As Agile development becomes more the norm, release management has become more of a major bottleneck, delaying key application deployments at a time when businesses rely on software for competitive advantage and innovation. Now more than ever, an increasing emphasis is put on software release and provisioning strategies and automation to help optimize business agility and cost-effective software deployments.
IDC has identified the drivers for enabling business agility with release management improvements, including the following requirements:
- A consistent repository as a single source of truth to help application deployments and to retain essential governance across software releases.
- Managing the release process with notifications and visibility into audit from requirements to deployment.
- Appropriate workflow and transition from development to deployment to manage a challenging handoff.
The cost of a poorly coordinated release varies within each company but the impact is the same. I know of one company that was unsure about which changes needed to go into release and what was being fixed specifically by the software update. When rollbacks needed to occur due to problems with the software release, they were time-consuming and challenging. Release problems occurred as frequently as two to three times per month.
Without automation, the manual process of reconciliation compounded the challenges. The company didn’t have tight control over the release process prior to bringing in automation — releases occurred in an ad hoc fashion, and the chance for things to go wrong was much higher as a result. Manual processes don’t enable confidence. As a result, I have heard on more than one occasion the cry of “Fix It Now!” from executive management fed up with the negative impact to their business.
The requirement to contain long-term high costs in a volatile economy also remains problematic and can constrain business competitiveness and stifle growth and innovations when not proactively addressed and governed.