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April 28, 2022

Application Release Management: The stakes are higher so we must do better

Today, the business world runs on apps. Since 2016, there’s been a 24% increase in the number of apps that businesses deploy each year, with larger organizations deploying an average of 187 apps, according to the Okta 2022 Businesses at Work survey.

“Right now everybody is on a maturity journey, where they’re trying to become better at releasing good software,” says Brian Thompson, General Manager of Release at Cutover. “But larger enterprises have all the disadvantages.” Often hampered by legacy technologies and beholden to regulators, they can be mired in time-consuming and expensive ways of rolling out applications, he says. 

‘Brittle’ methods, bigger risks

While old-school, sequential development methods offer superior quality assurance and control, using spreadsheets to create these “waterfall” style processes can jeopardize application releases, particularly in larger organizations with more complex releases, Thompson says. 

“Spreadsheets have an inherent brittleness when it comes to orchestrating complex operations,” Thompson says. “If you have a large event that has to be meticulously planned you need to know what everyone is doing, when they’re doing it, and whether a given task was successful – spreadsheets don’t have a productive way of doing that. If everyone’s working on a spreadsheet that’s an intrinsic risk.”

These risks often give rise to companies hiring more and more release managers to check and double-check spreadsheets and process activity - creating process monsters that show application release down, Thompson says. 

Human errors

More businesses are trying to smooth the application release process with testing and automation tools, but making those tools work together can often be problematic. “I’ll talk to people that say, ‘We’ve got an elegant setup for everything our team does – and it’s automated end-to-end,’” Thompson says. “I say ‘Great, how often does it work?’ and they’ll say ‘Seven times out of 10.’”

Besides technology-related automation failures, the human side of application release management can also complicate matters, as we have seen recently in the case of Atlassian, which blamed a weeks-long service outage on a communications error when deactivating an old app. 

With organizations increasingly dependent on apps, and with their customers increasingly dependent on those apps to be reliable, it has become essential for companies to manage application releases in a smoother, more resilient way.

Enter Cutover

Cutover’s new white paper, “Get Release Management Right,” offers best practices for application release orchestration, from both the human and technological standpoint. It covers the benefits that Cutover delivers during app rollout and other change events, including how Cutover integrates IT Service Management and other applications. 

This white paper details how Cutover’s runbook process not only saves time, but can reduce head count and improve the customer experience. 

“Cutover provides a technical, auditable immutable backstop for application releases,” Thompson says. “We orchestrate end-to-end by connecting tools & teams, de-risking processes and offering this incredible, comprehensive view of where you are during release that you can surface with a click.”

To tame your application release process monster, make sure to read our "Get Release Management Right" white paper. To see for yourself how Cutover can help your organization's application release process, book a custom demo

Webinar: How to deliver effective release: The current state of release
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Kathy Jones
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