The False Dilemma: Do I invest in release automation or tool integration?

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CIOs may have more dollars to play with in 2018 – enterprise IT budgets are expected to rise by 3 percent – but that doesn’t make their day job any easier. They still need to extract more value from IT to help drive the business. But with all the technology and noise in the market, this can be tricky, and making the right investments gets harder by the day – especially with their overwhelming workload.

To support a CIO’s decisions, they rely heavily on IT managers/Central IT to make the right investments for them. Yet the latter is often presented with a dizzying array of false dilemmas – such as whether to invest in release automation or value stream integration. Fortunately for this particular dilemma, the answer is both. Investment in the two technologies increases their individual value, their combined value, and the value they provide to all the other tools used in building, planning and delivering software at scale.

Release automation is critical component within DevOps, sitting in the center of the CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous development) pipeline. Release automation tools streamline and automate activities between code commit to production, helping shift software products faster. The fact that 50 percent of leaders will look to implement at least one release automation solution by 2020 (an increase of 15 percent from today) reflects its critical role in the software delivery process.

CI/CD stage, however, is only one part of the software delivery process (albeit an extremely vital one) – what about everything that happens before to understand and articulate a customer’s needs? What about the activities that ensure the right product is being built so that it will provide value to the customer? It doesn’t matter how fast you release a product if it’s not what the end user asked for.

Consider a dumbwaiter at a restaurant. The invention and automation of the dumbwaiter has dramatically streamlined food service, bypassing manual transportation across multiple levels of a building.

Reducing lead time from frying pan to the customer table, not to mention reducing the stress on the knees of busy servers, the dumbwaiter should ensure steaming food arrives at a diner’s table at a calculated time – no matter how busy the restaurant is. Yet that is only one potential bottleneck.

What about all the other steps that deliver a quality dining experience? The table booking? The drink and food order? How are the latter communicated? How does a head chef effectively communicate with the front of house and kitchen staff? A chef can only cook to order – if the order is wrong, it simply doesn’t matter how quickly the table service is. The customer will be unsatisfied, and the restaurant’s Tripadvisor page will likely take a very public pasting. 

Integration solves this issue – connecting, automating and streamlining the whole process from request to delivery. CIOs and IT managers can obtain visibility into the flow of work from end-to-end, and all steps can be traced and measured to continuously improve performance. Integration is the only way of scaling the benefits of DevOps, CI/CD and release automation processes. The same for Agile, too. 

For a much deeper understanding into why organizations should look to invest in both release automation and value stream integration – as well as the need to invest in specialist tools at all key stages of the software delivery value stream – read Tasktop’s Naomi Lurie’s latest article Why you need enterprise toolchain integration alongside release automation.

Want to know more? Request a personalized demo to see how you can integrate your release automation tools with the rest of your software delivery value stream to build better products faster.