Forrester, a leading research and advisory firm, recently recognized Flexagon as a Leader in their Wave for Continuous Delivery and Release Automation (CDRA). Forrester said “Flexagon continues to pioneer continuous delivery for enterprise software platforms.”
If you are a leader in technology or technology driven business solutions, we encourage you to read the CDRA Wave in its entirety. In this post, we will review what a Wave and CDRA are all about and highlight Forrester’s main takeaways from the 2020 CDRA Wave.
First and foremost, Forrester advises business and technology leaders to evaluate and consider using Continuous Delivery and Release Automation platforms. They hold to this advice: “You can use continuous delivery and release automation (CDRA) to automate digital pipelines, enable faster product iterations, and improve end-to-end management and visibility.”
Forrester goes on to define the CDRA space as “Applications that automate software delivery through modeling applications, infrastructure, middleware, and their supporting installation processes and dependencies. The resulting release packages then transition across defined digital pipelines, spanning the value stream from source code through build, test, package, and deployment into production”
How does CDRA help achieve an enterprise’s ability to develop, deliver, and support solutions faster, with higher quality, and lower cost and risk? We will answer these questions. But first, some background on the Forrester Wave.
What exactly is a Forrester Wave and why do they help?
Understanding the Now Tech
We need to step back a bit before framing up the Wave. As a pre-cursor to the Wave, Forrester delivers another piece of research called the Now Tech CDRA. According to Forrester, a Now Tech report “highlights the value proposition, trends, vendor segments, and individual vendors operating within a maturing marketplace.”
The Now Tech CDRA provides additional context for and background on the CDRA space, including why it helps enterprises, and the top 29 vendors with the most competitive products. It calls out 3 key takeaways for CDRA and helps set the context for the shorter list of 14 vendors who are selected for the CDRA Wave research.
Here are a few key takeaways from the Now Tech CDRA released in 2Q 2020:
- Improve release velocity and control – There is so much competition in business that the need for accelerated and more effective outcomes is paramount. Automation is a critical way to increase the speed and predictability of deployments.
- Select vendors based on size and functionality – Many vendors are expanding into adjacent markets to provide a more comprehensive solution across infrastructure configuration, build and continuous integration, deployment automation, and release orchestration. Customers need to determine what they are trying to achieve and select vendors accordingly.
- Drive your CDRA strategy based on your platform choices – Automating your digital pipeline is essential. You need to determine priorities based on the technical platforms (e.g. Salesforce, Oracle, ServiceNow, SAP) and the integrations you feel are most important across your tool chain. Other examples include your desired release tempo and operational and governance requirements.
Understanding the Wave
With the Now Tech for CDRA as a backdrop, we head to the Wave. According to Forrester, a Wave “is a guide for buyers considering their purchasing options in a technology marketplace. To offer an equitable process for all participants, Forrester follows a publicly available methodology, which we apply consistently across all participating vendors.”
To achieve the consistency, Forrester uses a transparent methodology to compare the vendors, helping buyers make decisions faster and more effectively based on data.
Forrester calls out two major benefits of the Wave for their clients:
- “our detailed analysis of vendors’ products and services, based on transparent criteria”
- “an Excel spreadsheet that allows clients to easily compare products and develop custom shortlists according to their own requirements”
Forrester Wave CDRA 2020: Platform breadth is the name of the CDRA game
“The IT organization must support the rapid delivery of applications to meet accelerating business expectations. Automating the deployment of infrastructure and the movement of applications is a key enabler. CDRA offerings address the needs for quality and velocity as well as the acceleration of configuration, testing, and deployment processes across complex stacks while ensuring auditability and control.”
Forrester recommends CDRA customers should look for providers that:
- “Support a breadth of platforms, both legacy and cloud-native. The leading CDRA vendors platforms strive to meet your delivery and release automation needs where they are today.”
- “Inject insight and analytics into pipelines. While all the CDRA platforms we evaluated provide some in-platform reporting functionality, Leaders in this space are pushing the boundaries of what’s available. “
- “Have a plan for the future of CDRA. The standalone CDRA market has been in a precarious position for a while. From cloud providers furthering their capabilities to high-profile acquisitions, vendors that are succeeding in this space have a clear vision for where their CDRA platforms fit in the face of evolving competition.”
With that in mind, we can provide a few perspectives on Flexagon and FlexDeploy including the challenges it addresses and benefits it helps achieve.
Flexagon was recognized as a Leader in the Forrester Wave after only 5 years in the market. Leveraging the Wave research can help you determine if Flexagon is the right choice for your CDRA needs.
Continuous Delivery and Release Automation with Flexagon’s FlexDeploy
Historical approaches to software build, deployment, and release have used manual and script-based approaches for deploying changes to infrastructure, middleware, and database, applications, code, configurations, etc., often leading to slow, labor intensive, and error-prone delivery of software.
As described by Forrester in the 2020 Now Tech and Wave research, organizations are looking for ways to accelerate development and delivery, improve quality, and more effectively manage cost and risk. DevOps, Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD), and Release Orchestration help drive these improvements. Flexagon’s FlexDeploy, in combination with an integrated tool chain, makes achieving those benefits fast and easy.
Benefits of Using a Platform
The benefits of a CDRA platform such as FlexDeploy span many roles and processes across IT, and most importantly help achieve business outcomes which provide a competitive advantage. Example benefits include:
- Automate and standardize the provisioning, build, deploy, and release lifecycle
- Speed up the delivery of software, better meeting internal and external customer needs and establishing more effective feedback loops
- Decrease costs to develop and maintain scripts, perform manual steps, and troubleshoot problems
- Reduce errors and lower the risk of deployment errors causing application/service outages
- Gain visibility into the who, what, when, and where across all environments and applications
- Improve team satisfaction by focusing staff on more valuable and enjoyable work
FlexDeploy DevOps Platform Overview
FlexDeploy is a DevOps platform for CI/CD and Release Orchestration which includes support for on-prem and cloud provisioning and configuration management, build and deployment automation, and release orchestration.
Using FlexDeploy, businesses can quickly and easily stand up, tear down, and automate the software development lifecycle using out-of-the-box plugins and integrations for open source and 3rd party tools and technologies in the cloud and on premises. The plugins and integrations provide out-of-the-box integration of the toolchain while eliminating the manual activities and scripting which are often required to manage changes across environments.
There are many facets to consider when looking at CDRA platforms, such as your existing IT landscape, best-of-breed versus all-in-one, etc. But we’ll discuss those in a separate post. Until then, we encourage you to download and read the full report.