Building and delivering software sounds simple at first thought, but it is not. Software sees many changes and steps along the way, and now toss in coordinating teams, tracking build versions, and maintaining release transparency. Add the fact that enterprises push through twice as many SAP changes today than in 2011, add in IDC’s recent prediction that requirements will double by 2018, and you’ll see why there’s potential for a boatload of risk arriving. There is no “golden bullet” for achieving a well-defined and smooth workflow that will work for all teams but defined release and change management best practices can go a long way to help you create the right “gold standard” for your company when releasing changes to production.

At the IDC FutureScape Web Conference, IDC predicted that by 2018, line-of-business (LOB) executives will control over 45% of all IT spending budget worldwide – over 60% in the US – and it is they who will drive the growth initiatives. That’s a lot of responsibility piled onto what they already have on their plate. I suspect that automation initiatives will be top of mind as organizations move steadily to the third platform.

That’s why my next few posts will focus exclusively on automating release management processes and on their associated best practices.

Companies use various development and delivery methodologies for managing software changes. Most companies are migrating towards a formal regular release methodology with a few here and there even looking towards a true agile methodology with goals of bimonthly and monthly deliveries. With a large amount of risk in the build, test and release process as development teams create more features at a faster pace, release processes and testing can easily become bottlenecks preventing organizations from reaching these goals.

There’s another factor. In 2015, we observed in the field that ITSM integrations with SAP change control are shifting rapidly from the back burner to the front, and for good reason. This will be another influencing factor in release management process designs. As agile development pushes release management to build, deploy, and test faster through each environment, integration bottlenecks will need to be opened too.

Bringing all these under control with change process automation and policy enforcement offers great opportunity to meet delivery objectives, and delivers a huge ROI, so I’ll take a look at that as it affects Digital Transformation (DX) initiatives, too.

Release management, an important extension of SAP change control, is about mitigating risk – identifying where risk resides and either reducing or eliminating it as a practical problem, and about enabling accelerated delivery.

Over the next few months we’re going to explore…

  • Why manage in releases – why we even need release management
  • What are some serious challenges in managing by release
  • Release management can be difficult – how do automation and Rev-Trac 7 simplify managing by release

I’m really looking forward to diving into this topic, and I invite you to send any questions or areas of focus you’d like to see me explore in the coming months.  Please do email me with your thoughts.

Happy New Year!

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