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How to pitch continuous integration and continuous delivery across your organization

Let’s face it: Traditional approaches to software development—like the infamous waterfall model—can’t keep up with the fast pace of business change and the soaring expectations of employees and customers. Users want new functionality, bug fixes, and better experiences right away, not when the latest version of a monolithic application finally debuts a year from now.

In order to stay competitive, forward-thinking organizations are moving toward a new gold standard: continuous integration and continuous delivery, or CI/CD, in which developers frequently merge their code changes into a shared repository, run automated tests to verify quality, and release features in bite-sized pieces as often as possible. But many CIOs who hope to implement CI/CD face a formidable obstacle: an inflexible corporate culture. Indeed, in a 2013 survey of 600 technology professionals by Evans Data Corporation, 59% of respondents said their staff was ready for continuous delivery, but only 40% said their organizational culture was.

So how can you build momentum for CI/CD across your organization, from the ground up and from the top down? Highlight the benefits that will most resonate with the teams and individuals whose buy-in you need—and back up your claims with as much research as possible. Keep reading for a few ideas to get you started.

Audience: Everybody 
Pitch: CI/CD can help accelerate business growth and increase revenue.

Nothing can galvanize an entire organization like a potential boost to its bottom line, so here are some numbers that everyone from your CEO to your summer intern will appreciate: On average, companies that adopt DevOps—a development methodology that enables CI/CD—see a 40% improvement in new business growth, according to a May 2016 survey by Coleman Parkes of 1,770 senior business and IT leaders around the world. In an earlier and oft-cited survey of 1,300 senior IT decision-makers worldwide, conducted in 2013 by Vanson Bourne, respondents who had implemented DevOps reported a resulting increase in revenue of 19% on average.

CI/CD shortens time to market for

new products and features, so they

can start generating revenue


Why might CI/CD lead to higher earnings? It shortens time to market for new products and features, so they can can start generating revenue—while helping your company meet and exceed customer expectations—sooner. Automation of testing and other tasks lets developers focus more on profitable projects and less on worthless busywork. 

And finally, early detection of errors can help eliminate the risk or limit the duration of application downtime, which costs Fortune 1000 companies $500,000 to $1 million per hour, a 2014 IDC survey found.

Audience: CEO, other executives

Pitch: The competition is already doing it.

DevOps adoption reached 74% in 2016, up from 62% in 2014, according to a RightScale survey of 1,060 technical professionals. And in a January 2017 survey of 732 IT professionals by Dimensional Research, respondents revealed an increased reliance on the techniques and tools of CI/CD compared to the previous year. These include hourly (14%) or daily (34%) deployments, automated tests (87%), cloud-based testing (52%), and agile processes (89%).

What does this mean for your business? Others in your industry have already seized upon the processes, tools, and organizational structures that fuel CI/CD. And for many, their ability to iterate quickly and react to user feedback will become a competitive differentiator.

Audience: IT, QA, customer support

Pitch: Catching mistakes early helps you spend more time on meaningful work.

In a traditional software development cycle, testing happens after all coding work has been completed, when errors may be hard to track down and fix before the next release. With CI/CD, automated tests start running as early as possible, helping to ensure excellence while preventing fire drills and delays.

Teams that deploy frequently spend

29% more time designing and

building new features.

The upshot? According to a 2016 survey of 25,000 technical professionals by Puppet and Dora, teams that deploy frequently spend 22% less time than traditional teams on bug fixes and rework; as a result, they spend 29% more time designing and building new features.

So not only does CI/CD build quality and reliability into every update, but it lets developers shift their focus from cleaning up messes to exploring big ideas.

Audience: Sales, marketing, customer service

Pitch: Customers feel more satisfied and heard when products continuously evolve.

These days, customers want flawless and innovative digital solutions that constantly gain new features and instantly address user feedback with updates and repairs. In an era of anywhere, anytime access, they’ve lost patience for the long development cycles of traditional on-prem software, in which new versions shipped every few years.

Designed to shorten time to market and get innovations into people’s hands as often as possible, CI/CD helps businesses meet the expectations of today’s demanding customers. It also makes it easier for development teams to make changes in response to users’ ideas and requests. No surprise, then, that 87% of advanced DevOps users who responded to the Coleman Parkes survey reported an improved customer experience. And nearly half the respondents to a 2015 IDC survey said their organization adopted DevOps to increase customer satisfaction and engagement.

Audience: Information security, legal, compliance

Pitch: Security is built in from the very beginning.

For business and technology leaders who have lingering reservations about CI/CD, security often tops their list of concerns. But in many cases, CI/CD can improve the security and reliability of an application.

At companies that deploy code

multiple time a day, employees

spend 50% less time remediating

security issues.

Instead of performing a security assessment after the development phase, security experts can work closely with developers to provide input and clarification from the very beginning of the software project, using automated testing tools to streamline security reviews if desired.

At companies that deploy code multiple times a day, employees spend 50% less time remediating security issues, according to the survey by Puppet and Dora.

Audience: HR

Pitch: Employees are happier and work harder in organizations that embrace CI/CD.

Free snacks, casual Fridays...and continuous integration and delivery of software? It may not be your typical perk, but CI/CD may help brighten employees’ days. Alternatively, work cultures that support CI/CD may have unrelated characteristics that foster employee satisfaction and loyalty.

Ready for the numbers? At companies that deploy code multiple times a day, employees are 2.2 times more likely to recommend their organization to a friend as a great place to work, the Puppet and Dora survey determined. Meanwhile, the Coleman Parkes survey found that DevOps improves employee productivity by 43%. The streamlined processes and automated testing of CI/CD surely come into play here, but it’s also worth noting that people get more done when they’re happy. And since companies with engaged workforces grow significantly faster than their peers, that’s no small thing.