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Lithium CTO @ Europe’s #1 Enterprise IT Event

Lithium Alumni (Retired)


Earlier this month, our very own Sunil Rajasekar (@SunilR)  spoke at IP Expo Europe –which is known as Europe's #1 enterprise IT event for professionals looking to find out how the latest IT innovations can drive their business forward. He spoke to a full house about Lithium’s devOps approach, strategy and future in a presentation titled, “Outlining the Blueprint for a Successful Devops Transformation.”


We asked Sunil to give us a rundown of his experience and point-of-view of the show. Here is a quick-n-easy Q&A with his thoughts.


Q: Sunil, what are your main takeaways from IP Expo Europe?

Well, first it was great to tell the Lithium story and share insights about our DevOps journey. I was very proud to find that Lithium is ahead of the curve when it comes to Hybrid Cloud and DevOps adoption. During the show, I also came to the realization that there is a big opportunity for Lithium’s engineering and product teams to share more of the work we are doing in the industry amongst other technical thought leaders.


Q: Did you feel like there were any prevailing themes being addressed at IP Expo this year?

The big themes that stood out to me were: Cloud, Big Data and Security.


Q: How did Lithium transform its DevOps?

We did a LOT of due diligence up front. We spoke to more than a dozen companies large and small to compare notes and see what they were doing. We also put together a technology advisory board, which included some industry stalwarts from Google, Netflix, Amazon and Intuit. They were invaluable and really helped us think through our needs, emerging trends and find the best path forward.


We also invested up front in getting executive team to buy-in. Anytime one embarks on a large transformation such as this, we knew that there would be bumps, so executive support from the beginning was critical. To do this, we put together a business case with potential benefits and budgets. Once we had sign-off from the executive team, we went to the board. This is where input from the advisory board helped – we were able to share what the leading companies were doing.


It was also important to invest in our people – we created a meetup group, invited them to come into our office and share learnings. The group started as 300 and is now in the hundreds. It’s important to make sure that the teams are plugged into knowledge networks.


And, lastly… we drank a lot of tequila. Semi-joking here, but we did spend a lot of time breaking down walls and getting the ops and engineering teams working much more closely together.


Q: What have been the benefits?

We increased collaboration between teams and removed silos. The teams adopted a ‘get it done’ mentality and were able to invest in proactive product strategy – spending less time putting out fires. On the product side, because there was better collaboration between the teams, there were faster product delivery cycles.                  Stability was up and problems were down. Lastly, on the metrics front, developers proactively discovered more issues as opposed to customers finding them. There was more automation, faster cycle times, less mistakes and happier developers.


Q: What’s next?

We see DevOps as an ongoing journey, but now have a great infrastructure, approach and plan in place to move forward.