Rapid, Reliable: How Z can be the best of both

Background – BiModal Woes

I’ve spent a good deal of time speaking with IT leaders in mainframe shops around the world. A theme I keep hearing again and again is “We need to speed up our release cycles”.

It often emerges that one of the obstacles to accelerating the release process is the differences in release tools and practices between the mainframe and distributed application development teams. Over time many mainframe shops converged on a linear, hierarchical release and deployment model (often referred to as the Waterfall model). Software modifications are performed in a shared development environment, and promoted (copied) through progressively restrictive test environments before being moved into production (deployment). Products such as Micro Focus Serena Changeman zMF and CA Endevor® automate part of this approach. While seemingly cumbersome in today’s environment, this approach evolved because it has shown, over the decades, to provide the required degree of security and reliability for sensitive data and business rules that the business demands.

But, the software development landscape continues to evolve. As an example, a large Financial Services customer came to us recently and told us of the difficulty they are starting to have with coordinating releases of their mainframe and distributed portfolios using a leading mainframe solution: CA Endevor®. They told us: “it’s a top down hierarchical model with code merging at the end – our inefficient tooling and processes do not allow us to support the volume of parallel development we need”.

What is happening is that in distributed shops, newer, less expensive technologies have emerged that can support parallel development and other newer, agile practices. These new capabilities enable organizations to build more flexible business solutions, and new means of engaging with customers, vendors and other third parties. These solutions have grown up mostly outside of the mainframe environment, but they place new demands for speed, flexibility, and access to the mainframe assets that continue to run the business.

Proven Assets, New Business Opportunities

The increasing speed and volume of these changes to the application portfolio mean that the practice of 3, 6 or 12 month release cycles is giving way to demands for daily or hourly releases. It is not uncommon for work to take place on multiple updates to an application simultaneously. This is a cultural change that is taking place across the industry. “DevOps” applies to practices that enable an organization to use agile development and continuous release techniques, where development and operations operate in near synchrony.

This is where a bottleneck has started to appear for some mainframe shops. The traditional serial, hierarchical release processes and tools don’t easily accommodate newer practices like parallel development and continuous test and release.

As we know, most organizations with mainframes also use them to safeguard source code and build scripts along with the binaries. This is considered good practice, and is usually followed for compliance, regulatory or due diligence reasons. So the mainframe acts as not only the production environment, but also as the formal source code repository for the assets in production.

The distributed landscape has long had solutions that support agile development. So as the demand to incorporate Agile practices the logical next step would be to adopt these solutions for the mainframe portfolio. IBM Rational Team Concert and Compuware’s ISPW take this approach. The problem with these approaches is that adopting these solutions implies that mainframe developers must adopt practices they are relatively unfamiliar with, incur the expense of migrating from existing tried and trusted mainframe SCM processes to unknown and untested solutions, and disrupt familiar and effective practices.

Why Not Have it Both Ways?

So, the question is, how can mainframe shops add modern practices to their mainframe application delivery workflow, without sacrificing the substantial investment and familiarity of the established mainframe environment?

Micro Focus has the answer. As part of the broader Micro Focus Enterprise solution, we’ve recently introduced the Enterprise Sync product. Enterprise Sync allows developers to seamlessly extend the newer practices of distributed tools – parallel development, automatic merges, visual version trees, and so forth, and to the mainframe while preserving the established means for release and promotion.

Enterprise Sync establishes an automatic and continuous two-way synchronization between your mainframe CA Endevor® libraries and your distributed SCM repositories. Changes made in one environment instantly appear in the other, and in the right place in the workflow. This synchronization approach allows the organization to adopt stream-based parallel development and preserve the existing CA Endevor® model that has worked well over the decades, in the same way that the rest of the Micro Focus’ development and mainframe solutions help organizations preserve and extend the value of their mainframe assets.

With Enterprise Sync, multiple developers work simultaneously on the same file, whether stored in a controlled mainframe environment or in the distributed repository. Regardless, Enterprise Sync automates the work of merging, reconciling and annotating any conflicting changes it detects.

This screenshot from a live production environment show a typical mainframe production hierarchy represented as streams in the distributed SCM. Work took place in parallel on two separate versions of the same asset. The versions were automatically reconciled, merged and promoted to the TEST environment by Enterprise Sync. This hierarchical representation of the existing environment structure should look and feel familiar to the mainframe developers, which should make Enterprise Sync relatively simple to adopt

It is the automatic, real time synchronization between the mainframe and distributed environments without significant modification to either that makes Enterprise Sync a uniquely effective solution to the increasing problem of coordinating releases of mainframe and distributed assets.

By making Enterprise Sync part of a DevOps solution, customers can get the best of both worlds: layering on modern practices to the proven, reliable mainframe SCM solution, and implementing an environment that supports parallel synchronized deployment, with no disruption to the mainframe workflow. Learn more here or download our datasheet.

DevOps: Where to Start and How to Scale?

Over the past several years, a dramatic and broad technological and economic shift has occurred in the marketplace creating a digital economy where businesses must leverage software to create innovation or face a major risk of becoming obsolete.  This shift has transferred the innovation focus to software. Software success is increasingly indistinguishable from business success and all business innovation requires new software, changes to software, or both.

With this shift to software as a driver for business innovation, large traditional organizations are finding that their current approaches to managing and delivering software is limiting their ability to respond to the business as quickly as the business requires.  The current state of software delivery is characterized by:

  • Heavyweight, linear-sequential development and delivery software practices.
  • Large, infrequent software releases supported by complex and manual processes for testing and deploying software.
  • Overly complex and tightly-coupled application infrastructures.
  • The perception of security, compliance, and performance as an after-thought and a barrier to business activity and innovation

These approaches can no longer scale to meet the requirements of the business. Many existing software practices tend to create large amounts of technical debt and rework while inhibiting adoption of new technologies.  A lack of skilled development, testing, and delivery personnel means that manual efforts cannot scale, and many organizations struggle to release software in a repeatable and reliable manner.  This current state has given rise to the “DevOps” movement, which seeks to deliver better business outcomes by implementing a set of cultural norms and technical practices that enables IT organizations to innovate faster with less risk.

I’ve talked to a lot of different companies and a lot of people are struggling trying to get everyone in their organization to agree on what is “DevOps, where to start, and how to drive improvements over time.  With that in mind, I have asked Gary Gruver, author of “Starting and Scaling DevOps in the Enterprise” to join me on the Micro Focus DevOps Drive-in on Thursday, January 26th at 9 am PT.  Gary will discuss where to start your DevOps journey and present his latest recommendations from his new book.  Don’t miss this opportunity to ask Gary your questions about how to implement DevOps in your enterprise IT organization. When you register, you’ll get the first 3 chapters of his book. If you read the first 3 chapters, we will send you the full version.

Trying to Transform

Here’s an interesting statistic. According to a report, only 61 of the Fortune 500 top global companies have remained on that illustrious list since 1955. That’s only 12%. It’s not unreasonable to extrapolate that 88% of the Fortune 500 of 2075 will be different again. That’s over 400 organizations that won’t stand the test of time.

What do such sobering prospects mean for the CEO of most major corporations? Simple – innovation. Innovation and transformation are the relentless treadmill of change and the continuous quest for differentiation. These are what an organization will need for a competitive edge in the future.

But in this digital economy, what does transformation look like?

Time for Change

Key findings from a recent report (the 2016 State of Digital Transformation, by research and consulting firm Altimeter) shared the following trends affecting organizational digital transformation:

  • Customer experience is the top driver for change
  • A majority of respondents see the catalyst for change as evolving customer behaviour and preference. A great number still see that as a significant challenge
  • Nearly half saw a positive result on business as a result of digital transformation
  • Four out of five saw innovation as top of the digital transformation initiatives

Much of this is echoed by a study The Future of Work commissioned by Google.

The three most prevalent outcomes of adopting “digital technologies” were cited as

  • Improving customer experience
  • Improving internal communication
  • Enhancing internal productivity

More specifically, the benefits experienced of adopting digital technology were mentioned as

  • Responding faster to changing needs
  • Optimizing business processes
  • Increasing revenue and profits

Meanwhile, the report states that the digital technologies that are perceived as having the most future impact were a top five of Cloud, Tablets, Smartphones, Social Media and Mobile Apps.

So, leveraging new technology, putting the customer first, and driving innovation seem all to connect together to yield tangible benefits for organizations that are seeking to transform themselves. Great.

But it’s not without its downside. None of this, alas, is easy. Let’s look at some of the challenges cited the same study, and reflect on how they could be mitigated.

More Than Meets The Eye?

Seamlessly changing to support a new business model or customer experience is easy to conceive. We’ve all seen the film Transformers, right? But in practical, here-and-now IT terms, this is not quite so simple. What are the challenges?

The studies cited a few challenges: let’s look at some of them.

Challenge: What exactly is the customer journey?

In the studies, while a refined customer experience was seen as key, 71% saw understanding that behaviour as a major challenge. Unsurprisingly, only half had mapped out the customer journey. More worrying is that a poor digital customer experience means, over 90% of the time, unhappy customers won’t complain – but they will not return. (Source: www.returnonbehaviour.com ).

Our View: The new expectation of the digitally-savvy customer is all important in both B2C and B2B. Failure to assess, determine, plan, build and execute a renewed experience that maps to the new customer requirement is highly risky. That’s why Micro Focus’ Build story incorporates facilities to map, define, implement and test against all aspects of the customer experience, to maximize the success rates of newly-available apps or business services.

Challenge: Who’s doing this?

The studies also showed an ownership disparity. Some of the digital innovation is driven from the CIO’s organization (19%), some from the CMO (34%), and the newly-emerging Chief Digital office (15%) is also getting some of the funding and remit. So who’s in charge and where’s the budget, and is the solution comprehensive? These are all outstanding questions in an increasingly siloed digital workplace.

Our View: While organizationally there may be barriers, the culture of collaboration and inclusiveness can be reinforced by appropriate technology. Technology provides both visibility and insight into objectives, tasks, issues, releases and test cases, not to mention the applications themselves. This garners a stronger tie between all stakeholder groups, across a range of technology platforms, as organizations seek to deliver faster.

Challenge: Are we nimble enough?

Rapid response to new requirements hinges on how fast, and frequently, an organization can deliver new services. Fundamentally, it requires an agile approach – yet 63% saw a challenge in their organization being agile enough. Furthermore, the new DevOps paradigm is not yet the de-facto norm, much as many would want it to be.

Our View: Some of the barriers to success with Agile and DevOps boil down to inadequate technology provision, which is easily resolved – Micro Focus’ breadth of capability up and down the DevOps tool-chain directly tackles many of the most recognized bottlenecks to adoption, from core systems appdev to agile requirements management. Meanwhile, the culture changes of improved teamwork, visibility and collaboration are further supported by open, flexible technology that ensures everyone is fully immersed in and aware of the new model.

Challenge: Who’s paying?

With over 40% reporting strong ROI results, cost effectiveness of any transformation project remains imperative. A lot of CapEx is earmarked and there needs to be an ROI. With significant bottom line savings seen by a variety of clients using its technology, Micro Focus’ approach is always to plan how such innovation will pay for itself in the shortest possible timeframe.

Bridge Old and New

IT infrastructure and how it supports an organization’s business model is no longer the glacial, lumbering machine it once could be. Business demands rapid response to change. Whether its building new customer experiences, establishing and operating new systems and devices, or ensuring clients and the corporation protect key data and access points, Micro Focus continues to invest to support today’s digital agenda.

Of course, innovation or any other form of business transformation will take on different forms depending on the organization, geography, industry and customer base, and looks different to everyone we listen to. What remains true for all is that the business innovation we offer our customers enables them to be more efficient, to deliver new products and services, to operate in new markets, and to deepen their engagement with their customers.

Transforming? You better be. If so, talk to us, or join us at one of our events soon.

We Built This City on…DevOps

With a history that is more industrial than inspirational, a few eyebrows were raised when Hull won the bid to become the UK’s city of culture for 2017. While unlikely, it is now true, and the jewel of East Riding is boasting further transformation as it settles in to its new role as the cultural pioneer for the continent.  Why not? After all, cultures change, attitudes change. People’s behaviour, no matter what you tell them to do, will ultimately decide outcomes. Or, as Peter Drucker put it, Culture eats Strategy for breakfast.

As we look ahead to other cultural changes in 2017, the seemingly ubiquitous DevOps approach looks like a change that has already made it to the mainstream.

But there remains an open question about whether implementing DevOps is really a culture shift in IT, or whether it’s more of a strategic direction. Or, indeed, whether it’s a bit of both. I took a look at some recent industry commentary to try to unravel whether a pot of DevOps culture would indeed munch away on a strategic breakfast.

A mainstream culture?

Recently, I reported that Gartner predicted about 45% of the enterprise IT world were on a DevOps trajectory. 2017 could be, statistically at least, the year when DevOps goes mainstream. That’s upheaval for a lot of organizations.

We’ve spoken before about the cultural aspects of DevOps transformation: in a recent blog I outlined three fundamental tenets of embracing the necessary cultural tectonic shift required for larger IT organizations to embrace DevOps:

  • Stakeholder Management

Agree the “end game” of superior new services and customer satisfaction with key sponsors, and outline that DevOps is a vehicle to achieve that. Articulated  in today’s digital age it is imperative that the IT team (the supplier) seeks to engage more frequently with their users.

  • Working around Internal Barriers

Hierarchies are hard to break down, and a more nimble approach is often to establish cross-functional teams to take on specific projects that are valuable to the business, but relatively finite in scope, such that the benefits of working in a team-oriented approach become self-evident quickly. Add to this the use of internal DevOps champions to espouse and explain the overall approach.

  • Being Smart with Technology

There are a variety of technical solutions available to improving development, testing and efficiency of collaboration for mainframe teams. Hitherto deal-breaking delays and bottlenecks caused by older procedures and even older tooling can be removed simply by being smart about what goes into the DevOps tool-chain. Take a look at David Lawrence’s excellent review of the new Micro Focus technology to support better configuration and delivery management of mainframe applications.

In a recent blog, John Gentry talked about the “Culture Shift” foundational to a successful DevOps adoption. The SHARE EXECUForum 2016 show held a round-table discussion specifically about the cultural changes required for DevOps. Culture clearly matters. However, these and Drucker’s pronouncements notwithstanding, culture is only half the story.

Strategic Value?

The strategic benefit of DevOps is critical. CIO.com recently talked about how DevOps can help “redefine IT strategy”. After all, why spend all that time on cultural upheaval without a clear view of the resultant value?

In another recent article, the key benefits of DevOps adoption were outlined as

  • Fostering Genuine Collaboration inside and outside IT
  • Establishing End-to-End automation
  • Delivering Faster
  • Establishing closer ties with the user

Elsewhere, an overtly positive piece by Automic gave no fewer than 10 good reasons to embrace DevOps, including fostering agility, saving costs, turning failure into continuous improvement, removing silos, find issues more quickly and building a more collaborative environment.

How such goals become measurable metrics isn’t made clear by the authors, but the fact remains that most commentators see significant strategic value in DevOps. Little wonder that this year’s session agenda at SHARE includes a track called DevOps in the Enterprise, while the events calendar for 2017 looks just as busy again with DevOps shows.

Make It Real

So far that’s a lot of talk and not a lot of specific detail. Changing organizational culture is so nebulous as to be almost indefinable – shifting IT culture toward a DevOps oriented approach covers a multitude of factors in terms of behaviour, structure, teamwork, communication and technology it’s worthy of studies in its own right.  Strategically, transforming IT to be a DevOps shop requires significant changes in flexibility, efficiency and collaboration between teams, as well as an inevitable refresh in the underlying tool chain, as it is often referred.

To truly succeed at DevOps, one has to look and the specific requirements and desired outcomes:  being able to work out specifically, tangibly and measurably what is needed, and how it can be achieved, is critical. Without this you have a lot of change and little clarity on whether it does any good.

Micro Focus’ recent white paper “From Theory to Reality” (download here) discusses the joint issues of cultural and operational change as enterprise-scale IT shops look to gain benefits from adopting a DevOps model. It cites three real customer situations where each has tackled a specific situation in its own way, and the results of doing so.

Learn More

Each organization’s DevOps journey will be different, and must meet specific internal needs. Why not join Micro Focus at the upcoming SHARE, DevDay or #MFSummit2017 shows to hear for how major IT organizations are transforming how they deliver value through DevOps, with the help of Micro Focus technology.

If you want to build an IT service citadel of the future, it had better be on something concrete. Talk to Micro Focus to find out how.

Building a Stronger Mainframe Community

Community brings individuals and groups together – united in a common practice, belief or behavior. We see positive examples of community in many aspects of our daily lives whether it is our local neighborhood, family settings or common interest groups. Good examples are also found in the software industry. Following on from a recent Mainframe Virtual User Group event, Ed Airey explores the importance of community and how this proven principle can yield lasting value for new and existing members.

What is the Mainframe Virtual User Group?

On November 17th, Micro Focus held the November edition of its Mainframe Virtual User Group (VUG). This fall meeting saw Micro Focus Enterprise users and Mainframe enthusiasts across the former Serena business, come together –united under one flag and one common theme – the future and growing importance of the Mainframe. The Mainframe VUG serves as a quarterly update offering company news, product roadmap updates, recent event highlights as well as a spotlight technology and educational demonstration.  November’s theme focused on the importance of DevOps and the increasing role that the Mainframe plays in enabling that practice across the enterprise.

Highlights from the September iChange event in Chicago were also covered in this briefing as well as a reference to valued technical resources* for community members. Al Slovacek, Product Manager for the ChangeMan ZMF solution provided several product roadmap updates including a review of ChangeMan 8.1.2 and 8.1.3 and a forward view into version 8.2.  Eddie Houghton, Enterprise product director, provided a similar technology overview and roadmap update for the Micro Focus Enterprise solution set, including the most recent version-Enterprise 2.3.2.

MainframeCommunity

DevOps takes center stage…

Perhaps the highlight of the November Mainframe VUG, however, was a live End-to-End Mainframe DevOps demonstration performed by Gary Evans, Technical Services Director at Micro Focus.  Gary showcased the development efficiency and test automation capabilities available within this continuous integration toolset designed for the Mainframe—a powerful solution to accelerate and streamline application delivery. Gary explained how organizations can get started quickly on their incremental path to DevOps and his demo was a great technology overview for DevOps newbies and seasoned practicioners alike.

These are exactly the reasons community matters. Sharing best practices, product knowledge and building a sense of shared engagement. Underpinned by a commitment to education, the Mainframe VUG seeks to share subject matter expertise across the Mainframe community.  Why not come along to the next community event and see for yourself?  Join us on Thursday, February 9, 2017 for our winter edition of the Mainframe VUG.  Watch the Micro Focus website for more information – registration begins in January.

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#DevDay is coming too

And for those local to the Chicago area this week, why not stop by another great community event-a Micro Focus #DevDay?  It’s your opportunity to see our technology in action, get your questions answered and connect with subject matter experts and industry peers.  You’ll even get a chance to try the tech yourself and it doesn’t cost a penny.

To learn more and register for #DevDay events, visit www.microfocus.com/devday  I look forward to seeing your there and at the next Mainframe VUG event in February!

Are We There Yet?

Digital transformation demands that every IT shop find new ways to move faster and reach their customers with new innovative solutions. Getting new code to market quicker than the competition requires smart tools and intuitive integration to enable faster delivery. Ed Airey explores the new Micro Focus COBOL Analyzer product offering and its capacity to help developers and analysts deliver on this promise.

Every Journey Needs a Map

‘Are we there yet?’ 

A familiar family question heard on most long distance car trips.  A question that’s also difficult to answer, particularly when some drivers, despite better guidance, go off the beaten track.  The increasing mobile use and popularity of satellite navigation (or GPS) technology, has made answering this question a bit easier in recent years. Assuming you listen to the little voice in the box. For those that wait on every wise word and detailed direction, it’s hard to imagine life without GPS. Once you’re used to reliable directions that get you there, every time, why would you take a different path or use a different tool?  The same can be said for application analysis when the right tooling is used.

Actionable Insight
Actionable Insight

The Code Analysis Challenge

Less than 10% of developers use application analysis tools on a daily basis, according to a recent analyst study.   As many as 44% use analysis tools on a project-by-project basis, yet we see a continual need in IT to drive greater efficiency, faster time to market and reduce code re-work.  And that’s exactly how these tools can help—to get you to your destination, quickly and reliably, every time – without getting lost!

It’s Time to Take on Digital Transformation

If you, as a developer, could help your team better understand its core business systems, determine where code change need to occur and reduce the amount of re-work that delays code from going live, wouldn’t you jump at that chance? Or as a business analyst or IT manager, if you could easily onboard new talent to your team, improve collaboration between dev and operations teams or improve IT productivity, would you not take that opportunity?  These are the promises of application analysis tools—helping you better understand your business application and manage code change with confidence.

Impact Analysis made simple
Impact Analysis made simple

Introducing COBOL Analyzer

Today, Micro Focus announces a new offering for its COBOL customers—COBOL Analyzer.  The solution enables developers, analysts and IT management better understand the impact of application change.  Using familiar tools, IT teams can gain immediate insight to where changes need to occur, understand how and where those code change should be made and do so with an understanding of their impact across the entire codebase.

Finally, COBOL Analyzer delivers the integrated toolset to accelerate that change with confidence. Only COBOL Analyzer can help you visualize, understand and act on application code change.  Unlike other offerings, COBOL Analyzer is a solution designed for Micro Focus COBOL applications.  For development teams wondering if the last code package passed QA or made it to production. For teams that are pushed to deliver better code, faster, but are unsure if ‘they’re there yet, code analysis tools are your GPS and trusted toolset to help you reach your destination with greater confidence.

Search your code easily
Search your code easily

Give it a Try

And there’s good news.  You can try this new solution for nothing.  To register for your personal copy, visit the COBOL Analyzer product page.  Also, for those that would like to get started quickly, take a look at the community page for more great materials including a 5-part video playlist, code samples and a getting started tutorial. For organizations with Micro Focus COBOL applications, this is your unique opportunity to gain better insight into your business applications, accelerate code change and reach that digital destination.

Ed

DevOps Enterprise Summit 2016: Leading Change

Mark Levy reports back from #DOES16 in San Francisco – is this is the year that DevOps crosses the chasm? What did he find out from the experts like Gene Kim? Read on to find out the answers and more in this fascinating blog….

Last week I attended the DevOps Enterprise Summit (#DOES16) in San Francisco which brought together over 1300 IT professionals to learn and discuss with their peers the practices and patterns of high performance IT for large complex environments. One of the first things I noticed was that the overall structure of the event was different from your standard IT event.  All the sessions over the three-day event followed an “Experience Report” format. Each session was only 30 minutes in length and each speaker followed the same specific pattern, which enabled current DevOps practitioners to share what they did, what happened, and what they learned. The event also had workshops leveraging the “Lean Coffee” format where participants gathered, built an agenda, and began discussing DevOps topics that were pertinent to their particular environment.  In my opinion, these session formats made the overall conference exciting and fast paced.

Enterprise DevOps Crosses the Chasm

One question remained a focus throughout the event: “Is this the year that Enterprise DevOps crosses the chasm?” #DOES16 seems to believe so. The main theme for this year’s event was “Leading Change”. Gene Kim opened the event by highlighting results of the latest DevOps survey which found IT organizations that leveraged DevOps practices were able to deliver business value faster, with better quality, more securely, and they had more fun doing it!  With over four years of survey data, we now know that these high performers are massively out performing their peers. The focus of #DOES16 was to provide a forum where current DevOps practitioners from large IT organizations were able to share their experience with others who are just starting their journey. DevOps transformation stories from large enterprise companies such as Allstate, American Airlines, Capital One, Target, Walmart, and Nationwide proved that DevOps is not just reserved for the start-ups in Silicon Valley.

DevOps3-300x123

 

There were also several new books focused on DevOps practices launched at #DOES16.  Gene Kim, Jez Humble, Patrick Dubois, and John Willis collaborated to create the “DevOps Handbook”, and renowned DevOps thought leader and author Gary Gruver released his new book “Starting and Scaling DevOps in the Enterprise”. Both books focus on how large enterprises can gain better business outcomes by implementing DevOps practices at scale and in my opinion are must reads for DevOps practitioners as well as senior management.

DevOps stickies

 

It’s a Journey from “Aha to Ka-Ching”

DevOps is not “something you do” but a state you continuously move towards by doing other things. it’s a journey of continuous improvement. During the event, several companies highlighted that it’s a journey of experimentation, accepting failure along the way, while also incrementally improving the way they build and deliver software. There were some excellent case study presentations. For example, Heather Mickman, Sr. Director of Technology Services at Target, has presented three years in a row and showed how a grassroots, bottoms up DevOps transformation at Target has enabled the company to enlist the support of executive management. Target was able to scale software deployments from 2-3 per day in 2015 to 90 per day twelve months later.  The Target team achieved this by aligning product teams with business capabilities, removing friction points, and making everything self-service. What’s next for Target?  Take everything to the cloud.  The journey continues.

If you want to go far, go together

Leading change was the main theme of the event and was highlighted in many different ways. For example, Microsoft discussed their new vision of enabling any engineer to contribute to any product or service at Microsoft, thus leading the change to a single engineering system. Engineers follow an “engineering north star” with the objective that dev can move to another team and already know how to work. Leading change does not just focus on new innovation. DevOps is also about innovating with your “Core”.  Walmart’s mainframe team took the lead and created a Web caching service at scale that distributed teams could leverage. While both examples show how technology is being used to move forward together, there has to be a culture that supports this type of high performance. Many sessions focused on how to build a generative culture and the leadership that is required to change people and processes.

DevOpsDriveIn

Creating a culture that supports a successful DevOps transformation is such an important topic, that I have invited Gene Kim to come on our next Micro Focus DevOps Drive-in, December 1, 2016 at  9am PST to discuss the research he conducted while developing his latest book, “The DevOps Handbook”, and techniques to build a culture of continuous experimentation and learning. Hope to see you there!

ChangeMan ZMF – what’s new?

Hot on the heels of our #iChange2016 DevOps event in Chicago, Al Slovacek looks at the new release of ChangeMan ZMF and anticpates some further integrations that are around the corner. Read on.

The need for speed…

Last year, Serena CEO Greg Hughes coined the term “HRLE” or “Highly Regulated Large Enterprise.” HRLEs depend on the mainframe platform for business critical system. They rely on this platform because of its unrivalled strengths and virtues.

We developed ChangeMan ZMF version 8 with all of these things in mind:

  • The need to move fast without breaking things
  • The need to do more with less

Business agility; the ability to respond to disruption, whether internal or external without losing focus is why leading enterprises depend on ChangeMan ZMF every day.

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ChangeMan ZMF delivers

The new release of ChangeMan ZMF, version 8.1, includes new code in support of over four hundred change requests from you. The prevailing theme of the release is of ease of administration, ease of upgrade and ease of installation. We introduced the HLLX platform, allowing customizations to be kept in an auxiliary area, coded in any LE language, so when you upgrade, you just recouple to the next release. It added the benefit of exposing these customizations to your IDEs and Client Pack components.

We followed up with 8.1.1, with two hundred more change requests, and 8.1.2 with another three hundred change requests. This makes version 8.x a significant step forward in the product focused on the improvements initiated by you.

ChangeMan

That was then….

Back in the day, some HRLE’s had eight to ten ChangeMan ZMF administrators. Today most organizations are down to one or two administrators despite the fact that number of applications, dev teams and IT locations has escalated exponentially. Combine that with navigating through compliance issues, and security concerns and you really do need to move fast without breaking things.

With all of this focus on the administrator, Serena also began to take a ruthless look at ways to improve the developer experience. We cataloged, aggregated and prioritized change requests that pertained to improving how developers experience ChangeMan ZMF. I interviewed customers, pulled discussions from Serena Central and scrubbed our own enhancement and ideas backlog.

Micro Focus and Serena Software – better together

In the middle of this shift of focus for my development teams, Micro Focus came along. Much to our serendipity, developer experience is where Micro Focus have put their recent engineering emphasis. As I’ve mentioned before in VUGs and elsewhere, Serena and Micro Focus have been in the same space for 30 years, yet never competed. This is because our products have never been competitive, but instead have been very complimentary.

DevOpsXchangeChic

#iChange2016 Chicago

Consider Enterprise Developer for z, which was demonstrated both on the mainstage and in breakouts at iChange. That the two product teams were able to put this integration together in time for iChange, without smoke and mirrors is a testament to how well the products fit in with each other.

Micro Focus sent representatives from their Enterprise and Software Delivery and Test (SD&T) groups to give the attendees at iChange both broad and deep presentations into their solutions, and how easily and effectively they work with ChangeMan ZMF.

Now that the conference is behind us, the product teams are collaborating on the next wave of integrations. ZMF and Enterprise Test Server, Enterprise Sync, Enterprise Analyzer to name a few.

Look for some exciting developments in the coming months or contact us to find out more.

Latest updates to Micro Focus COBOL Development and Mainframe Solutions now available

Building a stronger sense of community–It’s a topic often discussed across many industries and technical professions and coincidentally, also a favorite topic at Micro Focus #DevDay events. Amie Johnson, Solutions Marketing strategist at Micro Focus digs deeper into this topic and uncovers some core reasons why community matters while also sharing some exciting product news for COBOL and Mainframe enthusiasts.

If you haven’t attended a Micro Focus #DevDay event in the past few months, let me recap that typical attendee experience for you.  It’s a day jam-packed will technology demonstrations, interactive Q&A sessions, hands on labs and much more.  Its eight hours of technology focused discussions designed for the COBOL and Mainframe developer. If you look closely though, you’ll also see something else, beyond the tech – community development.  I’m always pleased to see attending delegates in engaging conversation with other peers often sharing their ‘COBOL’ stories.  This sense of community both educates, and builds best practices while establishing long term relationships for all involved.  It also removes any perceived isolation that could occur if such conversations did not occur.  You’ll also see many of these experienced professionals talk shop, exchange stories from the past and seek answers to needed problems and questions. In many ways, #DevDay is the place where enterprise developers belong and where everyone knows your name.

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This week’s events in Dallas didn’t disappoint with a strong focus on COBOL application modernization, and performance, along with a desire to ‘sell that strategy’ upwards in the organization.  With thousands upon thousands of COBOL applications supporting everyday activities including banking, insurance, air travel, equities trading, government services and more; it’s no surprise that (for many attending) COBOL remains a solid choice for core business. Most acknowledge though that there are external pressures, though, to consider new solutions, perhaps even re-write or re-place those applications with new technologies. Underlying complexity and cost, however, often sideline those projects in favor of less risky approaches to modernization.  After all, these (COBOL) applications are essential to business success and the tolerance for business is often very low.  But there’s pressure to modernize with an eye to embracing new models, new tech and the future.

Micro Focus Continued Investment in COBOL and Mainframe Technologies

The goal of course, through event discussions is to ensure that all guest leave the event feeling it was valuable and delivered some practical skills which they could use when back at the office.  Yes, many attending are interested in the Micro Focus investment strategy for COBOL and Mainframe tech.  We cover that with ample detail and discussion ensuring all understand that COBOL is just as modern as the thousands of new programming languages available today—and they see it too through many demo examples.

This future proof strategy for COBOL ensures that applications, many of which support global enterprise, continue to function and support the business. Supporting this strategy are the following key data-points discussed while in Dallas:

  • 85% of surveyed customers believe their COBOL applications are strategic to the business
  • 2/3 of the survey respondents that maintain these COBOL applications are seeking new ways to improve efficiency and the software delivery process  while modernizing their applications to work with next gen technology including relational database management systems, Web services, APIs and integrate with Java and .Net code environments

These drivers underpin the continued Micro Focus commitment to support the widest variety of enterprise platforms.  Today, over 50+ application platforms are supported providing maximum choice, freedom and flexibility for anyone using COBOL. This capability coupled with a continued annual R&D investment of $60M reaffirms that COBOL is ready for innovation whether it be .NET, Java, mobile, cloud, or the Internet of Things. And this week brings even more exciting news as we released the latest updates to our COBOL Development and Mainframe technologies.

Mainframe Development Solution Updates

Versions 2.3.2 of Enterprise Developer, Enterprise Test Server, Enterprise Server, and Enterprise Server for .NET are now available.  The Micro Focus Enterprise product suite helps organizations build, test, and deploy business critical mainframe workloads with an eye toward future innovation and market change.

Highlights in this latest update include:

  • Latest platform support – including Linux on IBM Power Systems and Windows 10 – future-proofs applications.
  • Ability to extract COBOL and PL/I business rules to copybooks makes code re-use easier so developers can work smarter and faster.
  • Enhanced CICS Web Services support helps customers more easily meet the demand for web and mobile application interoperability.
  • Improved mainframe compatibility simplifies re-hosting and extends modernization options for customers deploying to .NET and Azure.

Examples of customers using these solutions include, B+S Banksysteme, City of Fort Worth, and City of Inglewood.

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COBOL Development Solution Updates

In COBOL development, the latest version of Visual COBOL 2.3 Update 2 includes the latest updates that helps you organize and manage core IT systems developed in COBOL, providing a pathway to new IT architecture and access to modern tools for enterprise application development.  This release includes over 100 customer requested enhancements and support for the latest enterprise platform updates and 3rd party software.

Highlights in this latest update include:

  • New support for the JBoss EAP platform
  • Updates for the latest releases of supported operating systems
  • Over 100 customer requested fixes and enhancements

Examples of customers using these solutions include Dexia Crediop, Heinsohn Business Technology, and The County of San Luis Obispo..

For Micro Focus customers on maintenance the latest updates can be downloaded via the Supportline portal

So check out these latest COBOL and Mainframe solutions.  Read how these customers are embracing next gen technology alongside their existing core business systems.  And for those interested in joining the COBOL community at the next Micro Focus #DevDay, check out our events calendar here.  Save your seat and join the conversation.

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Announcing the 2016 Micro Focus Innovation Award winners at iChange2016

Ashley Owen announces the 2016 Micro Focus Innovation Award winners from the recent #iChange2016 DevOps event in Chicago. Who delivered Value to the organization that enables dramatic improvement in the delivery of IT services? Which technical mastermind Innovated by deploying a Micro Focus solution in a way that pushes the technology in new direction? Who scooped the award for the Satisfaction created in IT or the business as a result of making use of a Micro Focus solution? Find out by reading on……

It was my pleasure to announce the winners of the 2016 Micro Focus Innovation Awards at the recent #iChange2016 event in Chicago. This year, the categories were:

  1. Innovation in deploying a Micro Focus solution in a way that pushes the technology in new direction.
  2. Delivering Value to the organization that enables dramatic improvement in the delivery of IT services.
  3. Satisfaction that has been created in IT or the business as a result of making use of a Micro Focus solution.

We received some exceptional customer presentations this year, making the choice particularly difficult. However, after much deliberation I was delighted to announce the winners and welcomed them onto main stage to tremendous applause by conference attendees. The winners were:

Innovation:

Matt Northrup
Great American Insurance Group
Implementing Enterprise Release Management

Transitioning from simply automating deployments of specific components and applications to fully orchestrating the enterprise release activities using Dimensions CM, Release Control, and Deployment Automation. This solution has become central to supporting an organizational initiative to expand the implementation of ITIL based processes, accommodating the increasing demand for Agile and DevOps practices and innovations.

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Delivering Value:

Martin Skala
LBMS s.r.o
Key IT processes Implementation within 10 months in Allianz

Implementing Demand, Change, Incident, Problem, Development, Test, Defect, Release, Config & Release management integrated together within the SBM Platform. All processes and practices were implemented within 10 months and evaluated as “Project of the year 2015’ by the IT Service management forum in the Czech republic delivering so much value.

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Satisfaction:

Prakash Balakrishnan
Nationwide
Ramping up ChangeMan Migration

Migrating from one Change Management product to another traditionally presents many challenges, including cultural, technical and project schedules. Nationwide overcame these challenges and successfully migrated from Endevor to ChangeMan.

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Many congratulations again Matt, Martin and Prakash and thanks to all the other entrants! See you next time…..

Ashely

Ashley Owen

Continuously secure and manage your open source components

WhiteSource Software, the leader in continuous open source security and compliance management, presented and demonstrated a deep integration with Dimensions CM allowing teams to secure and manage use of open source components at the recent Micro Focus DevOps Interchange in Chicago. Ashley Owen explains more…..

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During the Micro Focus DevOps Interchange 2016 conference this week, WhiteSource, the leader in continuous open source security and compliance management, presented and demonstrated a deep integration with Dimensions CM allowing teams to secure and manage use of open source components.  This partnership makes the WhiteSource open source security and license compliance solution available to users of Serena Dimensions CM 14.3.2 in November.

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WhiteSource integrates directly into the Dimensions CM Continuous Inspection toolchain, enabling rapid feedback on open source security and license compliance risks for business critical custom applications within the Application development and delivery lifecycle. The invocation of the WhiteSource service is performed seamlessly and the results are available within Dimensions CM Pulse UI.

WhiteSource’s integration gives users the ability to find and fix open source components with security vulnerabilities, severe software bugs or compliance issues related to licensing. These features are seamlessly integrated for Serena users, allowing a safer, better use of open source components in their software while simultaneously increasing productivity. No longer will teams collaborating on projects have to manually track open source usage, or speculate whether they are using vulnerable components.

 

Ashely

 

 

Ashley Owen