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The State of DevOps Automation assessment: How automated are you?

In response to the scale and complexity of modern cloud-native technology, organizations are increasingly reliant on automation to properly manage their infrastructure and workflows. DevOps automation eliminates extraneous manual processes, enabling DevOps teams to develop, test, deliver, deploy, and execute other key processes at scale. Automation thus contributes to accelerated productivity and innovation across the organization.

Automation can be particularly powerful when applied to DevOps workflows. According to the Dynatrace 2023 DevOps Automation Pulse report, an average of 56% of end-to-end DevOps processes are automated across organizations of all kinds.

However, despite the rising popularity of DevOps automation, the maturity levels of that automation vary from organization to organization. These discrepancies can be a result of toolchain complexity (with 53% of organizations struggling in this area), siloed teams (46%), lack of resources (44%), cultural resistance (41%), and more.

Understanding exactly where an organization’s automation maturity stands is key to advancing to the next level. Armed with this knowledge, organizations can systematically address their weaknesses and specifically determine how to improve these areas. For this reason, teams need a comprehensive evaluation to assess their implementation of numerous facets of DevOps automation.

The DevOps Automation Assessment is a tool to help organizations holistically evaluate their automation maturity and make informed strides toward the next level of DevOps maturity.

How the DevOps automation assessment works

The DevOps automation assessment consists of 24 questions across the following four key areas of DevOps:

  • Automation governance: The automation governance section deals with overarching, organization-wide automation practices. It addresses the extent to which an organization prioritizes automation efforts, including budgets, ROI models, standardized best practices, and more.
  • Development & delivery automation: This section addresses the extent to which an organization automates processes within the software development lifecycle (SDLC), including deployment strategies, configuration approaches, and more.
  • Operations automation: The operations section addresses the level of automation organizations use in maintaining and managing existing software. It explores infrastructure provisioning, incident management, problem remediation, and other key practices.
  • Security automation: The final section addresses how much automation an organization uses when mitigating vulnerabilities and threats. It includes questions relating to vulnerability prioritization, attack detection and response, application testing, and other central aspects of security.

This comprehensive assessment provides maturity levels for each of these four areas, offering a nuanced understanding of where an organization’s automation maturity stands. Since teams from one functional area to another may be siloed, a respondent who is not knowledgeable on the automation practices of a certain area can still obtain insights by answering the questions that pertain to their team’s responsibilities.


The questions are both quantitative and qualitative, each one addressing key determinants of DevOps automation maturity. Examples of qualitative questions include: How is automation created at your organization? What deployment strategies does your organization use? By contrast, the quantitative questions include: What proportion of time do software engineering and development teams spend writing automation scripts? How long do you estimate it takes to remediate a problem within one of your production applications?

The tool assigns every response to a question a unique point value. Based on the total for each section, the assessment determines and displays an organization’s maturity levels in the four key areas.

The maturity levels

The DevOps Automation Assessment evaluates each of the four key areas according to the following four maturity levels.

  • Foundational: Foundational is the most basic level of automation maturity. At this level, automation practices are either non-existent or elementary, and not adding significant value to DevOps practices. Organizations at this maturity level should aim to build a strong automation foundation, define automation principles, and lay the groundwork for a more mature automation framework.
  • Standardized: At the standardized level, automation has become more integrated into key DevOps processes. This includes expediting workflows, ensuring consistency, and reducing manual effort to a modest degree. The goal of organizations at this maturity level should be to achieve a higher level of automation integration and synergy between different stages of the DevOps lifecycle.
  • Advanced: Once an organization’s automation maturity reaches the advanced level, its automation practices are integrated across the SDLC and assist greatly in scaling and executing DevOps processes. Organizations at this maturity level should strive to improve operational excellence by adopting AI analysis into their automation-driven practices.
  • Intelligent: To reach the intelligent level, automation must be wholly reliable, sophisticated, and ingrained within organizational culture. At this level, organizations are leveraging artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) to bolster their automation practices. The goal of organizations at this maturity level should be to achieve higher levels of efficiency, agility, and innovation through intelligent, AI-driven automation practices.

The tool calculates a separate DevOps maturity level for each of the four individual sections (governance, development & delivery, operations, and security). For example, a respondent could hypothetically receive a foundational ranking for automation governance, advanced for development & delivery, intelligent for operations, and standardized for security.

Next steps: Using the results to advance DevOps automation maturity

While it is helpful to understand an organization’s automation maturity level in key DevOps areas, the information is only useful if teams can leverage it for improvement. Even at the highest level of automation maturity, there is always room to continually improve automation practices and capabilities as underlying technologies and the teams that use them evolve.

But how exactly can an organization advance its automation maturity to the next level? The DevOps Automation Pulse provides ample guidance and actionable steps for every level of automation maturity. For example, to progress from standardized to advanced, the report recommends that organizations implement a single source of reliable observability data to prioritize alerts continuously and automatically. Or, to progress from advanced to intelligent, the report encourages organizations to introduce AI/ML to assist continuous and automatic security processes, including vulnerability detection, investigation, assignments, remediation verification, and alert prioritization.

What’s more, teams can advance workflow automation further by adopting unified observability and log data collection, along with different forms of AI (predictive, causal, generative) for automated analysis. All of these recommendations and more in addition to the latest insights on the current state of DevOps automation are available in the DevOps Automation Pulse.

Start the journey toward greater DevOps automation

With consumer demands for quality and speed at unprecedented levels, DevOps automation is essential in organizations of all sizes and sectors. An organization’s automation maturity level may often be the determining factor in whether it pulls ahead of or falls behind the competition.

Once at a mature level, organizations with automated workflows, repeatable tasks, and other DevOps processes can not only exponentially accelerate business growth but also improve employee satisfaction and productivity. The first step toward achieving these benefits is understanding exactly where an organization’s current automation maturity level stands. This knowledge empowers teams to embrace an informed and systematic approach to further mature their organization’s automation maturity.

Discover your organization’s automation maturity levels by taking the DevOps Automation Assessment.

For more actionable insights, download the 2023 DevOps Automation Pulse report, a comprehensive guide on the current state of DevOps automation and how organizations can overcome persistent challenges.