Sneak Peek: Gene Kim on Digital Transformation

by Community Team August 18, 2016 | 4 min read

gene-kimPagerDuty Summit Sneak Peek

With PagerDuty Summit less than a month away, we sat down with one of our featured  speakers — entrepreneur and best-selling author, Gene Kim — to get his thoughts on digital transformation. Founder and award winning CTO of Tripwire for 13 years, Gene has gone on to write three books, including, The Phoenix Project, The Visible Ops Handbook, and the upcoming, DevOps Handbook. Tapping into his expertise around the state of DevOps practices, we asked Gene about his experience with digital transformation and how it’s changing IT and operational models across every industry.

What does digital transformation mean to you? How have you witnessed transformation?

Now, more than ever, every organization is reliant upon the technology value stream to achieve its goals, whether it is winning in the marketplace, quickly delivering features to customers, providing reliable, stable and secure service, ensuring compliance with laws and regulations, and so forth.

That means that Development and Operations must work more closely to ensure that work can move quickly through the technology value stream, that feedback is radiated and amplified at every step, not only to developers, but also to product owners so that they can see how customers are using their product.

I’ve had the privilege for the last three years of studying how large, complex organizations are adopting DevOps principles and patterns at the DevOps Enterprise Summit. There is no doubt that DevOps is not just for the unicorns such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Netflix, it is for horses, as well.

What are your key investment areas to accelerate digital transformation in the next 1-3 years?

One of the most remarkable surprises in studying DevOps transformations was driving the transformation — there is a widely held belief in the Operations community, that DevOps is often driven by renegade Development groups, finally fed up with Ops getting in the way and driving workloads to the cloud.

However, among the population of speakers at the DevOps Enterprise Summit, the most prevalent title was Director of Operations, followed by Chief Architect, followed by Director of Development. In other words, in the majority of the case studies, it is actually Operations that is blazing the trail of all these practices that help make developers productive!

What trend forced change in your organization?

Again, based on the presentations, there were many similar themes for the business need that enabled a DevOps transformation: the need to compete with companies such as Google and Amazon, the inability to achieve organizational goals when the majority of technology had been outsourced, and super-heroic efforts required to move code into the production environment.

As Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric, famously stated, “Every industry and company that is not bringing software to the core of their business will be disrupted.”

As an industry leader, what trend do you believe is moving the industry forward as a whole?

There is no doubt in my mind that DevOps is being more widely adopted, across every industry vertical, across every geography, regardless of organizational size and even whether they are for-profit or not-for-profit. To me, this is very exciting because it paints a future where all 8 million Devs and 8 million Ops people can be as productive as if they were at a Google or an Amazon. There is no doubt that the economic value that will be created by this will be measured in the trillions of dollars — when we create that much economic value, suddenly, many problems that seem intractable now are possible, such as climate change, poverty, etc.

pagerduty-summitWhat can audience members expect to learn from your session at PagerDuty Summit?

I’ll be sharing my seventeen-year journey of studying high-performing technology organizations, as well as what we’ve learned in four years of the State of DevOps research, which has surveyed more than 25,000 technical professionals worldwide to better understand the technical practices, cultural norms, and Lean management practices we associate with DevOps (this is work that I did alongside Jez Humble, Dr. Nicole Forsgren, and Alanna Brown and Nigel Kersten from Puppet).


See Gene Kim at PagerDuty Summit! Space is limited, register today.