Johannesburg; January 29, 2020 – As digital disruption and transformation take hold across industry sectors and economies, speed-to-market pressure is growing. However, many organisations are struggling to ramp up transformation to deliver value at the velocity of business change securely—Accenture study finds.

The Accenture SA DevSecOps study states that organisations in South Africa are adopting exponential technologies like cloud, microservices, artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain, along with agile development methodologies to keep pace with customer demand and remain competitive. However, more technology and agile IT is not translating into more value for many of them.

"Our study, conducted in collaboration with Microfocus, posed key questions to 3,500 South African IT professionals across eight key industry sectors—including IT, financial services, manufacturing, retail and telecommunications—about their application landscapes, their development practices and security strategies."

— David Christie, Intelligent Engineering Services Lead – Accenture Africa

While the majority of respondents note that they are developing for the Web and mobile, use of cloud technologies and agile methodologies is low, and security is not an integral part of development. Slow technology adoption is matched by the relative lack of prioritisation or recognition of the growing cyber security threat.

"We found that the adoption of agile in DevOps initiatives, at 32 percent, is low. Only 35 percent of respondents fully integrate security into DevOps projects and only 38 percent of development teams collaborate with security teams. Additionally, Over 50 percent say they have run into a security breach in the production stage of an application, while 74 percent don't do regular scheduled external tests. About 74 percent respondents indicate that a time frame of longer than one year to invest in DevSecOps," says Christie.

The survey shows that the majority companies are facing an innovation achievement gap—slow and narrow adoption of new technologies as well as approaches. Failure to integrate security into development and operations practices limits innovation and business potential, and makes organisations increasingly vulnerable to risk. The gap is significant.

To address the risk, accelerate transformation, fully leverage new technologies, innovate at digital speed and drive future competitiveness without compromising security, South African companies need to adopt a 'living systems' approach and excel at scaling technology innovation. This will enable them to generate double the revenue growth. They will need to align their business and IT to create integrated agile teams, implement a continuous innovation approach to deliver value at speed, and transform talent as well as teams to be systems-centric and engineering-led to deliver change at scale.

Security is a critical part of living systems. The security operating model will also need to change to ensure security is baked into the delivery value chain, getting it right from the start.

When it comes to technology adoption, leaders are working at scale; laggards are still working in silos. Our research shows that companies that are getting it right are taking a strategic approach, introducing future-capable systems that are boundaryless, adaptable and human-centred. They don't use cloud as a data centre, they use it to catalyse innovation. They also don't have a legacy IT culture and inflexible architecture with interlayer dependencies, they introduce an agile IT culture and decoupled, flexible architecture. And when it comes to security, they don't have an inconsistent approach to risk with patchwork or after-the-fact security management, their data is reliable and security is proactively and systematically integrated into development life cycles.

For more information on the Accenture SA DevSecOps study, click here.

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Jonathan Mahapa
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