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CIO DevOps Q&A with Karl Hoods

karl hoods
Karl Hoods & Horizon in discussion at a recent partnership event with Next World Capital. Picture by Matt Gore, Icon Business Media 

Karl Hoods, is IT Diector Save the Children UK and recently took part in a panel debate on artificial intelligence and Blockchain at a joint Horizon and Next World Capital event. You can listen to the debate as a Horizon Business Innovation podcast. Hoods has been leading IT at Save the Children UK since December 2013 having joined the charity from the Department for Education where he was CTO having been CIO of the Partnership for Schools for over seven years.

How do you define DevOps and do you use it?
DevOps is an approach to integrating development and operations teams, providing the people, processes and products to enable continuous delivery, which for the rest of our business means delivering quicker and more often.

We’re deploying DevOps at Save the Children UK in the delivery of a new digital platform.

How would you describe your DevOps maturity?
We’re beginning the journey, so establishing the foundations.

Has DevOps been adopted beyond IT?
No, not at this point in time, although we will be looking to see how we can apply principles as we consider a more agile approaches outside of core IT.

If going beyond IT, where in the business do you see the DevOps model being adopted?
Primarily I see the principles applying to anything that improves our supporter (customer) experience, particularly across digital marketing, CRM and analytics teams.

 Has DevOps had an impact on your staffing, have you had to retrain staff or recruit new staff?
We’re implementing DevOps as part of a specific project to get a better understanding of what we need long term, working with an external supplier to lay the foundations and transfer knowledge to existing team members.

Has DevOps been a success and would you continue with it?
So far so good! The plan is to continue across our digital platform and roll out more widely.

In the adoption of DevOps, did you experience any barriers and what were they?The main issues have been resources. We’re doing this at the same time as working on a digital transformation programme and with limited resources there was always going to be contention, especially as the team get up to speed with the technologies and processes being put in place.

What were the first seen benefits of adopting DevOps
From what we’re experiencing so far the main benefit is going to be speed of deployment which for us is going to be a big step.

For more information on adoption of DevOps ECS Digital, which spoke at the 2016 Innovation Leadership Summit have penned a white paper: A CIO Guide to DevOps which you can download at: http://www.ecs-digital.co.uk/2017-cio-guide


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