IT Modernization

Survey: DevOps a bright spot among public-sector uncertainty

Shutterstock image (Macrovector): business management discussion brainstorming session.

Confidence in public sector IT may be on the decline, according to the 2017 Splunk Public Sector IT Operations Survey, and a greater reliance on DevOps could be key to navigating the way forward.

The Ponemon Institute, in a Splunk-sponsored survey released July 19, polled 1,227 "IT decision makers and managers," some 60 percent of whom work in federal agencies. The goal was to better identify both the barriers to success and the potential keys to a more positive future.

The survey found that "at least 60 percent of respondents felt as, or less, confident in carrying out their responsibilities" than they did the year prior. This finding can primarily be attributed to siloing, according to the report.  Siloed IT operations can lead to a lack of integration and visibility; IT staff ranked this as the No. 1 concern.  Next on the list was the "skills gap among existing resources."

Silos and the inability to integrate systems were each ranked as a "severe threat," according to the study, which noted silos also lead to an over-reliance on manual processes. "One of the things the report brought back was that an average system outage has a 44-hour downtime and takes 12.5 staff members working" to bring systems back online, Splunk Vice President for Public Sector Kevin Davis told FCW.

The good news, according to the study, is that investment in DevOps can help to address the silo problem and other challenges. Stronger DevOps "basically means having a tighter integration between developers that are developing new systems and the operation teams that are deploying them and keeping them up and running," said Bill Emmett, developer of product marketing for IT operations at Splunk.  "By having a tighter relationship, it ensures things like being able to reduce the amount of downtime incidences and the time required to recover."

That simple change makes all the difference, Emmett argued, "because you are able to engage developers who may be able to introduce the patch in a matter of hours -- as opposed to weeks."

While spending on DevOps is expected to increase, spending for on-site systems continues to dwindle. The report notes that about half of those surveyed forecast an increase in DevOps and cloud operations, but only 29 percent number anticipated any increase in on-site spending.

"Half of respondents anticipate more resources being devoted to [DevOps] over the next year and that projected increase … is significant to the federal IT community," Emmett said.  The result, he predicted, would be "that you avoid problems in the first place, and that you’re very nimble at responding to them when they do arrive."

Read the full survey here.

About the Author

Ben Berliner is an editorial fellow at FCW. He is a 2017 graduate of Kenyon College, and has interned at the Center for Responsive Politics and at Sunlight Foundation.

He can be contacted at

Click here for previous articles by Berliner.


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