APMdigest asked experts from across the IT industry — from analysts and consultants to users and the top vendors — for their opinions on the essential tools to support digital transformation. Part 6 covers the development process.
APPLICATION RELEASE AUTOMATION (ARA)
Actually the most important tool to support digital transformation should definitely be a tool that reduces the number of tools you're using! Or at least that reduces the complexity of DevOps processes that span across multiple environments from the mainframe to the cloud. Today's top application development challenge is not lack of tools, but too many tools. Automation, and more specifically Release Automation tools can address this situation by orchestrating existing software assets into a smooth delivery flow.
Product Marketing Director, Workload Automation, CA Automation
If businesses want to remain competitive in today's digital marketplace, they must continuously innovate, deliver, and transform through faster software innovation. DevOps practices accelerate software innovation. However, enterprises face significant barriers scaling these practices in Hybrid IT environments without compromising, quality, security, and availability. It's critical to embrace new technologies and software practices while building on what already works. Application Release Automation (ARA) solutions enable IT organizations to bridge the old with the new supporting the digital transformation of the business by automating and orchestrating continuous delivery pipelines across traditional and hybrid IT environments. IT organizations can deliver features — and the business can bring on new revenue streams — faster, achieving the agility needed to respond immediately to marketplace opportunity, events, and trends.
Director, Product Marketing, Micro Focus
Even the best digital transformation strategy falls apart if customers can't use your application. The cause of these problems are often myriad external events outside your control: browser and operating system updates, new device types, and frontend code changes. To mitigate this risk, you must harness test automation tools such as visual AI technology that can "see" user interfaces as a human tester does. Visual AI technology used in the context of test automation can continually check and monitor user interfaces on web and mobile applications against all possible technology combinations — devices, operating systems, browsers, screen sizes, and languages — to pinpoint problems preventing customers from using your application.
CONTINUOUS INTEGRATION AND DELIVERY (CI/CD)
Continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) tools are critical for enabling digital transformation because they provide businesses with confidence to ship smaller changes faster, speeding up the software development lifecycle, and thus delivering greater business value. CI/CD is the basis of automating the entire DevOps lifecycle.
Head of Product, GitLab
Your CD automation tool becomes the connective tissue between teams, tools and processes. A properly automated delivery process establishes the main highway of your digital transformation, providing the foundation for you to go faster.
DevOps Evangelist, CloudBees
ENTERPRISE AGILE DELIVERY SYSTEM
When an enterprise looks to embark on a digital transformation project they need to make sure they are poised to implement it with speed, while minimizing disruption. To meet the scope, time and quality of project implementations, large organizations need a solution that has been created with Enterprise IT in mind, which are often siloed and dispersed and heavily reliant on business stakeholder collaboration. As such, IT teams need a dedicated Enterprise Agile Delivery solution that will provide them insight into the entire delivery value chain. In turn, IT teams can respond to the increasing and changing demand streams with a collaborative platform that aligns complex IT organizations around shared objectives, offers visibility and real-time monitoring and reporting to ensure multidimensional views into impact and risk across the delivery of demand streams (pipelines), while continually and intelligently factoring in scope, time and quality. The solution should also support Agile and hybrid frameworks so an enterprise can easily adopt the right delivery methodologies at their own pace.
Director of Product Marketing, Panaya
APM FOR CI/CD
The most important digital transformation tool for any organization is an application monitoring solution that can operate at the speed of CI/CD. That means monitoring all microservice technologies, automating EVERYTHING about monitoring (from discovery to sensor deployment and alerting), adjusting in real-time to changes in the environment, and providing an intelligent understanding of information, not just a set of metrics.
Director of Marketing, Instana
IT teams are far too often understaffed and overworked to deliver on the promise of digital transformation. Helping companies meet demands from business operations and customers, low-code is enabling organizations to exceed digital expectations — and ultimately embrace new digital business models. Low-code is a game changer for organizations, allowing for agile and rapid delivery of software while keeping organizations focused on continuous digital innovation.
VP of Product, Appian
Digital transformation is meaningless to business users unless the new processes seamlessly automate or make more efficient the non-digital processes they're accustomed to. They also have to be easy to adopt and use. No-code platforms make it easy to build highly-customized enterprise workflows, and reconfigure them in a matter of days based on user feedback or changes to the desired processes.
"Organizations undergoing digital transformation should look for a security automation tool to take pressure off their IT team. During a digital transformation, it can be difficult for companies to continuously provide a positive customer experience and ensure any security gaps are handled properly. Automating security can help an organization meet customer and application service-level agreements (SLAs) under any operational conditions. When looking at options for automated security services, look for a tool that offers complete visibility into user experience, application performance, and network and application security. It should also automatically accelerate application response time while offloading optimization from development teams. Selecting a solution that uses a multi-layered approach and can block cyber-attacks before they ever reach your network, will help improve overall security and support digital transformation efforts as well.
Director of Carrier Solutions Marketing, Radware
VALUE STREAM MANAGEMENT
With today's intense focus on digital transformation and DevOps, it's easy to lose sight of architecture and design (A&D). Investment in A&D early in the life cycle of an app, before any code is created, is the most efficient way to drive quality up, cost down, and faster time to market. A&D is absolutely critical in complex application development where important choices about being process-led or decision-led have to be made up front. DevOps and the focus it creates on the pipeline often sucks all the air out of the A&D conversation. Enterprises should not lose sight of A&D and look more closely at value stream management (VSM) to gain a more holistic approach to DevOps that covers the entire SDLC.
Stephen D. Hendrick
Research Director, Application Development & Management, Enterprise Management Associates (EMA)
The most important tool you need to execute on your digital transformation is Value Stream Mapping. Without a clear understanding of what your value stream should look like (front to back, time to value focused) your digital transformation is at best a local optimization.
Senior Director of Product, Tasktop Technologies
Read The Essential Tools to Support Digital Transformation - Part 7, offering some final thoughts.
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