The challenge of shifting left: Why AIOps is essential

Development teams are being forced to 'shift left'-- under pressure from the business to move more and more work closer to the design and development phase, earlier in the process.

The idea is to catch bugs earlier, before they turn into costly production outages, and should improve efficiency while minimizing risk within the software development cycle. Yet this demand puts even more pressure and responsibility on developers.

One of the downfalls of the shift is the lack of testing under practical conditions, potentially resulting in less comprehensive testing coverage. Shifting right, where testing is undergone towards the end of the software development cycle has traditionally better addressed user experience concerns from testing the application in more real-world environments.

One thing that can make delivery of this business easier -- and result in better outcomes -- is to inject AI-powered tools into the codebase to catch the risks hidden within supply chain complexity and fast pace of work.

There are three profound reasons to consider using AI-driven development aids in your codebase:

  • Enhance your understanding of your code
  • Increase your software quality
  • Increase the security of your product

Enhance your understanding of your code

Software development, CI/CD, solutions, now incorporate AI engines within the best platforms, offering developers modern solutions to write better code and then test, debug, and resolve issues. AI-powered engines are able to use a deep understanding of the code, the development ecosystem, and applications running in production. Developers are able to avoid the tedious tasks required to check code while simultaneously improving their technical debt management.

These AI tools, particularly good for monitoring, help users surface intelligence and automation directly to their workflows. Such automation is essential for improving time allocation, taking away routine tasks and allowing teams to take on more innovation and complex and rewarding jobs.

Increase your software quality

As in other sectors, AI is designed to allow the human to focus on only what's important: delivering flawless features -- fast. AI engines learn to help teams know where to focus testing efforts, telling developers which parts of the codebase are most critical or at risk to speed a progress to the final build.

Developers are under pressure to jointly increase software quality, speed, and productivity. They require CI/CD features like test scoring, advanced insights, and automatic code analysis for issue discovery and resolution to find errors as early in the process as possible, avoiding issues later when remediation is more costly.

Daily developer work is filled with obstacles and inefficiencies, mostly from all the business activity that comes from everything other than writing code. This has caused a lack of developer focus, just as more organizations look to move work closer to the design and development phase in order to increase overall efficiency. The overwatch of AI is what brings back focus and allows developers to iterate and test while their solutions manage the detail oriented but tedious task of testing that no developers love.

Increase the security of your product

In security and testing, where DevOps and security align into efficient DevSecOps, shifting left concentrates on bringing testing and security concerns to the workflow much sooner than in traditional development.

Quality code is a source of security. Accessible vulnerabilities will be found and exploited. By eliminating them code quality related attacks are not possible. Testing has traditionally not been conducted in the most industrial, 0 defect approach. AI tolls are able to manage this process to be even more relentless than an attacker.

Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations (AIOps) offers a solution to these operational challenges and supports this pressure to shift left, allowing development teams to focus on the critical parts only they can solve. AIOps removes the process-oriented tasks such as authoring tests, commenting code, analyzing code and quality. Freed developer time empowers them to build better customer experiences and work on the more meaningful tasks of their job. Without the tedium of testing and other routine work, the process becomes more enjoyable, too.

Efficiency, effectiveness, and better developer experience is all possible, but only with the right tools to support developers in what is one of the most complex and demanding jobs -- where failures from products in use by customers can make or break a business.

Photo Credit: Photon photo/Shutterstock

Jean-Philippe (JP) Leblanc is SVP Engineering at CircleCI, the leading Continuous Integration and Delivery platform for the world's best software engineering teams. With more than twenty years of technology management experience, JP has developed a passion for fostering people-oriented product engineering environments in industry-leader companies. JP is a member of the executive team and is responsible for managing all aspects of the engineering organization for the company. Prior to CircleCI, JP was Senior Vice-President of Product & Technology at Lightspeed Commerce, and also served as Vice-President of Product Engineering at Shutterstock. JP lives with his wife and three children in Montreal, Canada.

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