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To meet customer expectations and needs in the consumer era, many organizations have invested heavily in data and analytics and, further, implemented innovative new development methodologies such as agile. I would argue that although those steps are necessary, they aren't sufficient.

If your organization is receiving app store ratings as well as feedback - whether positive or negative - from Twitter, Facebook and other social media but you don't have a way to respond to the ratings and feedback quickly or efficiently, you're not meeting customer needs.

Consumers today expect you to respond quickly and affirmatively to their complaints, requests and suggestions. If you don't, they have other choices, including doing business with competitors. It's true that big data and analytics can help you understand customer needs, preferences and behaviors, and that the agile development methodology can help you address those quickly. But it takes DevOps to manage the deployment efficiently, reliably and safely.

DevOps is an often overlooked but critical part of what it takes to fully and deeply engage the customer - and to do so now, not three or four months from now.

As I noted in a previous blog, DevOps can be defined as a software development approach that supports rapid product delivery. It's also a cultural shift that blurs traditional boundaries between development and operations teams, with a focus on team interaction. And it's a philosophy, one that stresses continuous improvement and visibility.

Mature DevOps encompasses new approaches to code management; rapid, cloud-based procurement of fully configured servers and other hardware; and the use of high-efficiency microservices such as Docker. These can help organizations reduce errors and achieve faster delivery. They also provide greater accountability, with the success rate of each developer being tracked against that of his or her peers.

At CapTech, we not only use DevOps in our own development practices, but we also help clients implement DevOps. We provide assessments, training, mentoring and coaching, to help ensure that our clients make optimal use of innovative new development practices.

Given the value of DevOps not only to the IT team, but also to the business and the consumer, we've helped a wide range of clients implement DevOps, from financial services organizations to healthcare providers, energy companies, and entertainment-hospitality businesses. All of them have achieved increases in the velocity and reliability with which they deliver new functionality and features to consumers.

In some cases, CapTech clients that have implemented DevOps have been able to move from quarterly deployments to weekly deployments, with the ability in some cases to do minor production improvements several times a day.

If your organization has invested heavily in data and analytics as well as agile development but can't act on it quickly and reliably, you're wasting your money. Mature DevOps can change that, enabling you to more deeply and fully engage your customers.