3 Must-Haves to Master Digital Operations
November 09, 2021

Corey Hulen
Mattermost

Software is taking over the modern world, and the pressure is on developers (when is it not?). Dev teams are expected to produce high-quality software at rapid speed and then wake up (if they even sleep) and do it all over again.

Expectations have only surged since the onset of the global pandemic. Next year's digital operations initiative became this week's rollout. The pressure to deliver innovation and performance shined a spotlight on the fragmented tools, fragile workflows, and talent shortages that developer teams face.

Faced with these challenges, we have seen reports that a majority (82%) of organizations fail to successfully adopt agile practices, let alone master digital operations. It's not easy and is only getting more complicated for dynamic environments where teams, technology, and knowledge are still siloed. But consider this: 40% of a developer's time is wasted due to tool fragmentation, broken workflows and manual task management. Add in emergencies caused by system failures and constantly shifting priorities, and it's no surprise that burnout is high.

Tool fragmentation and sprawl stands also out as one of the primary obstacles to accelerating developer-led digital operations. Too many tools, especially ones that are not designed with developer workflows and integrations in mind, hinders productivity. Without a unified collaboration experience, and the customization, integration and security controls necessary, developers, and the broader R&D teams they serve, are left without the alignment, visibility, and control needed to truly accelerate digital operations.

The good news is that there is a solution. Frictionless collaboration, with visibility and control across an integrated tool set, is achievable.

Here's a look at three collaboration tool must-haves to master digital developer collaboration:

1. Customization and visibility

Developers need the ability to customize their collaboration flows if they want to master digital operations. Complete visibility into their workflows, and the systems they serve, is a critical component for alignment, too.

So how can developers customize and activate workflows to improve the way they collaborate and get stuff done? They need to use tools that transcend general-purpose collaboration to include automation, slash commands, bot integrations, code snippets, and rich markdown formatting. Tools need to be designed for the way they work, with access to source code, the ability to build custom interactive apps, context-rich integrations and more.

Developers also need a focused set of tools with a unified user interface and extensibility to integrate deeply with a vast ecosystem of third-party technical tools, providing a single point of collaboration to have greater visibility and control of their team's work. This control also enables flexibility, allowing developers to deploy the right tools they need to perform at their own pace and preference across the development lifecycle.

Bonus points if the platform can be self-hosted or deployed via private cloud to meet the strictest security, privacy, and compliance requirements. And, of course, developers have a preference for open source tools that provide access to source code, so their team can customize solutions based upon their specific use cases.

2. Automation

Built-in automation can take customization a step further and save developers precious time by allowing them to shift their focus from low value, routine tasks, to high value work. If developers can customize, collaborate and communicate in one place, they can also implement what's needed for their unique needs. For example, features like bot integrations, code snippets, syntax highlighting, slash commands and rich markdown formatting explicitly built for developer collaboration can maximize productivity.

Unified collaboration platforms can support agile software development through several essential automation, including the ability to execute repeatable sophisticated workflows. Rather than a developer trying to remediate an incident, execute a sprint, onboard a new user or run a team stand up from scratch using manual, fragile processes, playbooks can be orchestrated via developer-friendly options like slash commands, webhooks, bots, and APIs to streamline to make things easy and repeatable.

3. Security

Strict security and control is essential in nearly all tech environments, but especially for developers. Unfortunately, security often falls by the wayside. In fact, 63% of internally developed applications are out of compliance with required security standards.

When modern collaboration platforms can be flexibly deployed on-prem or via private cloud, security and compliance is simplified by providing complete control over sensitive data. Moreover, a unified user interface built specifically for developers reduces information silos and improves information sharing across developer teams. This collaboration avoids the common pitfall of security becoming an unowned area in the development lifecycle. Even better if your collaboration tools offer refined granular controls for enterprise data archiving to keep data additionally secured and accessed.

Mastering digital operations is only feasible once developer collaboration is optimized for a frictionless experience to meet the surging demands placed on these teams. With developers leading the shift to the digital enterprise, and transferring the knowledge inherent in their workflows and processes, it's increasingly essential to empower these teams with the best collaboration tools available. With a purpose-built developer collaboration platform, communication can move seamlessly across teams, ensuring maximum security, repeatable workflows and continuous alignment.

Corey Hulen is CTO and Co-Founder of Mattermost
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