You’ve done all your research and you know that using DevOps is the best move for your business. The collaboration between development and operations can be a lifeline when it comes to the constant innovating and evolving nature of technology.
Efficiency-boosting and cost-reducing, DevOps sounds like an ideal solution to keep your company’s competitive edge. There are a lot of steps between realizing DevOps can help and actually implementing the digital transformation needed to utilize DevOps successfully.
One of those steps is identifying the DevOps company that can help you through this transition. From endless quality assurance to time to market statistics, it seems like most companies boast the same characteristics and there’s not a lot left to distinguish them.
From the top technology companies in San Francisco to emerging companies all over the country, every technology company feels the pressure to be the first, fastest, and most innovative. A major part of that is continuous software deployment, a crucial part of DevOps. DevOps service providers have thrived under this pressure, with the market for DevOps increasing nearly 25% since 2017 and still growing.
To save you valuable time researching, we’ve compiled a list of the qualities you should be looking for in a DevOps company, and why those characteristics are indicators of successful DevOps solutions.
The Benefits of a DevOps Firm
Partnering with a DevOps firm is an ideal solution for companies both big and small. If you don’t have the appropriate software, resources, or skilled personnel, forming a DevOps team is a non-starter.
Due to the rising implementation of DevOps solutions, there are only so many experts available for you to utilize in your own in-house IT department or DevOps team. When seeking your own experts, you’re likely to run up against a DevOps shortage: nearly 65% of IT hiring professionals seeking DevOps employees report difficulty filling the positions.
This is for a myriad of reasons: experience needed, salary and education requirements, plus the fact that most of them are already working in full-time positions. This increased demand and an insufficient supply makes outfitting your own DevOps team highly problematic.
Enter the DevOps as a service model that DevOps firms emphasize. With the proper implementation of cloud solutions with continuous integration of DevOps solutions, DevOps companies exist as an external provider to streamline your development and operations teams for you.
The time, resources, and training necessary to implement DevOps on your existing or emerging teams is extremely cost-intensive. A DevOps firm helps alleviate those development costs by providing valuable resources and expertise so you’re not feeling around in the dark.
Big-Picture Characteristics to Look For
In any service provider, there are certain qualities you need when seeking the right partner. It’s the same with DevOps consulting or DevOps firms. Early on in the searching process, you may not even know what to look for or what your company needs.
Whether it’s price, age, size, or a variety of other factors, each one is a valuable indicator of what that firm can do for your business. Take a closer look at these features to narrow down your prospects.
Quality of Communication
Yes, you’re looking for skill and proficiency, but the most important characteristic in a DevOps provider is the quality of their communication. Maintaining a straightforward communication style that emphasizes transparency and clarity is crucial. DevOps can be bogged down with logistics and complex systems talk and any DevOps company that isn’t communicating those things effectively isn’t worth your time.
Take time, when first screening your candidates, to discuss how often they like to interact with their clients, how thorough their discussions are, and how much input you have in the DevOps direction they choose.
Most importantly, you want to avoid DevOps providers that act like this is above your head. Find one that values your input and is willing to devote time and communication to helping you and your team understand the changes being implemented.
Age of the Firm
Though DevOps has been a buzzword in the technology industry for a few years, it’s much older than you may think. Amazon Web Services, a core pioneer when it comes to DevOps implementation, has been around for nearly 20 years, while the Google Cloud Platform has been relevant for almost 15 years.
Regardless of how cutting-edge DevOps may seem, there are plenty of firms out there that have been in the DevOps space for over a decade. Older is not an exact equivalency for reliable success, but it doesn’t hurt when the firm has a long track record with successful implementations and partnerships.
Size of the Firm
You want to strike a balance on this quality — too big and your business may not be a priority, too small and your business could be left waiting frequently. Be sure to determine their current customer load and the employees that cater to them. Ask questions about the size of the team or amount of employees who will be assigned, specifically, to your business.
With a smaller firm they may have an all-in approach, meaning everyone works on every project, but a larger firm may devote specific teams or employees to your company. Find the fit that’s right for you and the amount of attention you think your business will need during this transition.
Location of the Firm
This is all about what will be the easiest and most convenient for your company. If you have a team that’s reluctant or uncertain about the switch to DevOps, a friendly face that can commit to helping in-person might be just what they need.
However, you probably have several candidates who aren’t local. That’s perfectly fine, just consider logistical aspects that could be disruptive, like a timezone difference. Be sure you have the contact and attention you need, even if they’re working on your account from a distance.
Technical Skills to Look For
From experience to capability, there are several technical skills that indicate expertise and success. Having a DevOps firm that’s knowledgeable and proficient in the latest software developments is key. Many aspects of a DevOps company’s resume or client base can indicate the technical skills that would be the most beneficial for you.
What follows are some of the technical characteristics you should be seeking in a DevOps company. They are true indicators of technical proficiency, an understanding of the core tenets of DevOps solutions, and best practices that are involved in making DevOps initiatives successful for your business.
As reflected through certifications, licenses, and specialized training, experience can mean different things to different businesses. When it comes to DevOps, you want a firm that has experience in the specialization you’re looking for (like cloud consulting or security integrations) if you need something specific.
If you don’t have a specific DevOps specialization in mind, the majority of employees will have degrees or certifications in systems administration and software engineering. They should also have a wide range of scripting languages they deal in, to better suit a variety of clients’ needs. They will most likely favor one configuration management tool and should be experts in that.
Cloud platforms are vital to efficient operations and systems management. Cloud-based networks and solutions allow for virtual networks which alleviate the processing strain from buggy deployments and can allow for quicker disaster response time. Cloud services in DevOps companies allow them to address significant productivity features like scalability and response time.
Whatever DevOps firm you choose, they should have experience with many cloud environments, whether that be Google, Amazon, or Microsoft. Cloud integration helps with mobile applications, shortening the development life cycle, and automation which are all core facets of successful DevOps. A working knowledge of platforms like Kubernetes, which is a containerization system that helps with scalability and the reduction of downtime on a cloud-based server system.
Speaking of the development life cycle, most of the cost reductions and increases to efficiency companies report from DevOps are due to problems that occur in the development process. It’s the delay between development and production that causes the most downtime and disruptions in processes.
Continuous development involves constant testing and deployment of fixes to existing code, aiming to alleviate the disconnect between development and production. Through a continuous model, companies alleviate downtime and errors that cost them valuable time and customers.
Test automation is a crucial part of the success of DevOps. It involves technology that performs testing tasks that have previously been performed manually by employees. A pipeline that relies on automated testing is more reliable, structured, and has code dependencies that can be tracked so the impact of the code on network health can be easily monitored.
While manual testing takes shared responsibility, test automation gives developers the freedom to modify and ship code changes quickly for instantaneous results.
Proactivity is a necessary component of any DevOps team. With network monitoring systems in place, engineers are more likely to enable continuous delivery of new code and code fixes that maintain the status of your business’s systems.
Speed, feedback from production, and increased productivity are all results of systems and application monitoring. Through the tracing and monitoring of systems’ health, your teams can react with speed and confidence to problems that would usually take more time to identify and address.
A DevOps company that can assess your systems where they are now is important. Whether it’s understanding the way your teams interact or how your software integrates with the DevOps goals they’re trying to accomplish, a thorough network assessment is vital to the success of your DevOps initiatives.
Ask what kind of survey or assessment they perform on intake and how much of that is involved in the creation of a detailed DevOps strategy. The last thing you want is a company judging your entire infrastructure as worthless and suggesting an integration with costly software, hardware, and systems upgrades. A helpful DevOps company will be able to analyze your legacy applications and existing network to provide DevOps solutions that can ideally integrate well with your company as it is now.
Find The DevOps Company That’s Right For You
DevOps is responsible for increasing efficiency, reducing silos between dependent teams, and reducing time to market. Just because there’s a shortage of skilled and available professionals, doesn’t mean you should forfeit your business’s access to such a valuable model.
Building and maintaining a DevOps team in-house is a challenge for even the most advanced technology companies. Between the expertise required and the lacking experts available to help you, you can implement DevOps in a much more manageable way by working with a reliable DevOps company.
Understanding what your company needs from a DevOps company and knowing which one is right for you takes time and research into what can benefit you most. The characteristics we’ve discussed will narrow down the field and allow you ask the right questions and help you analyze prospects and their contributions.
If you’re uncertain where to start or still have endless amounts of questions, have no fear. Reach out to Moonswitch today to discover DevOps services that can leverage DevOps solutions for your company.