Intelligent CIO North America Issue 8 - Page 57

CASE STUDY

Schneider is one of the largest trucking and logistics companies in North America with nearly US $ 5 billion in annual operating revenue . Like many modern enterprises , Schneider increasingly relies on digitizing its business ; the applications it develops , deploys and manages are critical assets that keep its business running . However , despite adopting agile development practices , Schneider continued to face delays and bottlenecks in software delivery processes .

Pat Krah , Vice President of Infrastructure , Schneider , said : “ Speed to market is essential when delivering innovative capabilities to the business . Our old processes and tools did not allow us to deliver these capabilities in a timely , high quality and consistent manner .”
The solution
The Digital . ai Value Stream Platform ’ s Release Orchestration and Deployment Automation features have enabled Schneider to standardize and automate application releases to all of its environments , both onpremises and in the cloud .
With Digital . ai , Schneider has eliminated hand-offs between teams , automated common developer workflows and gained visibility into processes so it can measure performance and identify areas for improvement . Thanks to Digital . ai , agile teams at Schneider can deliver software faster with fewer hurdles , providing better value to the business .
Background : Scaling up after an agile transformation
“ We diagrammed what was needed to build one application and deploy it to just one environment and we immediately saw that there were a lot of hand-offs that caused delays . Multiplying those delays across all of our environments meant huge amounts of wasted time . That was really a tipping point for us . We knew we needed a Release Orchestration tool that would help us address that waste ,” said Heintz .
The root cause analysis also uncovered the fact that development teams often relied on informal , undocumented information about how to build and release applications .
“ We have people who have been in the tech department for 30-plus years , so they have a lot of tribal knowledge . When they need something , they know who to talk to . That makes it hard to onboard new team members because they first have to learn the ‘ go-to people ’ who can help them get things done ,” said Heintz .
From tribal knowledge to executable documentation
To address process bottlenecks , Schneider defined two main goals : eliminate time-wasting hand-offs and make it easier to onboard new developers . “ We needed to better enable our developers to safely deliver value to the business faster , more frequently , at higher quality and with confidence ,” said Krah . To achieve these goals , Schneider needed a solution that could automate a variety of release tasks and that would be easy for everyone to learn and use .
Several years ago , the tech team at Schneider was facing challenges that IT teams at many large , innovative enterprises face : an increasing demand for features and functionality from the business , combined with pressure to develop and release software faster using the tools and resources it already had .
“ We needed to deliver more with the tech team we had at the time , without adding staff or outsourcing work ,” said Amanda Heintz , Release Manager at Schneider .
Schneider chose the Digital . ai Value Stream Platform for its powerful Release Orchestration and Deployment Automation capabilities , along with its out-of-the-box support for many different types of environments . Using Digital . ai , Schneider can automate release work that required manual handoffs in the past . Schneider now uses Digital . ai to deploy applications to a variety of target technologies , including a large on-premise Oracle installation , an on-premise cloud running on OpenShift and public cloud environments on AWS and Microsoft Azure .
To address this business need , Schneider started adopting agile development practices that would help it push incremental improvements to users more frequently . However , even after improving their development strategy , teams still faced bottlenecks in the process required to release applications to their environments . Schneider performed a root cause analysis on the software delivery process and discovered a large number of hand-offs between individuals and across teams .
The Digital . ai Value Stream Platform has also helped Schneider turn tribal knowledge into workflows that are not just documented – they ’ re executable . Schneider now defines commonly used workflows as standardized , reusable templates in Digital . ai Release .
“ Capturing our release procedures in templates means developers can onboard themselves to our standard way of doing things . Digital . ai Release is so intuitive and easy to use that they know it ’ s their
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