The Digital Triad: DevOps, Agile and Cloud


You must operationalize all three


By Bradley Clerkin


The digital operating model for CIOs must include the triad of DevOps, Agile, and Cloud. When all three are instituted, IT can realize an incredible force multiplier that enables them to be a business partner and profit center. Too often we see organizations choosing which to invest in. We must avoid the "forest from the trees" problem and make substantial investment in all three.

The Digital Triad Breakdown


DevOps: Our technology management practices and processes need to be optimized for speed and change—that’s where DevOps comes in.

Agile: How we fund, manage, and deliver digital must be built for the complex world of digital delivery, enabling us to listen to our customers, take investment risk, embrace change, and continually adapt.

Cloud computing: Digital requires substantial amounts of engineering capacity, building new things on modern infrastructure. Cloud allows us to focus resources on building and provides the most modern platform for digital to thrive.


The hard truth is DevOps, Agile, and Cloud all represent complex and costly changes to how we operate. They demand a lot from our teams and leaders and too often it feels like we should only do some or one of them. I find the leaders that make the right choice and double down on all three tend to be able to articulate effectively how they work together and why each component needs the other. The constant theme from these leaders takes the form of a “without analysis”:

Without Analysis

DevOps without Cloud

Processes and technologies are expensive and difficult to automate in private datacenter systems, limiting our velocity and scale.

Agile without DevOps

Agile teams, initiatives, and outcomes are in constant conflict with legacy processes and technologies that want them to wait, not change, and be predictable.

Cloud without DevOps

Cloud is run like a data center and consumption by digital engineering teams and projects become costly and time-consuming limiting both our digital initiatives and cloud benefit realization.

DevOps without Agile

Highly automated technology and processes have minimal impact on digital outcomes because we run waterfall style processes which are slow and limit agility.

Cloud without Agile

Cloud is viewed as traditional infrastructure that we consume in a predictable way, limiting the velocity, impact, and scale of engineering initiatives.


The truth that effective digital leaders realize is that you must fully invest in all three of these capabilities. At times our teams and organizations are going to push back, asking that we limit the scope of change but if we make this false choice, we’ll limit our ability to realize the benefits and outcomes digital requires.

Looking for help instituting the digital triad? That's what we do.




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