It’s hard to get where you’re going if you don’t know where you’re going.
Consider DevOps, the merger of development and operations processes to speed applications to market. If the buyer and seller have different definitions of what it is, they’ll expect different results. Which is a recipe for wasted time and money, not to mention unhappy customers.
You Say “DevOps,” I Say…”?????”
For dreary confirmation of the confusion, look no further than a recent report from B2B ratings and review firm Clutch. Clutch surveyed 247 IT professionals about their use of, and views about, DevOps, starting with a question about what DevOps is. The four leading choices, with the percent choosing each:
- 35%: “… a culture, movement or practice that emphasizes the collaboration and communication of both software developers and other [IT] professionals while automating the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes.” (from Wikipedia.)
- 24%: “…an approach to operations … uniting development and operations teams to automate and standardize processes for infrastructure deployment…” (From Rackspace.)
- 21%: “…a philosophy or ideology [with] many of the underlying principles and language … grounded in a combination of agile software development plus Kaizen, Lean Manufacturing, and Six Sigma methodologies.” (from Hewlett Packard Enterprise.)
- 20% “…the combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increases an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity.” (From Amazon Web Services.)
What is This, Religion?
Culture? Philosophy? Ideology? This spread of answers, with no definition getting support from more than about a third of the respondents, shows an alarming fuzziness around what customers expect from DevOps, and thus how providers should sell it.
Before you all start shouting that you can’t “sell” DevOps like a network router or a software testing project, I get it. But there is “stuff” you definitely do sell around DevOps, whether it’s cloud infrastructure, code repositories, training or consulting.
So to sell those DevOps-related products and services, how about focusing on the consistent themes across the definitions of 1) collaboration, 2) communication 3) automation and 4) standardization, all of which deliver the holy grail of faster time to market for new software and services.
In developing marketing content around DevOps products and services, then, avoid the religious wars around jargon and definition and focus on the key features and the benefits. For example:
- How our new chat software, code repository or staff training enable collaboration.
- How our workflow management, service monitoring or performance analytics software, or our best practices frameworks, improve communication.
- How our scripting tools, automation server or support for Puppet and Chef enable automation and
- How our development, orchestration or monitoring platforms increase standardization and thus improved reliability, performance and security.
And don’t forget, of course, examples from actual customers about how your products and services not boosted agility and sped new applications to market, but reduced costs or increased sales – the real bottom line.
If you’re looking for DevOps tools, by the way, check out this great list of 50 top DevOps tools, which does a great job of explaining the benefits of each. You’re also free to use, adapt or steal my sample drip campaign for DevOps products or services.
Do your customers, or clients, agree on what DevOps means and when they’ve achieved it? And does the confusion get in the way of effective marketing and customer success?