What DevOps Means for Channel Partnerships

What DevOps Means for Channel Partnerships

The DevOps philosophy offers useful lessons for companies seeking to expand their channel presence and build better partnerships.

DevOps is all the rage these days, from startups to enterprises. If you're not doing DevOps, you're not only missing out on important efficiencies -- you may also be losing partners and channel influence. Here's why.

Briefly put, DevOps is an approach to software design and delivery that emphasizes being agile. Being agile means having people, processes and tools that can scale easily, be reorganized or reconfigured quickly and deliver software updates on a rapid, near-continuous basis.

The DevOps philosophy dates to the late 2000s. Over the past decade, it has become the driving mantra of IT organizations large and small.

DevOps and the Channel

What does DevOps have to do with the channel? The answer may not be abundantly obvious. DevOps is about the way software is designed, produced and managed; it may seem to have little to do with the way companies interact.

In fact, however, the channel can learn some useful lessons from DevOps. Consider the following points:

  • Constant collaboration and communication are key parts of a DevOps-centric strategy at most organization. For this reason, DevOps means that communication with your partners has become more important than ever -- particularly if you coordinate with them on software delivery or management.
  • Openness, which is important in order to maintain the flexibility to switch easily between different technologies and frameworks, is another key part of DevOps. This means that clinging to proprietary technologies or standards makes your company less attractive to potential partners who have embraced DevOps. Closed standards are a danger to DevOps.
  • Continuous, real-time action is paramount to DevOps -- which seeks to avoid the delays and missed opportunities that happen when plans are made far in advance of delivery and goals change by the time a project is finally complete. From a channel perspective, this means it's important to be able to coordinate constantly with your partners. It's no longer enough to meet once a year to discuss common plans; you need to be collaborating continuously.
  • DevOps redefines questions of scale. If you do DevOps well, you create a single set of tools and processes that work at any scale -- whether you're dealing with a very small or a very large project, or one in between. By extension, your channel strategy should allow you to treat all partners the same, regardless of their size. This is more efficient and lays the foundation for better channel relationships.

The influence of DevOps on the channel shouldn't be taken too far. At the end of the day, DevOps is an idea that is concerned with software, not the relationships between partner companies.

Still, by embracing DevOps principles and best practices, you just may be able to build a stronger channel strategy. The processes and ideas that make software delivery more efficient and more reliable could also improve your channel partnerships.

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