Nuance®, a multinational computer software technology company, develops conversational AI software to understand, analyze and respond to human language. With a diverse team in the U.S. and India, Nuance’s IT Business Systems team couldn’t rely on a standard process, creating errors and long migration and project delivery times. The company sought an automated tool to manage its software delivery lifecycle.
Nuance is primarily an Oracle® environment, and the team supports systems such as E-Business Suite (EBS) and various CRM and web applications. They found their manual and scripted processes lacked consistency and couldn’t be maintained as the team grew and spread across different locations.
Efficiency also needed to be improved. Typically, the team spent at least 20 person-hours per week writing, testing, and maintaining scripts for migration. Overhead was huge, as were manual tasks—including reviewing the source code repository, creating PowerShell scripts, logging Database Administrator (DBA) tickets, and verifying execution with those same DBAs. Visibility into who changed or moved a task was practically non-existent, making auditability a significant challenge. Plus, potential defects in production were a problem to resolve due to a lack of coordination across locations.
Nuance sought out a single DevOps solution to support all applications and systems. “The use of multiple tools was not an option considering both cost and time to train and manage,” said Ashok Nambiar, Senior Manager of Oracle Applications at Nuance. After considering Quest Stat® and UniTask™, the Migration Director of Nuance chose FlexDeploy®. “The other solutions we evaluated were overpriced in terms of initial purchase and cost to implement and maintain and didn’t even meet all our needs.”
At the same time, Nuance was in the midst of the upgrade from EBS 11i to 12.2.x with online patching. Finding a solution that kept up with that technology and supported the entire Nuance environment was vital. FlexDeploy answered the challenge, as it had more native Oracle support than any other tool on the market.
Nuance saw the potential for FlexDeploy to support their immediate EBS needs and expand opportunities to technologies already in the landscape, such as Salesforce and others they may adopt. They could easily support all their applications and systems with a single solution.
What else went into the decision to implement FlexDeploy? With an automated process like FlexDeploy, repeatability and consistency were given. Moreover, Nuance could validate all code migrations to production in a quarterly audit. There was also one central place to review what code migrated to production, and integration with SVN and tools like Jira™ was seamless.
Nuance saw benefits on several fronts—including repeatability, visibility, and coordination- with significantly reduced migration time. Before FlexDeploy, all parties would submit a request to the DBA team to execute a deployment. Now the team can move through various environments without a developer touching it, reducing the time spent by DBAs. As it’s repeatable and scheduled, they no longer have to wake up people or have them work weekends to babysit a migration. Repeatability speeds up processes and reduces the risk of failure. As one manager said, “As we keep doing this, it will keep getting faster.”
Project speed was also considerably improved, allowing for 10-15 enhancements every month, which previously required manual coordination via spreadsheet and email chains. Now, it’s a matter of packaging everything together as one piece. Coordination across teams is successful regardless of office location, time zones, or technology.
Nuance also realized significant time savings. Today, 20 person-hours per week are saved by eliminating the manual processes previously done by developers and DBAs. What’s more, clear visibility is now business as usual.
The company sees many opportunities not just for migration but also in pipeline and release automation capabilities. They’re looking to move to a more continuous delivery method, which could be weekly or daily. The plan is also to attach specific test plans in the system when deployment is scheduled to continue removing the manual/human intervention required. Lastly, Nuance is looking to investigate WebApps, Salesforce®, and APEX capabilities to continue making FlexDeploy a single platform into which they can fold more capabilities.