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Plutora Blog - Agile Release Management, Release Management

Digital Transformation: Become a Technology Powerhouse

Reading time 5 minutes

Software is eating the world. As companies move forward, they must adjust their business practices by automating manual processes with intelligent software solutions. Classic companies such as bookstores, taxi services, and hotels are now led by software technology companies. For example, one healthcare provider has an IT team of 11,000 people rivaling the top software companies found in Silicon Valley.

Enterprises need to change their business model, transforming into technology powerhouses to survive the digital revolution. They must do it in the right way to stay competitive. Their focus must be to deliver value through software applications to their customers faster and more reliably than ever before.

Innovate or Risk Losing Everything

As agile start-up companies continue to disrupt the status quo of long-standing markets and industries, large enterprises are left with a troubling dilemma – innovate or die. This might seem like an extreme statement, but a look at Uber’s emergence as the perennial digital transformation example indicates just how real this problem is for large enterprises. The taxi business seemed like an immovable mainstay in metropolitan areas, but Uber introduced innovation that has seriously diminished (or, in some cases, entirely crushed) traditional taxi companies.

The new reality is that every company is a digital, software-powered company. IT projects and software functionality has permeated every aspect of every business – from backend processes all the way to customer-facing innovation. Staying competitive requires swift digital transformation capable of keeping pace with the ever-increasing demand for faster releases and updates. While small businesses and start-ups can thrive on this demand, large enterprises face many obstacles to speeding up software delivery.

While Facebook’s “move fast and break things” motto became the rallying cry for so many innovative companies, even the Web giant has had to shift its focus. The “move fast and break things” motto inherently means knowingly tolerate bugs in their releases, but as user expectations for a quality increase, this is no longer acceptable. In 2014, Mark Zuckerberg changed Facebook’s motto to “move fast with stable infrastructure,” which highlights the key problem that every large enterprise is facing.

There are drivers behind the need to innovate and release software faster, but the question VPs are left with is, “how do we actually increase speed and be more responsive without losing control?” To answer this question, don’t look for small changes to project management or operations that could increase productivity – look to enterprise release management as a means of bridging the gap between engineering speed and project management visibility.

Main change drivers for Digital Transformation

For VPs with more on their plate than the idea of changing software delivery processes, the question “why implement enterprise release management right now?” may be looming large. There are three core delivery drivers originating from the business that are sparking a need for immediate change:

Software Digital Transformation

The Need for Acceleration

There has been plenty written about the advantages of adopting agile DevOps at the engineering level to help automate and streamline technical processes. However, less is mentioned of the need for project management teams to handle all of the different automation solutions the engineering teams deploy. With manual processes, there’s no way to accelerate support for the engineering side.

Risk Perspective

Every software release is accompanied by a certain level of risk for the business. Whether it’s a bug in a customer-facing system that leads to revenue loss or an internal IT system that crashes and diminishes productivity, software release risk must be managed. As delivery demand increases, project management teams must have visibility into the total risk landscape – something manual processes can’t provide.

Multiple Delivery Pipelines at the Engineering Level

When release schedules were based on a 12-month or bi-annual pace, it was much easier for project managers to track delivery pipelines. However, semi-daily or weekly cycles are creating a major overlap between delivery pipelines – and the sheer volume of delivery pipelines increases on a near-daily basis. Managing these pipelines with spreadsheets won’t work, driving the need for delivery management change.

It’s time to sunset manual processes

To think that the manual spreadsheet management strategies that most project management teams use to keep track of software releases can keep up with the rate of delivery demand is misguided. Even if project management teams are retaining some semblance of success in the beginning stages of digital transformation, there’s simply no way to manage increasingly automated releases at the necessary rate to remain competitive in the new digital reality.

Faster release cycles that support digital transformation – weekly or bi-weekly at least – are successful just 45% of the time, which is unacceptable for today’s large enterprises.

The top-down approach of automated enterprise release management gives project management teams the ability to plug into a litany of different technologies to create a level of coordination across projects, operations, and engineering functions that simply isn’t possible with current strategies. This coordination of the IT delivery process can dramatically increase project success even as the rate of delivery increases.

How can your organization become a software powerhouse? By implementing a release management function, increasing speed, visibility and reducing risk in the software delivery process. Learn how to do it by reading our free white paper: “Release Management Enables Digital Business Transformation“