January 31, 2017

New Research Data: The Biggest Delays to Digital Transformation Initiatives

Datical and CIO Magazine have released some research on what are the biggest delays Digital Transformation Initiatives. After looking over the report and underlying raw data, I’ve seen a few things have surprised me, flat out proved me wrong, and confirmed my suspicions.

Surprise!One way to describe the relationship between Development and Database Administrators is “sibling rivalry”. “Begrudging respect” is another. Still another is “white hot hatred.” Ok, maybe it’s not that bad, but it is a rare occasion when you can have those two disparate groups agree so completely. And here it is: 91% of DBAs and 90% of Development Managers believe database changes are slowing down the release process.

The disconnect between these two groups, and the cause of my surprise, is that they have two very different world views. Development must make changes. And, for the DBA, change is the enemy of stability. Amazing that both groups, by an overwhelming majority, find agreement.

Got That One Wrong!As the report states: “IT leaders are looking to extend the benefits experienced with single-purpose web apps.” Frankly I was way off as I believed it would take far longer for companies to realize value from siloed, single-purpose applications that have been part of a digital transformation initiative. I’ve been working with large Fortune 500 IT groups for years. And, they move slow. It takes time to turn an aircraft carrier and the same applies to these large organizations. But, the speed at which they are adopting these new ways to conduct business is mind blowing and is WAY further along than I would have thought.

I believe Matt Assay nailed it when he described how the “rich get richer” when it comes to benefiting from improving software delivery. Business leaders are terrified of being Ubered in their respective industry. Verticals like Financial Services, Retail, and Healthcare all have reasons to be concerned about competitive threats. Moreover, these industries required massive amounts of capital to get started. With technology, smaller, more nimble competitors can take high-margin businesses from these companies leaving them a shell of their former self. cough Sears cough.

I Knew It!It’s getting worse. Always said it and now I have confirmation from DBAs, 75% of whom said there has been an increase in the number and frequency of database change requests.

I often show this video from “I Love Lucy” at conferences when I describe how upstream teams are impacting DBAs. On the other side of that wall is Application Release Automation, DevOps, Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, Agile Software Development. Those teams are super excited and gladly pass down their releases on the conveyor belt. Of course, handling those requests for database change are still manual.

To that end, survey respondents see Database Release Automation has key. A majority of respondents believe that specific type of automation will solve the database release problem. However, more than half believed their current level of DevOps automation was not able to support databases.

Of course, databases are pretty tricky thing to automated. No other part of the application stack has persistent state like that database. Even more dangerous is that the data is the most important asset in that production stack. Accidentally break something in the database schema and you’re in for a world of hurt…from your coworkers, partners, and customers.

Security is a priority for the survey respondents. Because of that, most companies were content to slow down releases due to manual review of database changes. After all, that was the only option available to them…until Datical DB, of course.

Check out the full report here and see how Datical DB can help you automate your database release process, so your company can innovate. After all, your business depends on it.

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