Beating the Backlog – Great idea #2 Reduce time spent on development

Often applied generically instead of case-specifically, the phrase ’IT Debt‘ is as widely-used as it is misunderstood. We prefer the term ‘IT Backlog’ but by any definition this represents a major operational challenge and, according to a recent study, an $11m hole in the IT budget of many organizations.

As we discussed in our previous blog, you can’t have innovation without adding to it and only innovation can address it. But what does that innovation look like?

Any solution, innovative or otherwise, is only as good as the people working at the coalface of IT – the development team. Because the reality is that although the format of a developers’ working day seems far removed from that of the company CIO, the development environment reflects many of the challenges of the wider organization. So, meet the daily challenges and you address the wider issue. Sounds good. But how does that argument stack up?

From a developers’ perspective….

For example, the developer firing up their computer every morning is faced with many strategic, rather just task-based challenges to overcome. These may include:

–          Heavy workload – including ‘keeping the lights on’ activities

–          Frequent internal change driving regular redirection

–          Old and outdated technology and environment

–          Limited budget and resource

While these are fundamentally boardroom agenda items and genuine strategic, long term challenges, the developer is only concerned with the day’s tasks – and the tight deadlines dictating their delivery.  And, naturally, development is laden with its own unique complexities. Developers will readily explain how there is much more to their craft than just edit, compile, debug and test. So who sees the bigger picture?

The development manager’s view

He or she will be looking beyond the molehill of the day’s workload and peering up at the backlog mountain. It’s big, continually growing and the best efforts of the development team are never enough.  While limited resources and a complex IT environment are not just development problems, they represent major obstacles in this environment. Especially when adding in the challenges of inflexible architectures and the pressure of not returning value to the business fast enough …

The key, then, is to optimise the developers’ working environment. Because the less time projects spend in development, the more teams can focus on addressing the backlog. The problem is that ‘lights on’ work isn’t as sexy as, say, BYOD, ‘going mobile’ and the like, so securing additional budget for simply maintaining what the organization already has is a problem. So what’s the solution?

Nine pages. One answer

Our whitepaper, A step change in development efficiency, called out many of the benefits and solution points that developers, development managers and beyond are looking for. The Micro Focus Enterprise Solution has all the tools needed to achieve them.

If Step One for improving efficiency and productivity is choosing a contemporary development environment, such as Eclipse, then Step Two is to leverage the power of Micro Focus Enterprise Developer.

This robust and unrivalled technology will boost development efficiency, blending contemporary tooling with current mainframe processes and third party tools. Incomplete integration can mean inadequate developer adoption and lost productivity gains, which is why Enterprise Developer majors on ensuring all the hooks are in place between the developer and the trusted, working mainframe processes and technology, but all from a more modern, efficient IDE.

So use the Application Workflow Manager, pre-loaded with the software, to create a user interface and directly integrate current tools, such as source control, either on the mainframe or the workstation. This customization matches the development environment you want with the development workflows you have giving you full control over customization without incurring any costly plugin development.

This is where you start to mine the benefits of application modernization.

Supporting mainframe workflow is just one example though, Enterprise Developer’s 3rd party integration, it’s flexible approach to developing off or on the mainframe, it’s unrivalled support of the z/OS and subsystem environments, and it’s use of the latest Eclipse capabilities ensures that developers will be up and running quickly with a the very best mainframe application technology, as a result productivity and efficiency gains will be realized sooner.


Customizing the IDE to develop on and off the mainframe

This is where you start to mine the benefits of using the best in mainframe application development technology from Micro Focus. The benefits to the development team include:

–          Full control over customization

–          Better mainframe integration

–          Swift development acceptance

–          Faster productivity gains

Big talk. Any small print?

No. These are achievable benefits and we have the case studies to prove it.  One customer achieved a 40% cost reduction and improved development efficiency by 25%.

Enterprise Developer, as part of the Enterprise Solution, increases productivity and improves efficiency to achieve a faster time to market and free up more time to work through that backlog, or work on that innovation project that will ultimately deliver real value to your business.

Because in almost every organisation, from the coalface to the top floor, everyone is affected by the IT Backlog – it’s just that not everyone knows it. But add the right tools to the right part of the process and you’ve found the solution. See how for yourself.

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