How many application release steps does it take to get to customer satisfaction?

See how continuous delivery can close the gap between your business and your customer.

How many licks does it take to reach the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop? Well, actual experiments show a range of possibilities from 140-400 licks. The conclusion is that the world may never know.

When it comes to application release, how many manual steps does it take to get updated applications to your customer (and are you okay not knowing)?

Manual steps in the application release pipeline clog it up

You may find that you actually have hundreds of manual steps to release an application. That’s hundreds of opportunities to introduce error into your release pipeline. That’s hundreds of potential roadblocks to slow you down. That’s repetitive tasks, elbow grease, and long hours of sleuthing just to get an application out the door.

Take Western Union as an example. In his CA World ’15 presentation, Charles Nelles, Director of IT Operational Support at Western Union, shared this analogy: “Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing. That was our quality measure for some of our deployments in the past.” But he knew they could do better and needed to do better as customer experience became a focal point for the company.

You can believe that Western Union knows how many steps it takes to release an app: 357 just on the operations side. By leveraging CA Release Automation, however, they were able to reduce the number of steps to 11 (that’s 97% fewer steps), which to them was a reduction in complexity and chance of error. The before and after data gained from automating application releases is gold to them, aiding Mr. Nelles’ team in their grass roots approach to modernize the company’s software delivery practices.

Keeping pace with your customer requires continuous delivery

Clearly, application release is a bit more complex than a Tootsie Pop. But companies like Western Union are finding their own ways to get to the good stuff (otherwise known as customer satisfaction). And they are not alone. Recent research from Freeform Dynamics revealed that keeping pace with escalating customer demands is a key driver behind digital transformation in large enterprises.

The problem with application release is that it’s not just one team’s problem. Unfortunately, the more development teams adopt agile methodologies to deliver smaller “bite-sized” releases more frequently, the more pressure is put on the operations team to manage and maintain release processes that can keep pace. Agile development on the front end typically means that systemic, continuous delivery practices are needed to maintain a steady, error-free flow of releases.

That’s why you’ll see continuous delivery efforts popping up in many companies with the aim to close the gap between the business and its customers. The more efficient the release pipeline becomes, the more responsive you can be to customer feedback and the faster you can deliver great apps.

Now, if you are like Tootsie Roll’s Mr. Owl, you are already thinking about how to make your journey as efficient as possible. Mr. Owl ended up getting to the center in three licks (and one bite), wise old owl. Take the time to count the manual steps in your release processes today (not just on the operations side but from development to production). Find those bottlenecks and inefficiencies in your release pipeline. And don’t hesitate to leverage tools that can help you to achieve continuous delivery.

Join CA at the 2nd Annual InformationWeek DevOps Virtual Summit on February 25, 2016 to jumpstart your journey.

Patricia Johnson is a product marketing manager. She has been in the high-tech industry for…


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