Does DevOps Differ Based on Geographical Region?

At CollabNet, we have been expanding our footprint around the world. We have made investments and added resources to grow our European and Asian markets. To support our global efforts, we asked three leading DevOps journalists to share their perspectives about the different regions. We learned about some important industry nuances across regions, what contributes to those variations, and what that means for all of us invested in the software development industry.

We reached out to Adrian Bridgwater, a technology journalist; Madison Moore, a journalist from SD Times; and Alan Shimel, editor-in-chief at DevOps.com, and here’s what we learned:

All three experts confirmed that due to the demand for better software at faster speeds, DevOps is understood consistently by software professionals everywhere to be the sensible next step for development and operations teams. We can glean from their insights that, differing by region, subtle factors are impacting the rate of DevOps adoption.

Shedding light on user perspectives, U.K.-based Adrian Bridgwater noted that the underlying goals of DevOps and Agile are logical progressions for engineers and have been in the works for decades. He also pointed out that many of the recent trends in software development sweeping North America by storm are more about syntax than functionality.

Bridgwater explains the impact of the industry labels: “There are no international differences in the world of DevOps and Agile. The differences come out in terms of who had tried to re-label existing development methodologies and frameworks with some kind of DevOps or Agile wrapper that fails to really address the age-old problem of ‘throwing it over the wall’ to operations.”

The speed of technological innovation alone seems to demand that software development and operations teams integrate, and engineers have been evolving the discipline for some time already. “Engineers have been struggling to integrate every part of the lifecycle team for at least a couple of decades now; … some of the new efforts in this space are simply Agile DevOps-washing,” noted Bridgwater.

The challenge of finding a better solution than simply “throwing it over the wall,” which Bridgwater identified, seems to resonate on a global scale. Bridgwater’s cautionary words in regard to the challenges of applying DevOps practices remind us that no matter where software development is happening in the world, all enterprise organizations must understand the core elements of why we work toward DevOps and how it helps organizations achieve success. It appears that this is something we can all relate to worldwide.

Madison Moore from SD Times writes extensively about the software development lifecycle. Her buyer’s guides have covered DevOps, ALM, and Agile among other topics. Moore shared with us that resources and culture hamper adoption in inconspicuous ways. “It seems that concepts like Agile and DevOps are adopted slower [in Europe] than in the United States,” explained Moore.

She attributes this discrepancy to talent resources, the United States, and the cultural penchant for adopting new technology rapidly.

“I think this has to do with how fast the United States adopts new technologies,” said Moore. “For instance, when talking to an HR recruiter who is based in the U.K., he said it’s sometimes difficult to find talent for certain positions because there is more talent in the U.S. They can’t get that talent because it’s hard to find people who want to relocate. This isn’t to say all U.K. talent isn’t comparable to U.S. talent.”

Moore pointed out that while tech innovation is growing in Europe and other regions, the United States is thought of globally as the “owner” of major technology hubs. These hubs are centers where there is a great deal of investment in research and innovation and where many tech companies are housed.

“The United States has more ‘hubs’ for technology (for example, Silicon Valley, New York, Chicago, Boston). It seems like there is fast adoption coming out of these software companies more than the U.K. hubs. I think this might change, however, and I think it is changing if you look at the last year or so. Europe is bursting with startups, and this is making it a bit of a tech hub, especially for the machine learning and AI industry,” said Moore.

Alan Shimel from DevOps.com shared similar sentiments but has noticed a slight lag in Asia-Pacific adoption. “Believe it or not,” said Shimel, “software development seems to be universal (or at least global). Especially between North America and Europe, software development trends seem to be in lock step, especially as it relates to certain verticals. It appears Asia Pacific seems to lag a little in adoption of new software development trends, but that may be just that we don’t read as much about it.”

Shimel added that financial services, retail, and technology seem to lead in Agile/DevOps. He believes that is consistent across regions.

The experts all agreed that the regions have one thing in common:  the increasing drive in software development that is naturally causing DevOps to continue pushing forward globally.

There are a few important takeaways from these insights. DevOps is still a young market and shifting constantly with new innovations and repositioning. Based on Bridgwater’s insights, it seems that the market as a whole would benefit if vendors would provide greater clarity about positioning and functionality. Also buyers need to be pushing vendors for thorough solutions that eliminate effectively the “throwing it over the wall” problem and are future-ready. That is especially important when considering standardizing at the enterprise level.

Moore’s insight about talent shortages and talent pool disparities reveals that a great opportunity for training in DevOps and talent cultivation exists. Exploring along those lines, we learned that in some places, like Asia Pacific, other resources needed to support DevOps may be harder to come by, such as IT resources or even free time for training. That could prove important to know when marketing and selling in different regions.

Also, Shimel’s observation about DevOps adoption being stronger in financial services, retail, and technology is important for marketing and sales activities. Successes in those industries can help the DevOps community as a whole because organizations in other sectors can learn from them and improve their own efforts.

The bottom line is that enterprise-scale organizations around the globe are in need of quality software at speed. With the adoption of DevOps, organizations in different regions can work effectively toward the common goal of continuous delivery. While there are subtle causes affecting adoption speed by region and even industry, the core DevOps practices remain consistent globally.

Share this: @CollabNet asks @ABridgwater @moorewithmadi & @ashimmy how #DevOps is different around the world. Their responses: http://wp.me/p2TTRs-4mV 

Thomas Hooker

Thomas Hooker is vice president of marketing at Collabnet. As the head of CollabNet's marketing team, he oversees demand generation, brand, customer marketing, public relations, analyst relations, product marketing, and corporate communications. A 20+ year veteran of high-tech Thomas has held Marketing, Product Management and Engineering positions at a variety of leading companies including BMC, Boole & Babbage, Tidal Software and Cisco.

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