resources they need, on their own terms, in order to deliver on the agility that innovation requires. This self-service approach to IT should be:

  • Automated: Through blueprints, which are standardized, repeatable methods of orchestrating and automating resource provisioning, IT will be able to make on-demand provisioning of resources a reality
  • Easy to use: Continuing on the time crunch theme for DevOps teams, ordering the resources should be as simple as adding an item to your online shopping cart – in other words, provisioning resources should be a simple process through an intuitive self-service catalog.
  • Controlled: Of course, IT wouldn’t be called the gatekeepers if they weren’t any good at it. The self-service that IT teams empower their DevOps with should have built-in controls managed on the backend by IT admins, to ensure over-provisioning or the wrong teams accessing resources doesn’t happen

IT may be the department of control and and compliance, but they can bring themselves closer to DevOps by empowering them to self-service the resources they need, when they need them, with guardrails. IT can indeed “be friends” with DevOps through their own innovation that drives product innovation faster.

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