Sunny Days in Cloud Platform Development

February 4, 2013 Appirio

Mathew Gilbuena, Connie Hall, Julie Wood

Successful cloud platform adopters find their users becoming more innovative, nimble, and quicker to embrace change. Cloud applications are continuously evolving at an unprecedented pace – providing organizations an enormous potential for customization, quickening of business process and acting as a catalyst for change. To stay focused on key decision-making and other priorities, successful adopters are using modern development practices and teams of expert Cloud Management Engineers to reduce backlog.

As members of the Appirio Cloud Management team, we directly support, manage and grow hundreds of Salesforce.com instances. Our success is the result of working with developers selected for specific expertise and our strict adherence to the Agile development methodology. By forging close relationships with our customers through the use of technology, we create progress and witness transformations brought on by our responsiveness to the changing market.

Cloudy computing does not prevent one from enjoying a sunny day! Adopting agile support processes, managed by cloud experts, significantly clears overhead. With a multi-tenancy development model, organizations have access to experts, providing the best developer for each scenario and incorporating the latest innovations as they become available. As a result, IT, administrators, executives and departmental leaders find themselves with more time for business-generating activities. This brings about a real impact to the company’s bottom line – with many seeing immediate and continuous returns.

So what have we learned from managing those hundreds of Salesforce.com orgs?

Drive reuse to maximize efficiency. A multi-tenant cloud computing environment runs on identical hardware stacks and software releases, allowing confident solution delivery into multiple environments. As a result of leveling the playing field, organizations focus upon their key differentiators – instead of being held back by technology. We take advantage of this by converting the experience of working across thousands of projects into reusable assets that are stored in our Cloud Asset Library. By sharing common user stories, development tasks, test cases and assets, our customers realize quicker development times, consistent software releases, and an increased mobility for change.

Give full transparency so business impact drives prioritization. Changes requested by users vary in scope and complexity – from the sales rep who asks to automate split commission to the support department needing a new custom object.  So it’s critical that all stakeholders have total visibility on backlog, story ranking, development status, and release scheduling so that the business impact is the driver of backlog prioritization.  We empower our stakeholders by using Work Manager, located within the Appirio Cloud Management Center, which gives them that full transparency. The best news is that all Cloud Management customers get access to the Cloud Management Center. Coupled with dashboards to track overall status and metrics, decision-makers are equipped with powerful tools and information to make the best choices that maximize business impact for their organization.

Monitor environment health to stay on course. Evaluating the quality, performance and complexity of your instance should be quantitatively measured and compared so you know where you stand and which way the health of your org is going.  We’ve made this easy with our Cloud Metrics Report. This tool identifies the critical factors that increase complexity and cost of managing a Salesforce environment. With periodic analysis and recommendations, our Cloud Management teams ensure the most optimized development relative to code complexity, quality, performance and user adoption. Users benefit from the increased ease-of-use and functional improvements brought about by a lean implementation.

Predictable development, with open communication channels, allows consistent, reliably scheduled releases. Coupled with metrics and complete end-to-end views, projects no longer are marked with a question mark; organizations find themselves freed to wrestle new challenges — with an appreciably fresher to-do list. By leveraging the expertise of Cloud Management teams, your can shape your software environment to fit the business and needs of the user and customer.

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