Can an SMB or start-up be too small for a DevOps platform?

Apr 6, 2022 · 4 min read · Leave a comment
Sharon Gaudin GitLab profile

If you work in an IT team of five people – or maybe you’re even a team of one – it’s easy to think your business is simply too small to use DevOps.

But that’s not the case. A start-up or small and medium-sized business (SMB) is never too small to take advantage of a DevOps platform.

In fact, DevOps is a great fit for a lot of SMBs, or small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Here’s how to understand if it will work for your team or organization and how it could help grow your business in a competitive environment.

The size of the business isn’t the issue

Let’s be clear. If you are developing software, you need a DevOps platform. Size isn’t really the issue. No matter how small your business and your tech team, if you are iterating on software features, building applications, or automating parts of your product-related systems, then you do need DevOps. DevOps will even work for a team of one.

Here’s how a DevOps platform can help an SMB:

Start small to foster innovation

One of the key aspects of DevOps is that it creates a collaborative atmosphere, even beyond the software and IT teams. Adopting a single, end-to-end DevOps platform when your company is small or your start-up is just getting off the ground will enable and encourage everyone – whether they’re in a technical role or work in accounting, sales or as a business manager – to all work together. And that will foster innovation by bringing in ideas from people in a range of demographics and business interests. And innovative ideas will help new businesses get a foot in the door and help all SMBs grow into more successful and bigger companies.

Optimize your SMB for speed

To get established in the market, start-ups and small businesses need to deliver compelling products quickly, and be able to efficiently support them. DevOps will enable your team to move from planning to production faster and with greater ease. A DevOps platform extends through the entire software development lifecycle, from planning all the way through to launching new features, conducting analysis, and gathering feedback. Simply put, DevOps will optimize your organization for speed, which is just what SMBs and SMEs need.

Use DevOps to take on the “deep pockets”

As an SMB, you likely don’t have the deep pockets and market penetration of your more-established competitors. How do you boost your odds when taking them on? One way to increase your competitiveness is to use DevOps to boost speed and efficiency as you create new products, new services, and new ways to communicate with your customers. When you can deploy innovative ideas faster than your competitors, you’ll have a definite advantage.

Decrease your workload with automation

When you have fewer hands to take on a huge workload, you need a way to not only speed production but to ease the number of tasks you’re facing – and all the headaches that come along with them. The automation that is part of a DevOps platform will mean less manual work when it comes to processes like design, testing, development, deployment, and monitoring. Automation helps small teams free up time to handle all the other projects on their to-do lists.

Build security into software from the get-go

When a company is getting started, it’s the perfect time to use DevOps to help build security into the code and processes from the very beginning. Small companies and startups need to “shift left” and focus on security at the earliest stages. When security is baked in from the start, you won’t have to go back in later on to fix problems that could jeopardize your customers and your business.

Use DevOps to avoid silos

Maybe your company is small enough that silos aren’t a problem… yet. But as a company grows, people often naturally separate off into silos or groups that do not communicate with or understand each other. And they definitely don’t work well together. By fostering collaboration among IT teams and even non-technical groups across the business, a DevOps platform makes it easier to keep these silos from forming in the first place, and to break them down if they do form. As companies grow from 10 employees to 100 (or more), DevOps will help an organization stay connected and collaborative as it expands.

Start early to ensure collaboration

It’s easier to create a collaborative culture from the very beginning – when a company is still a start-up or an SMB – than to overhaul a large, established organization. Instilling an environment of communication and collaboration is less disruptive and easier to manage in a company of 10, 25, or even 100 than in a much larger and complex business that is adding hundreds of employees a year. SMBs have the “nimble” advantage, meaning that change is easier than for larger competitors.

So there is no company too small to take advantage of a DevOps platform.

“Small companies and startups can benefit from a DevOps platform. Here's how.” – Sharon Gaudin

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