Digital Transformation Delayed by Frequency of Database Changes

Digital business

Edward GatelyHelping a customer make the oft-discussed digital transformation?

It turns out that database administrators are unable to keep up with the pace and frequency of database changes caused by the accelerated pace of application releases. That’s delaying digital-transformation initiatives.

So say the results of an independent survey of IT leaders, application developers and database administrators announced by Datical. Conducted by IDG Research, the goal was to understand the impact of accelerated app-release cycles on database change frequency, database-administrator productivity and data security.

Datical's Matt FoxMatt Fox, Datical’s vice president of business development, tells Channel Partners that if partners are helping customers with digital transformation initiatives and a DevOps strategy, “you have to address the full stack, including the database.”

“Your customers are looking to move faster, automate manual processes and get value to customers sooner,” he said. “If they don’t, they are going to get left in the dust by newer, nimbler upstarts. The Fortune 2000 have huge advantages in terms of economies of scale, global footprints and established customer relationships, but they are bogged down by legacy systems that were built to be stable, not agile. The channel needs to help customers make those systems agile, and the database is a huge piece of the equation.”

An overwhelming number of database administrators (91 percent) and application development managers (90 percent) cited database updates as the cause for application release delays.{ad}

Datical's Robert Reeves“One way to describe the relationship between development and database administrators is ‘sibling rivalry,’” said Robert Reeves, Datical’s co-founder and chief technology officer. “‘Begrudging respect’ is another. Still another is ‘white-hot hatred.’ OK, maybe it’s not that bad, but it is a rare occasion when you can have those two disparate groups agree so completely. The disconnect between these two groups, and the cause of my surprise, is that they have two very different world views. Development must make changes. And for the database administrator, change is the enemy of stability. Amazing that both groups, by an overwhelming majority, find agreement on this issue.”

As the rate of change to applications increases, so does the rate of changes to the databases that applications rely on. In the survey, most database administrators said the length of time needed to complete a change request has increased in the last year. On top of this, the growing pace of database releases has led to an increase in errors that can lead to poor application performance, downtime or “even worse insecure data,” according to the survey. Thirty percent of IT executives cited an increase in error rates in production applications caused by bad database changes in the past year.

Despite the ability to build, test and deliver new and innovative applications capabilities faster, a similar level of proficiency does not exist when it comes to …


… releasing database schema changes. As a result, the “entire application-release process grinds to a halt,” according to Datical.

Recognizing the importance of treating database code just like application code, most respondents said that they see the benefits of adopting database automation to help speed the delivery of application releases and solve these challenges.{ad}

“The channel is critical to accelerating digital transformation,” Fox said. “Large companies are rife with complexity in their organizations and processes. They have long histories with processes that have been developed, merged and mutated through years of mergers, acquisitions and reorg(anization)s. It’s often hard for them to see the forest through the trees and understand where and how they can improve, move faster, deliver more value for less money. The channel needs to bring the perspective, thought leadership and bright ideas that will drive digital transformation. They then need to bring ‘the how’ – guidance and expertise on how to execute and manage these complex transformations. Success requires great technology, but it also requires cultural and process transformation that the channel can help lead.”

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