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What Does IT Maturity Even Mean?

Aaron Lober

Seriously… What are people trying to say by “Your approach to IT Operations needs to mature”? Fair question. Billions of dollars are spent every year on software solutions to help IT organizations operate more efficiently. How could it be that with all that investment, we’re still not netting enough efficiency gains? The truth is, our technology landscape has evolved, our operational models have evolved, we have evolved.

When folks talk about making your IT Operations more mature, there are many different axes on which to achieve that growth. Most IT leaders think first about infrastructure and spend. That’s why so much money has been poured into the cloud over the last decade. I’d like to do something different. I’m going to make an explicit argument for maturing your operational model. 

Your engineering team is your most important asset and deciding how to leverage that asset to greatest effect is arguably the most important decision an IT leader can make. Far more important than how much to spend on cloud infrastructure.

DevOps, SRE, Platform Engineering. All are aimed at the goal of optimizing the way engineering teams create software and they can be used in tandem with one another to create complex systems more effectively.

Why are companies investing in SRE?

Companies invest in Site Reliability Engineering (SRE) because it helps them ensure the reliability, uptime, and performance of their systems and services. SRE teams are responsible for designing, building, and maintaining the infrastructure and systems that support a company's products and services, which can help improve the overall user experience. Additionally, SRE can help reduce downtime and outages, which can save a company money and improve its reputation. 

These can actually be broken out into 5 distinct motivational categories:

  1. Improved reliability and uptime of critical systems and services: SRE teams focus on ensuring the availability, performance, and scalability of critical systems and services, which can help reduce downtime and improve customer satisfaction.

  2. Enhanced monitoring and incident response: SRE teams use advanced monitoring and observability tools to identify potential issues before they become critical and have established processes for managing incidents and outages.

  3. Increased efficiency and productivity: SRE teams use automation and other techniques to reduce manual tasks and improve the efficiency of operations, allowing teams to focus on more important tasks.

  4. Improved collaboration and communication: SRE teams often work closely with development teams to ensure that new features and services are designed and implemented in a way that is scalable and reliable, which can improve collaboration and communication across teams.

  5. Better alignment with business goals: By focusing on improving the reliability and performance of critical systems and services, SRE teams can help align technology with business goals and drive better business outcomes.

It’s said by many that SRE is the full realization of DevOps. Its sociotechnical focus on improving the team incrementally is critical to maximizing the output of the engineering team over time.

Why are companies investing in platform engineering?

Investing in platform engineering can have a number of benefits, including:

Improved scalability: A well-designed platform can help ensure that your applications and services can handle increasing amounts of traffic and data without performance degradation. This can help your business grow and adapt to changing demands.

Increased efficiency: By providing a standardized and modular infrastructure for development, platform engineering can help streamline the process of building and deploying applications and services. This can help your team work more efficiently and reduce the time and resources required to bring new features and capabilities to market.

Enhanced security: A robust platform can help protect against security threats and vulnerabilities, ensuring that your applications and services are secure and compliant. This can help protect your business and its customers from data breaches and other security incidents.

Better collaboration: Platform engineering can help facilitate collaboration and integration between different teams and systems, enabling a more seamless and effective workflow across your organization.

Overall, investing in platform engineering can help ensure that your business has the scalable, efficient, and secure technology infrastructure it needs to thrive in today's digital landscape.

How can these work in tandem to mature my organization?

Platform engineering teams apply software engineering principles to accelerate software delivery. Platform engineers ensure application development teams are productive in all aspects of the software delivery lifecycle.

Site reliability engineering teams apply software engineering principles to improve reliability. Site reliability engineers minimize the frequency and impact of failures that can impact the overall reliability of a cloud application.

In tandem, these disciplines help achieve the two most important outcomes for IT leaders today according to Gartner:

  1. Increased development velocity
  2. Improved infrastructure resilience

Why you should focus here first

How you organize your team has a cascading impact on where you invest and what you create. Embracing an operational model that leverages some combination of SRE &/OR Platform Engineering is going to be quicker to evolve to capture the value in this new technology landscape.

If you’re interested in learning more about making the biggest impact you can when maturing, check out how Blameless can help. Start a free trial today.

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