As technology advances at an unfathomable pace, the companies that keep step with competition are those with forward-thinking ideas, the most original features and applications, and the most seamless user experience. In turn, these deliver the speed, agility and quality that are the foremost factors of success in achieving your company’s mission and providing the most value to your customers and stakeholders. Cue the rise of DevOps. Have you heard of it? If you’re considering software development in-house, hiring a third-party software development team or investing in critical business software, such as a cloud phone system, understanding DevOps is important. It works on the principle that developers can make important improvements in software quality and productivity by breaking down the traditional organisational silos that so often separate software development from business operations teams. DevOps encourages cross-functional collaboration between the two disciplines throughout the entire lifecycle of a product or service, from design to development to production to implementation to support, with an end result that is both more effective and efficient. Forrester Research predicts 2018 will be the year of enterprise-wide adoption of DevOps. Over recent years, Amazon, Google, Facebook, and other industry giants have been harnessing DevOps best practices to deliver enhanced value to their customers. Now, with the uptick in chatter surrounding DevOps, smaller businesses are increasingly joining in on the conversation and bringing the DevOps into the sales pitch almost as an accreditation for guaranteed quality and fitness for purpose. Forging synergies to drive quality With the rise of the digital workplace and an explosion of innovative cloud unified communication tools, knowledge-sharing and collaboration have never been more central to business strategy for companies of all sizes. The key to the successful adoption of DevOps lies in the promotion of a workplace culture built on collaboration, communication, experimentation, and ongoing learning and improvement. Indeed, businesses that apply DevOps most productively are those that have adopted a mindset where ‘failure’ is an opportunity to evolve their processes. SMEs are particularly well-positioned to build such an environment as they are generally more agile in nature and capable of implementing change more quickly than bigger companies. Such information-sharing across teams enables employees to become more proactive in their individual roles as they have a clearer view of broader business objectives. They can thus make better-informed decisions to meet company priorities. A tighter alignment among teams enables more fluidity across processes and results in faster deployment rates. A collaborative team atmosphere takes time to build, but as it gains in momentum, a natural working rhythm and an effective feedback process emerge. Such feedback is crucial as it promotes improved quality margins and enables teams to consistently fine-tune their products or services. Putting DevOps into practice At Foehn, the quality of both software and the user experience is paramount and our latest cloud phone system, Voxivo, is a perfect example. When a company commits to integrating a new phone system, it’s for the long haul, and the infrastructure on which a phone system is built is of paramount importance both in terms of the system’s current reliability and its future scalability. Voxivo is built on an open source framework which inherently makes for increased flexibility, customisation and scalability. But, on top of this, the Foehn team adopts DevOps processes to map out all business requirements and the potential features that a company may come to rely on in coming years in order to ensure smooth implementation when the time comes. DevOps empowers Foehn with the flexibility and agility to align its development work more tightly with customer demand, thereby improving overall customer satisfaction. As a result, Foehn’s Voxivo phone system is tailored, at the core of its code, to immediate and future requirements, eliminating any gap between the features provided and the customer’s actual needs. Thanks to DevOps, Foehn has seen gains in its own quality margins, offering improved services and, importantly, a development roadmap that gives customers the confidence to invest in Foehn for the long term. Big advantages for smaller, agile providers Phone system providers that are well-versed in DevOps are thus a step ahead in offering the most adaptable, stable and extensible communications platforms, and it’s not just the big brand vendors. As DevOps becomes mainstream, smaller providers are finding that they actually hold a key advantage that overcomes the single barrier to its adoption – culture. DevOps is a culture, a philosophy that encourages change, which can be met with adamant resistance in larger companies that often exhibit a heavily-ingrained, hierarchical mode of operating. SMEs have the leeway to more easily, more seamlessly promote collaboration and DevOps into the fabric of the smaller organisation. In 2017, ECS Digital reported that 31 per cent of SMEs polled had adopted DevOps across their entire organisation, while 57 per cent had partially implemented DevOps practices in their daily operations. For a business process that is still relatively unknown by many business leaders, these are surprising statistics. Look to the provider, not just the product Although a features list is a key factor in your choice of phone or call centre, the profile of your future system provider should receive your equal attention. You must consider whether a provider is at the forefront of the movement to harness tools and applications, such as DevOps, to ensure quality control. Insist on understanding the workings of the company, not just the product. After all, your new system will sit at the centre of your business operations for many years to come and your provider will be a long-term partner. Within the criteria for a successful relationship, DevOps increasingly demands a tick in the box. To learn more about Foehn and what goes into building cloud communications that grow with your business requirements, see here.
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