With more than 20 years of field experience and working with the leading IT partners, Digital Architects Zurich developed a blueprint to support digital transformation. In this blog post, we will present this blueprint for the Digital Highway for reliable and continuous software delivery and operations.

The challenge of successful Digital Transformation

In order to capture the benefits from new digital business channels or simply to keep up with competitors, digital transformation is becoming increasingly vital for many organizations around the globe1Eight in ten respondents say their organizations have undertaking efforts in digital transformation, according to a McKinsey online survey, 2018.. However, assuring the success of such transformation initiatives is a major challenge for many leaders and decision makers.

Digital Transformation is even more difficult than traditional change (success rate less than 26%2McKinsey online Survey, 2018.), field surveys and industry analysts report. The reports also show that one of the key factors in order to succeed such a challenging transformation, is the adoption of enabling technologies such as the Cloud, Artificial intelligence, Big Data, Continuous Delivery, IoT and others.

Successful Digital Transformations should be holistic and cover a cultural and operating model transformation, in addition to the technology stack modernization leveraging modern capabilities. That is a strong belief within Digital Architects Zurich.

Digital operating models towards the DevOps continuum

Agile principles in general and especially DevOps as a collaboration model are the most mentioned solution approaches, when it comes to the digital operating model.

In fact, many organizations following a digital transformation strategy are seeking for a flexible and high-speed software delivery pipeline in order to empower the cross-functional DevOps teams to innovate and deploy new functionalities at a high frequency. At Digital Architects Zurich, we call this central infrastructure in a digital operating model: The Digital Highway for Reliable and Continuous Software Delivery & Operations.

While modern technologies have emerged (like container-management platforms, infrastructure provisioning, deployment automation, software QA automation and AIOps) to help companies solve major challenges related to such digital highways, many organizations are struggling to reach moderate or high maturity in terms of the DevOps Continuum (see DevOps Continuum Diagram below). Its aim being an automated software delivery from the code repository to pre-production (Continuous Delivery) or production (Continuous Deployment).
Actually, many organizations are blocked in the Continuous Integration stage and need to manually promote and release the software features through the pipelines despite high investments in container-management platforms, public cloud infrastructure and other DevOps tooling.

Source: DevOps Continuum, digital.ai

Digital Highway for Continuous Software Delivery

Through many years of field experience and expertise working with clients from various horizons, and in collaboration with our technology partners leading the cloud-native Continuous Delivery and AIOps spaces, we developed a high quality know-how. Assisting clients in building technological and methodological frameworks to embed Software Quality Assurance and Measurement into application life cycle phases and environments, we, at Digital Architects Zurich, have created a blueprint to build the Digital Highway for Continuous and Reliable Software Delivery.

This blueprint is based on 3 fundamental pillars (more details on each of these in future blog posts):

  1. Cloud-Native and AI-driven Continuous Delivery Pipeline

A pipeline to transport, package and deploy the software artefacts from their source (e.g. git) to their final destination: the users.
Key features of the pipelines include: Continuous Verification, incremental release strategies, post-production end-user experience validation, artificial intelligence (AI) engine to ingest and analyse data from several monitoring sources.

2. Cloud-Native and AI-driven IT Operations (AIOps)

Due to the dynamic and elastic nature of today’s container-based and cloud-environments, the approach to efficiently manage reliability of cloud-native applications requires an engine that is able to ingest real-time monitoring and infrastructure data and apply IT Operations oriented machine learning to data streams in forms of metrics, events or logs. This is what we understand as AIOps.

3. Effective SRE-Centric Operating Model

The third pillar of the digital highway suggested by Digital Architects Zurich is not around technologies like the first two introduced above. It is about the operating model required to co-build, pilot, operate, maintain and continuously improve software delivery and service operations. The Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) principles and practices established by Google3Site Reliability Engineering (Beyer, Jones, Petoff, Murphy, 2016) are a proven and vital ingredient for a successful Cloud and DevOps adoption.
However, they are not easy to adopt. To allow any organisation leveraging the key elements of SRE, Digital Architects Zurich have developed the concept of “Effective SRE” with the intention to democratise the SRE approach and make it accessible for any company to build the Digital Highway for Continuous and Reliable SW Delivery with a clear set of disciplines, capabilities, trainings and adoption paths.

References

  1. Eight in ten respondents say their organizations have undertaking efforts in digital transformation, according to a McKinsey online survey, 2018.
  2. McKinsey online Survey, 2018.
  3. Site Reliability Engineering, Beyer, Jones, Petoff, Murphy, 2016.