An Interview with Shivakumar “Shiva” Ravi, Head – Global Sales and Pre-Sales at Amdocs Testing Services
The DevOps movement is quickly gaining acceptance among Telecommunications companies, largely due to the need for faster application delivery in a highly competitive market. I often get asked how QA fits in with this new world of DevOps. Recently, I had an opportunity to discuss the DevOps and the Digital Testing trends in the Telecom industry with my friend and industry expert, Shiva Ravi, Global Head of Sales at Amdocs Testing. Here are some of the highlights of our conversation.
Michael Cooper: Shiva, for those who don’t know you, please share a bit about your background and your current role at Amdocs.
Shiva Ravi: I currently manage the global sales and presales teams. I interface with customers at the beginning of their journey with Amdocs Testing Services. As part of my job, I interact and collaborate extensively with Amdocs IT development and marketing teams, as well as solutions architects to help design and develop testing solutions for our customers. I also have the responsibility over the Testing Center of Excellence and developing a platform for assessing the health of the customer testing organization. I came from the Telecom billing background, so I have quite a few years of experience in the Telecom vertical, as well as testing.
Mike: In your opinion, what is DevOps, and how are customers implementing it?
Shiva: Ultimately, DevOps is about getting the Development team to think more about production issues and the Ops folks to work more closely with the Development team to build better quality into applications from the start. When I first started looking at DevOps, it wasn’t much more than a buzzword. It has taken a few years for the DevOps movement to get the attention of the CxO, but today, a growing number of companies are looking at DevOps as a way to address the growing demands that the business is placing on IT. Similar to agile, the popularity of DevOps is fueled by the need to deliver applications faster, to accelerate time to market. DevOps has become a culture; not a paradigm shift, but rather an evolution of how companies deliver their applications.
In my line of work, I see many CIOs and CTOs experimenting with DevOps, trying to find ways to make it meaningful to their specific organizations and business needs; working to find balance between keeping groups accountable for their own deliverables and collaborating between teams to deliver the product to the customer. It’s definitely gaining momentum – research shows that as many as 80% of all CxOs are now considering implementing DevOps strategies.
Mike: How can a CIO measure if their DevOps model is successful?
Shiva: Today’s IT is driven by the business. Each CIO has their own set of metrics and KPIs that revolve around the time to market, sales numbers, customer satisfaction, etc. The main measure of the DevOps model success is whether IT is able to deliver value to the customer. This is especially evident in the Telecom world, where IT plays a major part in the company’s ability to give their customers the latest, fastest, most feature-rich product. How you deliver business applications is driven by the business, and the success of your delivery model is measured by the business outcomes.
Mike: Is the DevOps concept one of the pillars of Digital Testing?
Shiva: Absolutely. The latest IT revolution is centered on mobile access. This has drastically changed the way applications are developed, tested, released and accessed by the end-user. Companies have moved from a monolithic model to a much more nimble and agile way, pushing testing to adapt along with it. QA now needs to test small functionality packets that are being delivered, and continue to test after the application has been released into production.
Mike: So – shifting left and a shifting right at the same time?
Shiva: Yes. Both QA and Ops need to be involved in application definition and design, early in the lifecycle and throughout the delivery process, so that they can plan for quality and test continuously. This concept of continuous testing also highlights the need for automation. Tools that help automate testing both before and after the go-live date can help organizations be more agile. Amdocs’ BEATTM framework and Ginger automation tools are now being used in both pre- and post-production testing, as organizations break their dependency on manual testing to accelerate application delivery. Amdocs also relies on other solutions, including Service Virtualization, to enable the shift toward continuous delivery.
Mike: Does an organization need to be agile in order to practice DevOps?
Shiva: DevOps is an enabler for the agile delivery model. Some organizations practice agile and DevOps without calling them by their proper names, but the key here is continuous testing. If a team works using a set of processes where continuous delivery and continuous testing is practiced, DevOps can help them reduce their delivery cycles.
If on the other hand a team works in a Waterfall model, DevOps is not likely to add much value to them.
Mike: Where do you see DevOps going in the future?
Shiva: To be honest, at the very beginning, I myself wasn’t sure if the DevOps model was here to stay. Today, it’s more than evident to me that DevOps is a slow and steady evolution that changes how companies do business. It’s becoming more relevant every day to companies around the world. Amdocs has helped many Telecom companies find the optimal solution for their delivery models, and DevOps is a big part of it. If today 80% of CxOs say that they are considering implementing DevOps, in three years, 80% would probably say that they have already done it.
Please comment and share your experiences with DevOps and Digital Testing. Check out my other Ask the Amdocs Testing Expert Blogs. Learn more about DevOps and Digital Testing services from Amdocs Testing.