All Together Now: DevOps, UC & Collaboration

An Interop ITX speaker believes that DevOps can help unified communication (UC) teams work together more efficiently and effectively on a wide range of issues and challenges.

John Burke, CIO and principal research analyst at Nemertes Research, believes that DevOps offers unified communication and collaboration (UCC) teams a unique opportunity to radically restructure traditional rollouts and better align initiatives with user needs while ensuring that network performance, security and governance are fully addressed. Burke will lead the conference session, "All Together Now: Weaving Together DevOps, UC & Collaboration," at Interop ITX on May 18.

According to Burke, there are three different ways of getting DevOps and UCC to work together to create new capabilities and help speed projects through to completion. The first approach, Burke says, is to take advantage of new microservice-accessible communication technologies, such as Communications Platform as a Service (CPaaS). "CPaaS opens up unified communications tools to next-gen applications by allowing the application to make a call out to a cloud platform, allowing the user to click-to-call or click-to-establish-a-chat-session, or allowing an application to send a text message updating somebody on their package delivery or whatever," he says. "The idea is that by atomizing the communications services and offloading the work to a web service, you make unified communications much more amenable to DevOps-based projects."

A second method is using UCC tools to facilitate DevOps team operations. "If you're using email to collaborate with your DevOps partners, you're doing DevOps wrong," he says. "You really need more flexible, fluid, immediate and responsive communications among team members in order to make the whole thing work," he notes. Burke encourages use of group chat applications -- such as Slack -- and having the ability to flexibly spin-up desktop sharing or shared whiteboard collaboration sessions at the drop of a hat. "You need the ability to spin up immediate conference calling and other tools that make it easier for people to collaborate during the course of DevOps work," he explains.

The third approach is taking a DevOps approach to selecting and deploying UCC solutions. "Instead of following the standard model of going through a very detailed process of developing requirements, and then an RFP or RFI, and then gathering information about how well a solution meets all your requirements, and then on and on and on, why not take the more agile and iterative approach of laying down the primary requirements as quickly as possible and then trying some solutions that look like they will work and iterating from there?" Burke asks. "And, of course, making sure that the people developing the requirements and testing the solutions represent not just communications staff but also end users and security and network staff."

At each point in the process, Burke notes, "the  solution's ability to meet the needs of users is being lined up with and compared against its performance and its ability to implement basic security measures, as well as other key aspects of using, managing and providing the solution."