Is it going to take a major software failure to get you to look at your current systems?

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“A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” There is no better example of this than the application development lifecycle and all its moving parts. If any system, code, process, or workflow breaks down at any time, it can prompt a major software failure that can be devastating for an organization’s business.

Are you building safeguards within your organization to make sure there are no weak links? Are you ensuring that your software development processes are going to help your business avoid catastrophic failures?

Big-time software failures

Industry analyst firm IDC and other experts are going on record aggressively stating that if organizations don’t improve their Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) systems, they are bound to experience a major software failure. The reality is, widespread failures and outages happen every month. Recently, a major urban transit organization was crippled for several hours because of a failed software upgrade. A simple software glitch left commuters stranded for hours. And how about when the federal government’s new healthcare program was almost derailed due to software delivery problems?

IDC reported throughout 2014 that the culprit behind most software failures is the lack of ALM systems, or the use of inferior ALM systems. Lead Application Development analyst Melinda Ballou stated that “shoddy ALM becomes a cost-prohibitive, competitive straightjacket.” IDC also cited multiple software failures occurring at major companies, including Nasdaq, Amazon.com, Goldman Sachs, and United Airlines.

Melinda frequently educates the market about this problem. Like us, she is shocked at how many companies manage only a portion of the software life cycle with no coordinated, end-to-end solution. Recently, she said “That’s really problematic when you’re dealing with the level of complexity that companies have to deal with right now.” Trying to coordinate disparate issue tracking tools, version control systems, build tools and deployment solutions can be practically impossible.

Your safeguard: The right ALM

Why is ALM the safeguard? The right ALM solution provides the visibility and automation you need to spot issues before they become nightmares. A modern ALM solution ultimately monitors and orchestrates all the moving parts, processes, and people that touch the application lifecycle. Being able to seamlessly bring together systems and workflows will minimize manual challenges, reduce production errors, and maximize productive collaboration – and help you spot bad code before it goes live.

The right ALM system also provides anytime, anywhere mobile access, point-and-click compliance reports, and A to Z process automation. Organizations that switch to a modern ALM solution quickly realize how broken the old system (or lack of one) really was. They don’t even know what it would feel like to do massive damage control (or end up on the news!).

Comprehensive ALM ensures that you have no weak links in the chain of your change workflow. From the time a request for a change arises until you move the solution into production, everything is automated and managed. Whether it’s code, projects, deployment status, workflow, testing, release progress, operations, processes, reports, dashboards, or hardware status — the right ALM solution can provide instant updates on everything and keep each link to your chain strong.

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Dan Magid
Daniel Magid is Managing Director of Rocket Software’s Application Lifecycle Management & DevOps lab, and is a recognized authority on helping leading organizations achieve compliance through ALM solutions and DevOps best practices. He has written a variety of articles for leading IT publications and is a regular speaker at technology conferences.

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