I was recently asked by an esteemed hiring manager at a client company of ours just what exactly was Marketing DevOps? I must admit that I asked the same question out loud inclusive of a couple of other expletives not needed to be mentioned here. Is this yet another Technology Misnomer? A Sniglet? Or is this yet another way to divide up Technology teams and put them at odds due to contradicting departmental mission statements? I would fully expect to see, while peering into the layers of this industry from my vantage point through the Head Hunter's crystal ball, that the initial reaction from a DevOps team would be somewhat visceral.
…..DevOps team insert furrowed brow and long drawn out sigh here......= more work for wishywashy marketing!
I mean it’s one thing to pair Development with IT Operations and expect 100% cohesiveness...The fast and fluid with the rigid and supportive forced to find common some ground to live on.....at one time it sounded like a virtual impossibility right? However; as the evolution of DevOps has shown, the reality of the outcome, if properly approached, can be quite the contrary.
One thing is for sure: As technology evolved, developers finally started getting some real swagger! Why shouldn't they? Software has become a means to an end. The proliferation of new languages and tool sets that utilize the ubiquitous rise of Open Source Technologies and robust, customizable, deployable APIs have also led to increased organizational productivity and demonstrable results. The advent of the cloud has greased the skids and things are now capable of moving at a really fast pace.
Traditionally, as companies identified new lines of business, Development projects started and grew organically which in turn led to other forms of problems, customizations, new lines of business and thus more new projects, etc....As IT became aware of all these accelerated development activities, an attempt to formulate an IT Governance policy was implemented and thus the Operations -vs- Development mind set naturally evolved.
The proverbial parachute deployment (pardon the pun) on a dragster right?
Thus the advent of DevOps to the rescue!
Now IT and Development can work in cohesive collusion and not somewhat opposed to each other in their mission. The adoption of a DevOps methodology and culture brings shared contributions, responsibilities, and accountabilities by aligning goals across the enterprise. IT's Operations' Governance goals are accomplished through DevOps by utilizing test driven development, testing constantly throughout the development lifecycle, and performing multiple releases and revisions with strict Version Control measures. All the while successful DevOps teams seek to automate as much as possible!
So you ask: What does all this have to do with Marketing?
Today's Business Environment, Successful Marketing Endeavors work in much the same way.
No longer are Successful Marketing campaigns realized by voodoo, mojo, luck, or any other way that is not a measurable, a/b testable, trackable, metrical approach. With the need to test and revise often in order to keep up in real time with customer demands, trends, and market analyses coupled with the complete avalanche of raw data a new approach is needed.
Where there is a will there is a way!
Marketing DevOps or “Marketing-Ops,” or “MarketOps,” or whatever it's will end up being called is the evolutionary symbiotic joining of Marketing, Big Data, and IT Operations (and/or)Development (DevOps) so Marketing Professionals can get to, slice and dice, and analyze all this analytical Big Data information.
Traditionally, (as I am sure many of you are quite aware,) the tight coupling between business logic and the underlying relational data models has required up-front schema design builds and/or changes before the data can be ingested. The data had to conform to the schema design.
With all this analytical Big Data coming downstream in so many different models, this rigid approach is both time consuming and cumbersome for the marketing person to get info on the fly and a major headache for development to deal with any change requests.
Just like DevOps was able to put some real collusion between IT and Development so they can work in a more symbiotic way instead of working as opposing forces; it's now Marketing's turn to jump into the fray.
Today's big players in the DevOps world are getting and staying there by seeking a (better) joint relationship between Marketing, Product Development, Operations, and Professional Services so that their Product lines are built "just in time" -- "just on time" so that they are not over developed while giving customers everything they need to love the product offered while not leaving anything on the table for a competitor to take.
By giving Marketing access to all the raw statistical data in real time by implementing interfaces and automation systems for retrieval, Marketing will now be able to better contribute to the Development process by forming closer relations between developers, operations, and marketing people as a whole while working in a synergistic way toward improving the quality of the services a company seeks to provide. (Phew, that was a mouthful)
What it will mean for DevOps is some initial workload on the front but the “juice will be worth the squeeze” in the end as companies who implement this standard will have a shorter path to revenue generation and profitability. The players who are able to monetize all this aggregate marketing data and thus deliver the right products and services will serve as the beacon for the rest that don't.
In today's fast paced time to market world, to quote Ricky Bobby’s ole man:
“If yer not first,..... yer last”!!!