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How DevOps Gives Your SaaS Start-Up A Competitive Advantage

To win in the competitive SaaS (Software as a Service) marketplace, you need a quality product. But, a great idea and a solid initial build won’t guarantee market share. To grow your user base and revenue on (or ahead of) schedule, you must be able to:

  • Deliver new code quickly and reliably
  • Create a scalable, resilient application environment
  • Offer users a killer experience

DevOps automation makes continuous delivery, high scalability and high resiliency easier to achieve than ever before – especially when combined with the functionality of Amazon Web Services (AWS). With DevOps, SaaS start-up and growth-stage companies are able to achieve strategic goals faster and offer a better user experience, gaining a much-needed competitive advantage and standing out in the competitive SaaS market.

The Power Of DevOps

Continuous delivery is mission-critical. Bugs and interruptions sap user confidence, making users less likely to evangelize your brand and more likely to use a competing service instead.

To compete with enterprise-level SaaS companies and gain an edge over other start-ups, you need DevOps automation. By automating every environment build – from development and QA to pre-production and production – DevOps lets you release new code as frequently as you need to instead of scheduled releases. This, in turn, enables you to resolve issues and make important improvements with lightning speed, keeping you agile and helping you meet customer needs (and expectations) as well as respond to new challenges in the competitive landscape.

Case in point: According to Puppet Labs’ 2015 State of DevOps Report, companies that implement DevOps deploy code 30 times more frequently, have 200 times shorter lead times and recover from failure 168 times faster. That’s a lot of golden opportunity to stay ahead of the pack.

Beyond speed, DevOps offers SaaS start-ups several other benefits, including better team collaboration, performance monitoring and profitability.

Getting Started With DevOps

To make DevOps automation part of your SaaS application strategy, you must:

  1. Evaluate your architecture and processes. To realize the dream of continuous integration and delivery, make sure your app and workflow are built to align with DevOps. Think microservices, self-contained but interacting functional blocks that, together, comprise your app as a whole. And, commit to compiling your code early and often; don’t save integration for the end of that waterfall you’re leaving behind.
  2. Map out deployment. In order to improve deployment speed and make continuous delivery a reality, map out every step of your deployment process from start to finish. Identify inconsistencies and standardize your process wherever possible.
  3. Automate deployment. Once you’ve mapped out and standardized your deployment process, automate delivery to the point at which anyone in your organization can deliver code with the push of a button.
  4. Automate testing. To prevent bugs from slipping through the cracks and make rollbacks easier, automate your testing process, too. Get your team on board with new testing protocols to fill every metaphorical crack.
  5. Alerting. Monitor every step of deployment with automated alerts to notify your team when something goes wrong, in real time.
  6. Tighten feedback loops. As your team gets used to receiving and addressing alerts, tighten feedback loops to increase your issue resolution velocity.

To get your DevOps program rolling, you’ll need an experienced Solutions Architect and several DevOps engineers in your corner. Your Architect’s primary role is to create the bridge between business, product and technical strategy. Your Architect assesses your business goals and needs, maps out key processes for automation and designs a robust, scalable cloud environment for application delivery. From there, your engineers execute, automating processes and monitoring activity in line with the Architect’s master plan.

Augmenting your team with Managed DevOps allows you to harness the skills and experience of multiple Solution Architects and DevOps Engineers without the high initial costs of bringing them all on board at once. Consider working with a Managed DevOps service provider to implement DevOps strategy and resources as smoothly and cost-effectively as possible.

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