July 5, 2018

CEO Center Stage: Sacha Labourey, CEO and Co-Founder of CloudBees

Congrats on the recent funding! How will the new funding help CloudBees?

DevOps adoption is going through a fantastic acceleration phase as businesses of all sizes understand the importance software will have in their success and prioritize these initiatives. As such, two things are important for us:

First, to be able to properly respond to requests in the field. I’m not just talking about sales activities, but all field activities including consulting and pre-sales, but also an extensive set of “post-sales” customer-success activities to make sure the adoption of DevOps and of our products is successful. As you know, in a subscription business, every year is an election year and we have to demonstrate our value to customers on an ongoing basis: If they win, we win. This is a virtuous circle.

Second, by expanding the scope and depth of what we provide through our offering. Needs rapidly evolve, especially as customers get more confident in their ability to practice DevOps. As such, it is critical for us to heavily invest in our products, both through internal development as well as through M&A, to make sure we constantly drive innovation to our customers and make it possible for them to develop better software, faster, with very high quality.

How has the DevOps market changed over the past few years?

A number of parallel winds are leading to the perfect wind conditions. The first one is a business realization by many companies that software is eating the world. A few years back, when we were preaching this, a large number of companies couldn’t quite see it. Now, this understanding has completely shifted and it’s rare to find a company that doesn’t understand that their future success is directly associated with their ability to produce business value through software. That, in turn, leads to adopting DevOps and continuous delivery, as it is the best way to build software.

But there are also a number of technological elements. Cloud and containers have radically morphed what companies can do with IT. Their ability to instantly leverage huge amounts of elastic compute power, highly sophisticated data services (that only the largest organizations out there could imagine building in the past), means that the “operations” side of IT is no longer the bottleneck. What if development teams could have infinite compute power, no delays to provision any IT resource and could scale out and down as desired? Your development practice has to adapt to leverage this extreme power, and this is exactly what DevOps does for them.

So there is not one thing that leads to DevOps. It is a natural order of technological advances pointing companies in that direction; it is the natural evolution one has to follow to survive.

In your opinion, why is DevOps technology needed in the enterprise?

The interesting thing to note is that smaller organizations are now in a huge situation of strength to challenge much larger organizations. Not only are they nimble and adopting DevOps at their birth, but they have instant access to huge compute and data power that only the most sophisticated IT shops couldn’t afford, until today. This leads to unprecedented innovation and a growing number of established enterprises being challenged in their core business. As such, enterprises have no other option but get to the same level of “velocity” and innovation as these smaller shops. You can see it as an “unfair advantage” that has shifted sides! DevOps is the new baseline that any organization must fully adopt, small or very large.

How is CloudBees capitalizing on this to propel enterprises into the next generation?

We are uniquely differentiated on the market to help organizations make this move into this new software era. Our CloudBees Suite makes it possible for enterprises to establish a continuous delivery practice at scale, operated centrally, so that they can offer to the entire organization, while leaving them the power to act and decide locally. This makes it possible to centralize the core operations and define the aspects of compliance that matter to the company at large, but then let innovation happen in a distributed fashion within teams. This is a very important balance to find. Also, we cover an extremely wide range of technologies and make it possible for enterprises to increase velocity of existing projects, leveraging technologies such as Java, or .Net (or even much older stacks), while offering advanced support for leading edge environments such as public cloud, Docker, Kubernetes, etc. Our view is that companies can’t solely focus on getting improved velocity on new/modern projects, they have to raise the bar across the board, which means their DevOps foundation must also support them across an extensive set of technologies.

CloudBees already has a lot of great momentum in 2018, also with its acquisition of Codeship. Can you tell us more about that?

Yes, we are very happy the CodeShip team joined us, this is further extending the kind of support we can bring to companies adopting DevOps. CodeShip has the best continuous delivery SaaS on the market and this means we can now offer advanced continuous delivery features either in a self-managed way (through our existing CloudBees product) or in a self-service fashion (through CodeShip). Down the road, you’ll witness an increased level of integration between the two worlds so you can navigate between them. This is important as we see a lot of organizations start adopting DevOps within specific teams first, leveraging self-service environments, then as they scale, looking for more control and customization of their environment. This is what CloudBees can uniquely offer.

Can you tell us a bit about the acquisition and how it impacted CloudBees?  

I’ve described how this acquisition impacts customers. But CodeShip also had a strong impact to our core DNA. CloudBees has historically been much more focused on larger organizations while CodeShip was more focused on developers. Those are both two critical strengths that are very hard to develop. As such, we are not looking to have one win over the other, but we are very consciously working to make sure we preserve both. While, a few years back, it felt like you had to choose between one or the other, time has passed and the best tech companies know how to be appealing to both developers and decision makers. This is a transformation we are going through, and it is a very exciting one!

Tags: Andrew Der , Cloudbees , Entrepreneur Spotlight , CEO Center Stage , DevOps