The UK is significantly behind other markets in terms of DevOps adoption, according to a study of IT decision-makers across the UK, the US and Australia.
The study, conducted by Vanson Bourne, found that about a third of UK respondents (32%) were not familiar with the concept of DevOps.
Of those that were familiar with it, only four in 10 said they had implemented DevOps practices.
In comparison, 66% of US businesses and 50% of Australian businesses have already implemented DevOps strategies.
DevOps is an IT practice where tasks performed by a company's application development team are merged with those performed by its systems operations team.
It brings the development and operations teams closer together through automation, enabling the business to react to change quickly. Merging the two teams improves collaboration and productivity by automating infrastructure, automating workflows and continuously measuring application performance.
In a traditional IT set-up, the two teams work in isolation. This leads to frustration and inefficiencies, with each team not understanding the limitations or challenges of the other. More crucially, IT and the business are both badly affected.
Under the DevOps approach, the teams work together and release smaller, more frequent updates, which help to increase efficiency, reduce errors and improve IT quality. DevOps practices also tear down the silos and communication gaps that usually exist between software engineers, IT and other parts of the business.
The Vanson Bourne study found that the UK businesses using DevOps experienced a 41% reduction in application downtime. They also had better customer conversion (40%) and customer engagement (34%) as well as reduced IT infrastructure spend (32%).
"UK companies are compromising the ability to compete on a global level by not acknowledging the latest approaches to developing and deploying software," warned Chris Jackson, CTO of DevOps Services at Rackspace, which commissioned the study.
"By reacting slowly to new methods which can significantly reduce IT costs, British businesses may find themselves unable to operate as efficiently as other regions. This is a big problem considering the IT sector is regarded as being key to the UK’s future economic success."
According to the survey, the UK businesses questioned build and release an average of 17 new applications every year, and upgrade or release new features to existing apps 77 times per year.
With such a significant number of releases each year, DevOps is an opportunity for UK businesses to increase speed, improve stability and make cost-savings in their software application development process, according to Rackspace.
This is highlighted by those already implementing DevOps. Benefits include faster time to market for new features (49%), more stable operating environments (45%) and improved collaboration of project teams (38%).
One UK business that has implemented DevOps is the new media company, Ceem Technology.
"When we first began using cloud services to support our personalised video messaging platform and content, DevOps was unheard of. Since then our needs have increased dramatically and DevOps has been a real benefit," said Ceem chief executive Simon Mellamphy.
The study also highlighted the differences in DevOps approaches between the UK and other regions. It found that the US and Australian businesses worked more on the cultural aspects of DevOps practices as a priority: fully integrating the development team and the operations team (53% and 56% respectively) and aligning DevOps goals to business goals (56% and 38% respectively).
UK respondents said they focus on technical DevOps practices as a priority – 41% had implemented application monitoring and 39% automated testing. Only 31% said they had aligned DevOps and business goals. Of the firms that have implemented DevOps, over a third of UK businesses (36%) said they did not have any DevOps specific roles.
"The research shows that UK businesses need to do more to instil core DevOps principles of breaking down traditional team siloes and aligning development and deployment goals around the wider business’ commercial objective," Jackson said.