MRHE gets agile with DevOps

MRHE has become one of the first government entities in the region to adopt a DevOps approach to keep pace with change and enable innovation

Tags: Archinnova (www.archinnova.com)DevOpsMohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment (mrhe.gov.ae/)United Arab Emirates
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MRHE gets agile with DevOps MRHE has adopted DevOps to be able to keep up with the demands of innovation, says Talal Ali.
By  Mark Sutton Published  October 22, 2017

Government technology programs are embracing digitisation, looking to put more processes online and develop more e-services and smart services. But as the demand for applications has increased, so the demands on the development team have also increased, to produce more applications, more quickly, and to be able to respond more quickly to change requests and updates.

Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment (MRHE), which is responsible for housing and housing services for UAE nationals in Dubai, has proactively adopted new technology to aid in its mission, including mobile apps and virtual reality. In order to keep up with the increasing demands of the digital era, MRHE has become one of the first government entities to adopt a DevOps approach to software development, to fully automate its application delivery lifecycle to speed up processes and make it closer to clients.

Talal Ahmed Ali, IT Director, MRHE, said that the IT team identified a number of requirements if it was to be able to keep up with the demands of innovation and digital transformation.

“The first step of change is to be aware of your own gaps and challenges; this is where the whole IT team agreed that more collaboration and trust among divisions is needed; governance, visibility, and accountability is required for smoother value-chain flow; and so is automation for more reliability and speed,” Ali explained.

MRHE decided that a DevOps approach would offer the solution to the challenges, given the right partner, which it found in Archinnova, a business technology consulting and implementation firm. Archinnova provided systems integration to implement and support a DevOps solution, along with training and education to get MRHE users up to speed on Agile software development and methodologies. The move makes MRHE one of the first government entities in the Middle East to adopt DevOps.

Archinnova has detailed a holistic approach to MRHE’s software development lifecycle (SDLC), which should translate to improved service delivery and faster recovery of any service failure. The Archinnova DevOps management platform will also automate quality checks, and manage performance issues and ensure delivery of solutions without sacrificing quality.

“Dubai is currently in the process of transformation, integration and innovation, with happiness being the core of its success, an integral element to the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai,” said Ali.

“Our mission is to achieve stability and drive development through the provision of diverse and easy housing solutions to UAE nationals. We have selected Archinnova to help fully automate our processes and develop a complete Agile culture that covers all levels of management. Our partnership with Archinnova gives MRHE the confidence and preparedness to respond to changing business requirements and customer needs that will result in customer satisfaction and higher levels of happiness.”

Ali explained that the DevOps adoption cuts across people, processes and technology: “It is an on-going and never-ending process to ensure high satisfaction and exceeding expectations. We tackled it in a scientific manner by first identifying our challenges, defining our objectives, and executed it via people, process and technology.

“On the people level, we ran some courses where all stakeholders in the IT department attended and agreed on the need to transform; for processes we did a value stream mapping for some of the processes, especially at the software development life-cycle as phase one. Technology is an enabler [for adoption], so we selected the best-of-breed integrated toolchain that met today’s requirements and future requirements, from ideation to release.”

DevOps will also be an ongoing process for MRHE, Ali noted, and will require a culture change, through continuous delivery of new software, which will result in better applications and faster resolution of problems and issues.

“We need to always revisit our end-to-end processes in order to enhance, optimise, and adapt. Creating such habits will yield cultural changes and excellence in service delivery. We are hoping such transformation will soon propagate to other departments and partners, for an integrated ecosystem to meet business objectives and create a satisfied clientele,” he added.

Diyaa Zebian, CEO of Archinnova, said that deploying its solutions and utilising the DevOps methodology will have a number of benefits for MRHE: “Archinnova is proud to bring and implement the DevOps Solution for MRHE, which encourages innovation through collaboration. The successful collaboration between development, operations and business teams remains the formula for success for a best customer experience. The implementation of a DevOps Solution offers faster delivery of features, a more stable operating environment, improved communication and more time to innovate.”

Archinnova says that utilization of DevOps can reduce resource demands on the application release team by 67%; cut the time spent repairing defects per environment by 75%; and reduce application deployment time by as much as 82%. Adoption of DevOps is also predicted to result in happier and more productive teams, increased employee engagement and the presence of more professional development opportunities.

Zebian said that with the ongoing launch of new technology initiatives, there is big potential for DevOps in government in the region, especially in Dubai where many government agencies have been given a mandate to challenge themselves and disrupt the existing ways of thinking and delivering services.

“Nowadays, and in a digital economy, innovation mostly lies in software, where DevOps sits at the heart of this economy to ensure quality, collaboration, time-to-value, governance, and visibility to mention a few.

While there is not much readiness overall for DevOps at the moment, Zebian said that there are silos of progress that could work together for greater impact. He also pointed out that while the adoption of Agile methods is mainly related to software, the discipline is starting to resonate with higher management, who would like to see Agile behaviour and practices by IT become a benchmark or a reference point for other departments to also enhance their processes.

The key to progression with DevOps is culture change, Zebian added: “DevOps is more of a philosophy than a framework and there is no one size fits all; that’s where Archinnova consulting arm plays a major role in assisting the governmental agencies in running DevOps and Agile scans in order to recommend the best approach and the way forward. However, a key success is the top management’s willingness to accept and embrace changes at the cultural and process level. Cultural change is the most challenging part but we start with small and impactful steps by changing habits that yield to the overall objectives.”

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