Historically we have had separations between the different roles in IT. Starting out with analysts and developers (with a distinction between system developers and application developers). Of course we also have (or had) the people who administered our computers (system administrators) and the helpdesk people. Currently a lot of companies are moving to the the DevOps paradigm where people assume both development and operation roles. However, NoOps is just around the corner. According to Techtarget (there is no NoOps wiki page): “In a NoOps scenario, maintenance and other tasks performed by the operations team would be automated”. But I believe that there is something better for organizations. I call it ThemOps.
NoOps of course is possible because of Cloud computing and in general the level of automation that we can achieve using tools like Ansible, Puppet, Chef and lots of other tools that automate all aspects of the software development, management and operations. It’s quite funny to see that many of these tools actually use scripts and other configuration files. These files are parsed. In 2018 I wrote a blog about how ongoing automation has an impact on the support engineer.
I like the term ThemOps. The definition of ThemOps is: “The possibility to enjoy the benefits of systems but not the drawbacks, by using a third party (“Them”) to operate in the widest sense of the word.”. In other words, the third party takes care of all of the operational stuff.
As a side note, while writing this article, I also found out that there was a psychedelic Japanse rock band in the sixties called The Mops. I’ve listened a bit to their music, they are on Spotify, but it is not my cup of tea.
ThemOps is exactly what I believe organizations are looking for. Because an (online) bike shop wants to sell bikes and a bank wants to offer services (e.g. credit) to its customers. Do what you are good at is your company’s raison d’être. Focus is good for you! We have grown accustomed to the idea that we need to have a lot of people with IT skills in house but I believe that should not be the case.
I believe that for most organizations IT capabilities are not needed when they use ThemOps. But what competences do you need in order to work with ThemOps. You do need people that know what your processes are and who can explain them. This is not a trivial skill. Because that is what is going to determine the configuration. “But don’t you need IT skills to understand what is possible?”, you might ask. It does help to have knowledge about IT concepts but knowing what you want to do business wise is more important. Let “them” figure how to realize it.
Let me give you an example from the online bike shop. If you are able to tell us how many visitors you have, how they find your online shop and some other key criteria we can set it up to perform that task. Because, do you really care about how we setup the High Availability or on which servers it runs in what datacenter? No, I believe it is about the business that you are running, not about the things that enable your business.
With that concept in mind, we developed Connext. Our Connext platform is our ’ThemOps’ solution. This 24/7 managed WSO2 Cloud solution is built on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and the open source WSO2 Integration Agile Platform for API management, Enterprise Service Bus and Identity and Access Management, all in the Cloud. Connext facilitates the ability to integrate databases, applications, services and processes without the worries and hassles that usually comes with it. Connext will allow you to run your business without being distracted by all kinds of IT stuff.