Key Considerations for Adding AI to Your Modernization Strategy

Jason McGee, IBM Fellow, CTO IBM Cloud, GM Cloud Platform and Common Services, on how artificial intelligence is changing the way we think about modernization

By Dava Stewart

Harnessing DevOps on Power:

A Blueprint for Delivering DevOps on IBM i

Donna Westmoreland and Sapan Shah from Midrange Dynamics North America reveal 7 common challenges of shifting to a DevOps framework and how to overcome them

By Donna Westmoreland and Sapan Shah


Illustration generated by Adobe Firefly.

DevOps, a fusion of development and operations, has reshaped the IT landscape, promising faster development cycles, seamless collaboration and improved efficiency. However, its implementation is not without hurdles. It takes time and careful planning to harness the full power of DevOps. 

The benefits are worth the effort. Organizations have successfully built DevOps and CI/CD pipelines into their processes and reaped advantages. They have also learned valuable lessons during implementation that will help you go into the process prepared. Here are some common considerations as well as challenges and solutions that will help you on the road to implementing DevOps strategies. 

1. One Size Does Not Fit All

One of the primary misconceptions about DevOps is the belief in a universal approach. DevOps is not a one-size-fits-all solution; it is a set of processes that must align with your company's specific requirements. Understanding that DevOps serves as the overarching strategy and the CI/CD pipeline acts as the automation tool is key when tailoring DevOps to fit your needs. Start by getting familiar with the methodology and look to see how it can be applied to your specific business. Once you have a clear vision of the end goal, then it is time to start customizing and adapting DevOps strategies to suit your organization's unique structure and objectives.

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Performance Management and Reporting  graphic

2. Start With the End In Mind

When you begin talking about DevOps with your team, it is important to know the end you want to achieve for your company. Once you know what the end goal is, it is much easier to break the implementation process into manageable steps. If you try to change everything all at once, you are setting yourself up for an epic failure that will leave your team feeling lost and your company stuck in outdated processes that harm, rather than benefit, the enterprise. 


Moving to DevOps requires evolution—not a revolution. Knowing the end goal and breaking down the steps helps you identify the critical pieces, the pain points and the costs of the project. By identifying the end, you can identify the beginning and start building a foundation. 


Giving your team productivity tools is a great place to begin. The goal at this stage is to build a foundation with a clean, secure and repeatable process. Once this process is in place, you can start to build on it, evolving towards more automation, application integration and eventually the adoption of a full CI/CD pipeline. So, focus on the end to find the beginning and build a strong foundation you can evolve over time.

3. Choosing the Right Tools

Selecting the right tool is critical to successful implementation of DevOps and CI/CD pipelines. The wrong tool will kill your implementation before it even begins. Evaluate and choose tools that can be tailored for your company’s specific applications and platforms. Look for a flexible pipeline that can adapt to different tools to ensure a smooth workflow across diverse technologies. 


Above all, do your research. Talk to company references and current users of DevOps software tools to learn about their experiences. When selecting a vendor, ask if the company is willing to do a proof of concept to back up their claims about their product. Subject matter experts (SMEs) who are not affiliated with software tooling companies should also be consulted regarding the best available tools for DevOps on IBM i. Remember, the right tools significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your DevOps practices, so this is a vital step in the process.

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Want to Deliver DevOps on IBM i?

Use the right tool! 


Don’t waste time, energy and money on development tools that can’t support your IT initiatives. 

With Midrange Dynamics integrated solutions, meet DevOps, application modernization and CI/CD goals on schedule and on budget. IBM i shops trust us to streamline productivity, support organization growth and evolve their IT strategies.

Reliable tools, responsive support and decades of experience from Midrange Dynamics North America make it easier for you to build great applications.

Do your research. 
Talk to trusted, independent experts.
Validate vendor claims. 
Check references and speak with current users.
Try before you buy.
Consider a Proof of Concept.
The adoption of DevOps is not just a technological shift; it is a cultural transformation that demands collaboration, communication and continuous improvement.

4. Mastering DevOps on IBM i

Understanding the strengths and nuances of DevOps on the IBM i is crucial. DevOps methodologies look different on other platforms, and it can be difficult to explain the necessity of a different approach to those who are unfamiliar with our platform. Investing in comprehensive training and education for your team is important. Extra training keeps your team up to date and better able to explain the strengths and benefits of the platform. The participation of business analysts and/or SMEs is invaluable. SMEs will act as your guide, providing insights that align DevOps strategies with business objectives. Including them in the implementation process ensures that DevOps practices are in harmony with your organization's overall goals. 

5. Bridging Communication Gaps

One of the most significant stumbling blocks in DevOps implementations is a lack of communication. The key is to bring in representatives from each department, as well as the SMEs, to help guide the project. Establishing a clear backlog and opening channels of communication help ensure that all team members understand the various stages and requirements of the process.


Coordinating changes across applications on multiple platforms can be complex, so communication will be key. Everyone on your team will need to understand the interdependencies between applications on various platforms, foster a cohesive development environment and build out automation. Automation especially will allow you to implement a unified pipeline that seamlessly integrates changes across diverse platforms. Having automation in place will also help bridge the communication gap, saving you valuable time in the long run.

Performance Management and Reporting  graphic
Performance Management and Reporting  graphic

6. Addressing Developer Delays

Developers are often left waiting for extended periods of time while projects are being tested. This can disrupt their workflow and be jarring when they are pulled back and forth between projects. You can avoid this with the implementation of DevOps strategies and the creation of a robust CI/CD pipeline.


A CI/CD pipeline automates development, testing and deployment processes, significantly reducing wait time for your developers to ensure continuous and streamlined workflow. Start at the beginning of your current processes and look for ways to provide productive tools to your development team. This includes good cross-reference information to enable quick and accurate analysis and a foundation for setting up good testing as the pipeline progresses. Eliminate repetitive work such as entering information or approval requests into multiple products. Make sure the tools you choose communicate with each other, so you have the building blocks for your CI/CD pipeline.

7. Compliance and Audit Requirements

Meeting audit and compliance standards is non-negotiable. Involve auditors from the beginning of the process to ensure you clearly define rules. Internal audit departments can play an integral part in implementing DevOps within your company. Every choice you make during implementation should align with audit requirements to ensure compliance and mitigate risks. 


One misstep can spell disaster. If you wait until later in the project to bring in auditing, you may have to undo or redo massive amounts of work. Be smart and bring them in at the very beginning so you know exactly what is needed from you and your team. From there, you can visualize the end goal, find your first steps and establish a foundation that will be your blueprint to success.

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DevOps Is the Way Forward

The adoption of DevOps is not just a technological shift; it is a cultural transformation that demands collaboration, communication and continuous improvement. By addressing these challenges and implementing the right strategies, IT professionals can successfully evolve their environments to harness the power of DevOps in their IBM i landscapes. Customization, effective communication, the right tools and compliance adherence form the pillars of a successful DevOps implementation. Follow this blueprint and DevOps will drive your organization toward unparalleled efficiency, innovation and success.

Donna Westmoreland
Chief Technology Officer, Midrange Dynamics North America

Donna is the CTO for Midrange Dynamics North America and has over 25 years' experience with IBM midrange systems and supporting consistent software change methodologies. Experience gained from leading major projects, including application modernization, at hundreds of corporations has given her a well-rounded view of development needs, audit requirements and testing principles.

Sapan Shah
Implementation Specialist, Midrange Dynamics North America

Sapan has over 25 years of proven expertise as a high-performing IT professional. He specializes in solutions architecture, software development, customer relationship management, program and change management, and organizational development. He has been recognized for building collaborative, inclusive and high-achieving teams and is known for his ability to adapt to changing compliance standards and company direction.

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