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From DevOps to NoOps – how to automate your chocolate factory

RZW pasfoto 2020
Ruben van der Zwan
CEO & Co-Founder
Willy Wonka scaled
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We just recovered from the DevOps trend, or a new term is knocking on our door: NoOps. While 2016 was all about combining Development and Operations (hence, DevOps) to optimize and speed up software development, we now seem to move on to No Operations at all. But how can we go from DevOps to NoOps if there’s still so much ambiguity around the concepts? In this article, we get into this problem by using one of the simplest metaphors we can think of: the chocolate factory.

Old-fashioned Willy Wonka

We’ve all seen Charly and the Chocolate Factory (if not, go and watch it). Little boy Charly gets a free tour through one of the world’s most innovative factories, owned by Willy Wonka and managed by Oompa loompas. They visit the R&D section, where new and brilliant ideas are developed and carefully tested. In a department, that is only accessible by boat, Willy Wonka.jpgthese ideas are turned into actual products. This method may have worked perfectly in the late 20s; today, such a production process is sabotaging growth in every sense of the word. If the development and operations departments are kept separate, mutual communication will be incomplete, resulting in lower product quality. Additionally, time to market can’t be shortened, due to the many different teams involved, who all have their own time schemes and priority lists.

Agile Tony Chocolonely

The solution to this problem lies in integrating development and operations into one, hybrid team of multidisciplinary professionals that designs, builds, tests, and launches the chocolate, software, or whatever you’re working with. Combining developments and operations (hence, DevOps) allows you to rapidly create new products and services that can be launched in no time and contribute to your competitive advantage. We all know and love Tony Chocolonely (if not, go and try it). Not only do they produce delicious and sustainable chocolate; this company introduces new flavors on a frequent basis, anticipating its highly demanding and impatient customer base. They are the perfect example of an agile business that knows how to face the digital era, in which you must be terrifically fast and flexible if you want to survive.

Pop up chocolate shop

This DevOps approach sounds good, but where do you find the right people? Does your IT department consist of enough IT gurus that get the job done? If the answer is no, you probably suffer from the infamous IT delivery gap. This gap is the difference between your business demands and the actual output of your IT department, caused by undercapacity of the latter. This is where even DevOps can’t save you, as this approach still revolves around people. So why not move to no operations at all? When shifting from DevOps to NoOps, you completely automate the development, management, and monitoring of your applications and their environments. To do so, you need so-called pre-built “stacks” that you can implement in your infrastructure. These stacks are self-learning and can be set up pretty much everywhere, thanks to cloud computing. To stick with the chocolate factory metaphor: transportable, flexible, and high quality as they are, NoOps projects are like automated pop up candy shops on a random festival terrain.

Start cooking

To make your NoOps pop up shops successful, you still need people, though. Although the application environment itself can be pre-built, someone must create the new recipes. Thanks to the stacks, your IT profssionals can focus on this process entirely, which will definitely speed things up. And as getting started with something as highly specialized as NoOps is complex, a third party like an ISV (Independent Software Vendor) comes in handy, too. Their professionals can team up with yours, define business rules, and deploy pluggable fully automated stacks that contain all the components that you need. There’s even the possibility to take your entire IT infrastructure to the cloud, which relieves your employees from workload, allowing them to act faster while making less mistakes.

Go digital!

Chances are we caused some chocolate cravings, but we hope you get the bigger picture. When you ask us, the shift from DevOps to NoOps will soon be a fact, meaning NoOps will be adopted by all kinds of businesses around the world. We suggest you don’t wait until that day, though. Innovativeness is what makes the difference between getting by and winning, and in IT, this means you’ll have to transform and transform fast.