Agile in Practice: How a Shift Left approach to DevOps can Improve Profitability
We live in a world that can be transformed on a whim by any technological development at any second. The digital disruption movement can single-handedly bring down enterprises that refuse to adapt to the changing trends, like we’ve seen with Blockbuster versus Netflix. In such a digitally transforming age, customer centricity becomes a necessity.
What is Customer Centricity?
Customer centricity is an approach where the customer is at the center of a business’s philosophy, operations or ideas. It focuses on achieving customer satisfaction by catering to their needs, and ensuring that they are happy with the experience of your products and services from the beginning until the end.
In our highly digitized world, where anyone can broadcast whatever they wish over social networks, providing an excellent customer experience can strengthen your brand reputation. At the same time, consumers can voice their opinion to discourage other potential customers from purchasing your products or services.
That is why most successful companies today, such as Google or Amazon, run on a highly customer-centric approach that ensures consumer satisfaction from purchase through use and adoption. As research conducted by Deloitte and Touche suggests, companies that put their customers at the core of their campaign and operations were as much as 60% more profitable than the ones that did not.
Shift Left Approaches in Digital Transformation
Digital disruption is causing companies to become more responsive and adaptive to customer needs and satisfaction. As such, many enterprises are looking to implement continuous delivery techniques in their operations to make the process smoother and more efficient.
However, the product quality cannot be assured through a siloed approach between developers and testers of a product. In such a scenario, the work of a developer is not complete until they receive assurance from the QA department that the product is perfect for distribution which, most often, is not the case. In fact, 56% of all software defects emerge during the requirements stage, 27% in the design stage, and 7% during development. This results in unnecessary delays, increased production costs, and unsatisfied customers.
To truly embrace digital transformation, and improve the efficiency of operations, while cutting down on time invested, a ‘shift left’ approach must be adopted. A shift left approach asks for the quality testing to be shifted ‘left’ of the development stage, allowing testing to be conducted side by side with product developers to ensure quality every step of the way. This allows companies to create high-quality products at a much better speed as compared to a traditional development and testing set up.
In a typical DevOps setting, the developers and testers will be in close collaboration with one another continuously from the beginning of the project. This ensures the product is being kept on track throughout its development process. If you aren’t one for introducing full-blown teamwork and collaboration between departments, developers can be given certain testing responsibilities, along with the proper automation tools, to ensure some aspects of continuous left testing.
The positive impact of the Shift Left and DevOps Approach
A traditional approach that does not employ DevOps, or shift left, often ends up costing big bucks, takes an extended period of time for completion, and even then, may fail to satisfy the customer due to poor quality or late delivery. A shift left approach can become the solution to these problems.
This technique requires testing to be integrated with the development and coding process in the early in stages of the product development cycle, so issues and errors are identified more quickly and easily. This allows on the spot resolution, akin to nipping evil in the bud.
The DevOps approach does, however, go beyond the desire to simply bring the developmental and operational departments together. It focuses on connecting the developers and QA professionals to the customer, whose satisfaction is what they are ultimately striving for. The main goal of a DevOps approach is to create a product that satisfies the customer’s needs in terms of quality, delivery time, and functionality.
That is why customer centricity should never be undermined as the primary driver of the DevOps methodology. By integrating continuous customer feedback into the development cycle, the product can be centered on customer requirements. It can subsequently contribute to building your brand by promoting consumer satisfaction, loyalty, feedback, and improving your overall relationship.