A Need for Automated Project Delivery
A Customer Success Story
Nuance is a multinational computer software technology company that develops conversational AI software that can understand, analyze and respond to human language. Nuance technology helps customers create stronger relationships and better interactive experiences. With decades of domain and artificial intelligence expertise, Nuance works with thousands of organizations in global industries including healthcare, telecommunications, automotive, financial services, and retail. With thousands of companies relying on Nuance solutions, delivering innovative products to the market is critical.
Oracle E-Business Suite 12.2.4
Before: Manual, Dispersed, Inefficient
The Nuance IT Business Systems team includes employees in different locations around the globe who collectively focus on project-centric delivery. A typical project is an effort lasting four weeks or more. The team must also manage a number of smaller projects that require delivering enhancements on a monthly basis. As a result, being consistent in how projects are delivered requires a lot of tight coordination. However, this had proved to be challenging with a geographically dispersed team lacking common processes. On top of this, many delivery tasks were not automated which led to the team spending at least 20 hours a week writing scripts to support their own migrations. These manual tasks included reviewing source code, creating PowerShell scripts, logging DBA tickets, verifying execution with DBA team, and more. Project delivery timelines were becoming prolonged which created difficult challenges to meeting business objectives.
- Manual tasks took up time that could have been spent on other initiatives
- Disparate processes across geographically dispersed teams led to miscommunication and longer delivery times
- Delivery processes required heavy reliance on DBA team
- Potential defects in production were a challenge to resolve due to a lack of coordination
“The beauty of this is repeatability. We have a process that people can rely on and it becomes very fast and easy. As we expand the use of FlexDeploy our team can further increase output which directly increases our value to the business and our customers.”
The Solution: FlexDeploy
Nuance knew there was a better way to manage the software delivery lifecycle, and it came in the form of automation; repeatable and consistent processes that could be used across teams and locations. Nuance’s Oracle E-Business Suite implementation needed to be managed better through automation, as did various CRM and web application systems from Oracle and other vendors. The team looked at Quest Stat, UniTask Migration Director, and Flexagon’s FlexDeploy. During the proof of concept, only Flexagon proved to truly support the entire Nuance environment.
According to Ashok Nambiar, Senior Manager, Oracle Applications at Nuance, “We chose FlexDeploy because we wanted a single DevOps tool to support our applications and systems from a delivery perspective. The use of multiple tools was not an option considering both cost and time to train and manage. And in my opinion, the other solutions we evaluated were overpriced in terms of initial purchase and cost to implement and maintain. We found FlexDeploy to be easily configurable, intuitive, and it could really handle our use cases. Case in point, FlexDeploy was simple to implement because we were able to easily transition the use cases we ran during proof of concept right into our production environment.”
- Reduction of 20 man-hours per week by replacing manual tasks with automated activities
- Common process across teams allows more collaboration and a more efficient delivery process reducing migration time by 80%
- Increased coordination between teams
- Drastic reduction in DBA involvement means one less action to coordinate and frees DBA team up for other initiatives
- Identified defects in production were significantly reduced, yet easier to solve due to auditability
- Faster delivery allows for more frequent delivery
After: Automated, Connected, Repeatable
Since going live with FlexDeploy, Nuance’s IT Business Systems team has benefited from a number of related improvements across their software delivery processes, including:
- Repeatability: FlexDeploy allows the team to consistently deploy changes across their test and production environments. This repeatability significantly speeds up the delivery process while reducing the risk of failure.
- Autonomy: Where in the past the team would submit requests to the DBA team, with FlexDeploy code can be moved across environments without manual intervention. The amount of time spent for DBAs has been drastically reduced. Nuance can easily deploy code with minimal downtime and human intervention required.
- Auditability: FlexDeploy provides one central place to review what was migrated across test environments and into production when, by who, and if there was an approver. This drastically improves the process of quarterly audits and troubleshooting.
- Scheduled: Using the scheduling features of FlexDeploy minimizes the work required at night and on weekends to execute manual deployments, improving work-life balance.
- Collaboration: With everyone working off the same platform, regardless of office location, coordination of tasks has improved greatly. Releases are a matter of packaging projects and enhancements together and deploying as one unit. The distributed work is more integrated with a common and more efficient process.
Nuance has cut down migration time by 80% since using FlexDeploy. By replacing manual processes with automation, they have saved 20 man-hours per week, which have been reallocated to work on other projects, ultimately increasing productivity on other initiatives. “The beauty of this is repeatability,” added Nambiar. “We have a process that people can rely on and it becomes very fast and easy. As we expand the use of FlexDeploy our team can further increase output which directly increases our value to the business and our customers.”
Nambiar has big plans for FlexDeploy within the team. “As we look to the future, one of the things we like about FlexDeploy is that it continues to be enhanced on a regular and predictable basis, often incorporating feedback from our team. We see a lot of opportunities to mature our processes by taking further advantage of pipeline and release automation capabilities, integrating our test tools, and moving to more continuous delivery. FlexDeploy will help us execute a comprehensive enterprise DevOps strategy, supporting a more continuous and effective approach to software delivery and release orchestration.”