SHARE



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Irwin Lazar
Irwin Lazar is the Vice President and Service Director at Nemertes Research, where he manages research operations, develops and manages...
Read Full Bio >>
SHARE



Irwin Lazar | June 02, 2016 |

 
   

Why DevOps, UC&C Need Each Other

Why DevOps, UC&C Need Each Other UC&C can both benefit from, and support, DevOps initiatives, improving likelihood of success.

UC&C can both benefit from, and support, DevOps initiatives, improving likelihood of success.

In my early years in IT, I held a variety of network operations-related positions. The primary purpose of my job, aside from keeping the network running, was pointing the finger elsewhere whenever we received a trouble ticket indicating that "the network is slow or down."

Our typical process involved a series of network health checks: Ping remote sites to determine reachability and latency, check dropped packet counters, and look at network optimization platform logs to see if we could identify the fault. Ideally, we would find no network issues and then forward the ticket to the appropriate application owner. Never did we treat the network, and the applications that ran on it, as a holistic system. Rarely if ever did we receive advanced warning of new application rollouts, or get ourselves involved in the design and development of applications. No, our job was always to figure out a way to show the network wasn't at fault.

portable

This operational approach has been commonplace in IT for years. It relies on a plan-build-run model with clear lines of demarcation, and, more often than not, little communication between silos. It's also, if you are paying attention to high-level IT trends, going the way of the dinosaurs. This is thanks to the advent of DevOps.

DevOps, as its name implies, treats application development and operations as a holistic system, managed as a unified entity. DevOps encompasses both organizational strategies that integrate application development and operations groups, with tools to support rapid deployment, feedback, and optimization of code. It is both a cultural and a technical approach to reorganizing IT around desired outcomes rather than specific job functions.

DevOps offers the opportunity to restructure UC&C rollouts radically, better align initiatives with user needs, and ensure that areas like network performance, security, and governance are addressed early on in the process. It enables rapid and continuous improvement, enabling teams to add features and functionality based on identified user needs and to modify them quickly based on usage and user feedback.

As an example, suppose our organization needed to upgrade its telephony platform. In the traditional approach we'd gather and prioritize end-user requirements, create a request for proposal (which would often run way too long), solicit and score responses, pick a couple of finalists, turn up a test tab, conduct pilots, conduct a large-scale rollout, and then maybe in a few years we'd upgrade (assuming we didn't pick a cloud-based solution offering continuous upgrades).

The end result is that we deploy a platform that met the needs of our users when we started the process, but might not do so anymore. We also spent a great deal of time and effort to implement a platform that might not be easy to upgrade to support unanticipated requirements. And we'd cross our fingers when we deploy and hope that we don't break the network. Along the way, we might find out that our security and risk management policy doesn't allow a feature that we planned to implement.

In a DevOps approach, we would have built a scrum team (borrowing a concept from Agile software development) that consists of end-user representatives, app developers or managers, network and data center operations staff, and maybe even security specialists. We would have worked as a team, with a clear set of common goals and well-defined processes for feedback, continuous improvement, and automation. We might have quickly evaluated a number of solutions and picked a few to trial, without an arduous RFP. We would have gotten immediate input from our security team, and a feedback loop would have allowed for the agility needed to add new features or change direction to meet evolving business or end-user requirements or opportunities.

Perhaps more importantly, the introduction of a new app wouldn't surprise network operators. Instead operations would be tightly integrated into the development process.

The second intersection of DevOps and UC&C comes in fostering collaboration of DevOps teams. I often say during my public presentations that if your DevOps team is using email to collaborate, you are doing it wrong. DevOps initiatives require contextual and workflow-based collaboration and often are the forces that drive adoption of team chat/messaging apps like RingCentral Glip, Atlassian HipChat, Slack, and Cisco Spark. They often require co-authoring tools, and they are likely to require file sharing across desktop and mobile devices, with internal and external team members.

DevOps may not be for everyone, and to date we have rarely seen organizations that use it for all IT processes. But it offers application developers/managers and network/data center operators a way to better align toward a common goal and work with the flexibility and agility necessary for rapid response to changing needs and opportunities.

Follow Irwin Lazar on Twitter and Google+!
@imlazar
Irwin Lazar on Google+





COMMENTS




October 24, 2018

With disparate workplaces and ever-expanding volumes of information to manage, the challenges for collaborating effectively are only intensifying. Many critical applications are not integrated, and

October 10, 2018

Businesses are growing across international borders quicker than ever, but scaling operations to follow suit can be a harder, longer process.

This webinar focuses on scaling your next-generat

September 26, 2018

Join Kevin Kieller, Microsoft UC&C expert, along with Ribbon Communications and Polycom, for an update on Microsoft Ignite, and a focus on critical things you need to know about your voice deployme

March 12, 2018
An effective E-911 implementation doesn't just happen; it takes a solid strategy. Tune in for tips from IT expert Irwin Lazar, of Nemertes Research.
March 9, 2018
IT consultant Steve Leaden lays out the whys and how-tos of getting the green light for your convergence strategy.
March 7, 2018
In advance of his speech tech tutorial at EC18, communications analyst Jon Arnold explores what voice means in a post-PBX world.
February 28, 2018
Voice engagement isn't about a simple phone call any longer, but rather a conversational experience that crosses from one channel to the next, as Daniel Hong, a VP and research director with Forrester....
February 16, 2018
What trends and technologies should you be up on for your contact center? Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center & Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2018, gives us the lowdown.
February 9, 2018
Melanie Turek, VP of connected work research at Frost & Sullivan, walks us through key components -- and sticking points -- of customer-oriented digital transformation projects.
February 2, 2018
UC consultant Marty Parker has crunched lots of numbers evaluating UC options; tune in for what he's learned and tips for your own analysis.
January 26, 2018
Don't miss out on the fun! Organizer Alan Quayle shares details of his pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon, TADHack-mini '18, showcasing programmable communications.
December 20, 2017
Kevin Kieller, partner with enableUC, provides advice on how to move forward with your Skype for Business and Teams deployments.
December 20, 2017
Zeus Kerravala, principal analyst with ZK Research, shares his perspective on artificial intelligence and the future of team collaboration.
December 20, 2017
Delanda Coleman, Microsoft senior marketing manager, explains the Teams vision and shares use case examples.
November 30, 2017
With a ruling on the FCC's proposed order to dismantle the Open Internet Order expected this month, communications technology attorney Martha Buyer walks us through what's at stake.
October 23, 2017
Wondering which Office 365 collaboration tool to use when? Get quick pointers from CBT Nuggets instructor Simona Millham.
September 22, 2017
In this podcast, we explore the future of work with Robert Brown, AVP of the Cognizant Center for the Future of Work, who helps us answer the question, "What do we do when machines do everything?"
September 8, 2017
Greg Collins, a technology analyst and strategist with Exact Ventures, delivers a status report on 5G implementation plans and tells enterprises why they shouldn't wait to move ahead on potential use ....
August 25, 2017
Find out what business considerations are driving the SIP trunking market today, and learn a bit about how satisfied enterprises are with their providers. We talk with John Malone, president of The Ea....
August 16, 2017
World Vision U.S. is finding lots of goodness in RingCentral's cloud communications service, but as Randy Boyd, infrastructure architect at the global humanitarian nonprofit, tells us, he and his team....
August 11, 2017
Alicia Gee, director of unified communications at Sutter Physician Services, oversees the technical team supporting a 1,000-agent contact center running on Genesys PureConnect. She catches us up on th....
August 4, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, has lately been working on integrating enterprise communications into Internet of Things ecosystems. He shares examples and off....
July 27, 2017
Industry watcher Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares her perspective on this acquisition, discussing Mitel's market positioning, why the move makes sense, and more.
July 14, 2017
Lantre Barr, founder and CEO of Blacc Spot Media, urges any enterprise that's been on the fence about integrating real-time communications into business workflows to jump off and get started. Tune and....
June 28, 2017
Communications expert Tsahi Levent-Levi, author of the popular BlogGeek.me blog, keeps a running tally and comprehensive overview of communications platform-as-a-service offerings in his "Choosing a W....
June 9, 2017
If you think telecom expense management applies to nothing more than business phone lines, think again. Hyoun Park, founder and principal investigator with technology advisory Amalgam Insights, tells ....
June 2, 2017
Enterprises strategizing on mobility today, including for internal collaboration, don't have the luxury of learning as they go. Tony Rizzo, enterprise mobility specialist with Blue Hill Research, expl....
May 24, 2017
Mark Winther, head of IDC's global telecom consulting practice, gives us his take on how CPaaS providers evolve beyond the basic building blocks and address maturing enterprise needs.
May 18, 2017
Diane Myers, senior research director at IHS Markit, walks us through her 2017 UC-as-a-service report... and shares what might be to come in 2018.
April 28, 2017
Change isn't easy, but it is necessary. Tune in for advice and perspective from Zeus Kerravala, co-author of a "Digital Transformation for Dummies" special edition.
April 20, 2017
Robin Gareiss, president of Nemertes Research, shares insight gleaned from the firm's 12th annual UCC Total Cost of Operations study.
March 23, 2017
Tim Banting, of Current Analysis, gives us a peek into what the next three years will bring in advance of his Enterprise Connect session exploring the question: Will there be a new model for enterpris....
March 15, 2017
Andrew Prokop, communications evangelist with Arrow Systems Integration, discusses the evolving role of the all-important session border controller.
March 9, 2017
Organizer Alan Quayle gives us the lowdown on programmable communications and all you need to know about participating in this pre-Enterprise Connect hackathon.
March 3, 2017
From protecting against new vulnerabilities to keeping security assessments up to date, security consultant Mark Collier shares tips on how best to protect your UC systems.
February 24, 2017
UC analyst Blair Pleasant sorts through the myriad cloud architectural models underlying UCaaS and CCaaS offerings, and explains why knowing the differences matter.
February 17, 2017
From the most basics of basics to the hidden gotchas, UC consultant Melissa Swartz helps demystify the complex world of SIP trunking.
February 7, 2017
UC&C consultant Kevin Kieller, a partner at enableUC, shares pointers for making the right architectural choices for your Skype for Business deployment.
February 1, 2017
Elka Popova, a Frost & Sullivan program director, shares a status report on the UCaaS market today and offers her perspective on what large enterprises need before committing to UC in the cloud.
January 26, 2017
Andrew Davis, co-founder of Wainhouse Research and chair of the Video track at Enterprise Connect 2017, sorts through the myriad cloud video service options and shares how to tell if your choice is en....
January 23, 2017
Sheila McGee-Smith, Contact Center/Customer Experience track chair for Enterprise Connect 2017, tells us what we need to know about the role cloud software is playing in contact centers today.