The ensuing digital revolution and maturing of the outsourcing and offshoring industries are changing the context in which large outsourcers engage with service providers. The Managed Services model of engagement is slowly giving way to the DevOps** model, in the sense that asks from the customer are no longer framed in the IT context but in the larger context of business outcomes. As asks evolve, so will solutions which will bring user centricity to traditional ADM services and leverage automation to eliminate labor, further driving down costs.
The following infographic captures the shift from Managed Services to the evolving DevOps** deals:
* EM stands for Engagement Model
** DevOps being a very flexible term, I have taken the liberty to connote it to an engagement model that requires the service provider to engage with business units, not just IT
RFP Context and Customer Asks: The Managed Services (MS) context was largely IT driven, whereas, Digital and DevOps, while valuing the MS context, have taken the next logical step of making a tangible difference to business outcomes in the form of improvement in user experience, customer retention, etc.
Solution Elements: I have captured a brief overview of key solution elements that will make a difference in DevOps type of deals. In due course, as part of separate blogs, I will elaborate these elements in greater detail.
• Agile capabilities: Service providers have been toying with agile on the AD front for more than a decade now. Agile is becoming the default software development methodology and that the support team is being subsumed into the traditional agile development team to create a common dev and support team. This will pave the way for continuous deployment, which in turn will enable new features reaching out to the end customer faster than before.
• Automation: The focus on automation is to look for opportunities towards labor elimination. There are companies such as Moogsoft offering solutions that correlate application, network, and infrastructure events and alerts to preempt an incident. Release Automation tools from companies such as Automic reduce manual intervention in deployment and enable deployment of fresh code faster than ever before.
• Deep-domain expertise: There is a requirement of a strong techno-functional role that can liaise with business to prioritize user stories to ensure every hour of effort translates into maximum business impact. Domain depth can help service providers provide recommendations on continual improvements that can have a tangible impact on business outcomes.
• Transition strategy: The blurring of lines of between development and support and large-scale automation will require adapting the traditional transition methodology to the emerging scenario. The intercept strategy used to take over in-flight projects will provide instructive guidance. The traditional focus on knowledge transfer will have to be coupled with understanding the extent of automation, the tools used, and the licensing arrangement for these tools.
• Journey Maps and User Personas: The end customer has to be the centerpiece of all Digital and DevOps solutions. The user personas create profiles of prospective end customers while the journey maps connect the touch points of the service with the end customer and the likely action of the end customer.
• Cloud capabilities: The increased use of public and private cloud will require service providers to improve their capabilities to migrate to and manage applications in such environments.
In conclusion, as service providers race for high margin DevOps deals, they will need to incubate new capabilities, establish fresh alliances and take an end customer view rather than an internal IT view.