Category Archives: DevOps

High-Quality Software Delivery with DevOps

high quality software deliveryHow Lean Software Deployment Increases Customer and Employee Satisfaction

Traditionally, software developers and operations personnel employ different goals, visions, and metrics when focusing on software delivery. However, in today’s marketplace, these teams can no longer work in isolation.

Customer loyalty is fickle, and it can be difficult to stay relevant in a rapidly evolving technological climate. Your enterprise needs to respond to customer feedback quickly and create new products. You need also need to fix bugs and errors in a timely manner and hone your competitive edge. If you fall short on any of these counts, your customer satisfaction and reputation will be at stake. When high-quality software delivery is your goal, there is little room for error. DevOps is often used to accelerate the deployment process and create a customer-centric environment.

DevOps, a combination of “development” and “operation,” was formulated in 2009 to facilitate cooperation between development, operations, QA, and business teams. The DevOps philosophy believes that when the development and operations departments have an aligned mission and vision, use agile principles, and automate more activities, the company will have a competitive advantage over companies that use traditional practices.

Composed of technology-based practices and collaborative business culture, DevOps removes typical barriers by emphasizing the need for communication, synergy, and collaboration. Fostering interdependence among departments, these practices remove the bottlenecks that occur in the software delivery process. At Santex, our consultation experts can aid your team in implementing DevOps to increase sales, improve user experience, and be more competitive in today’s marketplace.

Here are some of the benefits of employing DevOps for both your customers and your team:

Customer satisfaction

According to a survey conducted by CA Technologies, businesses that have adopted the DevOps methodology have reported a 40 percent increase in customer satisfaction.

Reduced costs

DevOps collaboration results in a decrease in the time needed for production, operation, delivery, and feedback. This, in turn, reduces the cost of creating the product. These cost savings can be passed on to your customers, lowering the price they need to pay.

Improved customer service

Customers have a myriad of options in the mobile app and software product marketplace. As such, if customer service is slow, lacking, or unresponsive, they can easily switch to another option. Through the integrated, frequent feedback system generated by DevOps practices, consumer needs and technological issues can be addressed quickly, encouraging customer loyalty.

Increased stakeholder involvement

In a DevOps environment, developers, operations personnel, support staff, and testers must work together regularly. DevOps encourages stakeholders to participate throughout the production process through procedures such as on-site customer, a frequently used Agile practice.

Automated reporting and strategy

By constructing automated reporting dashboards in a DevOps environment, the time spent collecting metrics is greatly lessened, allowing the team to quickly compose insights to share with the management and governance bodies.

In DevOps, QA must create an end-to-end automated strategy that addresses all components of the website’s technical layout, such as automated functional testing, test data management, performance/security testing, and SOA/API testing. This combined with automated reporting fosters agility in the processes, which is key to deploying features with greater speed.

Continuous testing

Agile procedures and approaches such as behavior-driven development and test-driven development employ continuous testing. By frequently running automated test suites, problems are addressed quickly. As a result, the development team can facilitate quality assurance and advanced quality analytics more easily, enabling developers to discover operational issues faster. This helps to close another traditional gap between the development and operation teams.

Efficient deployment planning

A cross-team approach to deployment planning fosters cooperation between the development and operations teams. By standardizing deployment procedures, eliminating routine tasks, automating most activities, and using continuous deployment processes, the development teams can reduce the time between developing code and deploying it. This enables a company to release an innovative product in a matter of days or weeks. As a result, the business becomes more responsive to the demands of the marketplace, increasing both customer satisfaction and employee effectiveness.

To increase sales, improve the customer experience, and be more competitive in today’s market, It is essential that your team members work as a cohesive unit. Integrating DevOps into your company’s business, development, QA, and operation procedures can result in an improved experience for your users, your team, and your business.

If you are considering outsourcing your DevOps implementation or any software development, our e-book Santex’s Ultimate Guide to Software Development Outsourcing will help you and your team determine your needs. At Santex, our team is experienced in implementing and deploying several DevOps applications and procedures, such as continuous integration, site reliability engineering, and cloud platforms (AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Azure). Our team will help you reach your specific software requirements.

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What to Consider When Choosing the Right CMS

content management systemYour company’s content management system (CMS) is the heart of its marketing stack. From SEO optimization to marketing automation, CMS software can help increase customer engagement while propelling the growth of your business.

Although many features of the CMS will be necessary for the future of your company, other non-critical components may slow your progress down or limit your team. A bad CMS choice can lead to lost customers, wasted time, and increased costs.

Here are some factors to keep in mind when looking for the best CMS for your business.

Your Goals for the Software

Modern CMS platforms can do much more than merely create and manage the content for your website. The right CMS software can automate your team’s marketing efforts, optimize the site’s SEO, integrate content throughout the company’s social media accounts, host e-commerce and online payment components, and employ a WYSIWYG (What You See is What You Get) editor for your team members.

However, which goals should your team focus on right now? Which features are not needed at the present time? This brings us to the following consideration.

Your Stakeholders and Their Needs

Web content management initiatives are often halted by internal politics and corporate clashes. Your IT, sales, and marketing departments all have different needs.

Whereas the IT department might want a CMS that aligns with the company’s present infrastructure, the sales team may demand CRM integration to improve sales efficiency and effectiveness. Finally, a content management system is a marketing tool, and the marketing department needs software that can address content marketing decisions and concerns.

As such, the MoSCoW method has been touted as a way to narrow down the most important features in a given situation— in this case, the selection of your company’s CMS software. In the MoSCoW method, each department makes a list of the must-have, should-have, could-have, and would-have features that their department needs to function:

  • Must-have features are essential for the stakeholders to carry out their duties. These are non-negotiable and need to be included in CMS software.
  • Should-have features are important but less urgent than must-have features. They are not critical today but will most likely be used later.
  • Could-have features are desirable but not essential for the department to function.
  • Would-have features are the least critical and/or have the lowest ROI at the present time. While nice to have around, these features are not likely to be missed.

If you are considering outsourcing your software implementation and customization, check out our e-book “Santex’s Ultimate Guide to Software Development Outsourcing”. It will help you figure out what factors you need to look out for so you can reach your goals faster. Here are some factors you need to keep in mind.

Custom vs. Hosted vs. SaaS

Although the IT department is typically responsible for maintaining and managing CMS software, the marketing team, content creators, and the sales department also need to be able to utilize the software easily. Do you want to rely on a third party for support? Is customization a priority for your team? What technical skills does your in-house IT department have?

Custom, on-premise CMS software

On-premise CMS solutions offer the utmost in customization. The CMS provider only maintains and updates the software itself; the installation, security, and infrastructure upgrades will be taken care of by your team. As such, your team will have a greater level of control over the software, as they can decide the infrastructure and environment through which to install it.

However, this level of customization is accompanied by higher upfront costs, a longer deployment time, and possible issues with scalability. If your company’s IT department does not have the technical skills or the financial capital to maintain, install, and upkeep the platform, a hosted or SaaS solution would be a better choice.  

Hosted CMS software

Cloud-hosted CMS software is similar to an on-premise solution, except that the software is installed on third-party servers. Since the servers do not need to be set up in-house, they often have lower upfront costs, faster deployment, and greater scalability. However, you need to rent server space from the host, so the costs may end up being higher in the long run. Furthermore, if any security, scalability, or other functionality issues arise you cannot fix them yourself and have to collaborate with the host.

SaaS (Software as a Service Solution) CMS software

SaaS software is pre-built, so there is nothing to install, update, or maintain. You pay for a subscription to use the CMS. Both companies with and without a dedicated IT department can benefit from SaaS software. Although SaaS is an emerging category in the CMS world, it boasts a list of benefits such as regular updates and rich features, a pay-as-you-go model, service-level agreements, and a high level of scalability. On the flip side, customization can be limited, and support and security are run through a third party.

Choosing the right content management system can be overwhelming. You need to consider your stakeholders’ needs and skills, your current technology stack, and the estimated budget to install, deploy, and maintain your software. At Santex, our team is greatly experienced in implementing software solutions and can facilitate your company’s needs.

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The impact of Generation Y on employee, manager and owner roles

by Walter Abrigo, Managing Director of  Santex

The impact of millennials in the workplace

The uncertainties of today’s world

When we look at the news from our own countries and the rest of the world, we can say without a doubt that “stability” no longer exists. We are living in a volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world. The only certainty we have is that there are no certainties.

While we’re on the topic of things being uncertain, let’s think about the Panama Papers. How many high-level people were completely unauthorized? Or, for example, who would have thought that Iran would have a predominant role in the problem of Syrian refugees when it was once the world’s number one enemy and nobody sat down to talk to that country? Nor did they talk about the presence of a Latin American pope, among other contemporary events.

The skills of the workforce in the upcoming years

From the point of view of hard skills, by 2030, 600 million new jobs will have been created in the world. These jobs will have been established as a result of the Technology Revolution, which is characterized by the use of megadata (IoT), 3D printers, and robots being used in the manufacturing process.

In terms of soft skills, by 2020, in Latin America, 50% of the workforce will be millennials (those born between 1984 and 1991) and their values will now be the values of the world, including:

  • Significant and transcendent lives
  • Happiness not being the result of a specific job
  • Caring for the environment
  • Fewer sexual taboos
  • Extreme transparency
  • Wanting instant feedback

The skills of companies in the next years

Given that there is so much uncertainty and that the world is changing at a rapid speed, there are three critical characteristics that we need to develop in order to survive in the world of work in the upcoming years:

  • Adaptability: Facing a changing world, adjusting and accommodating (subsistence)
  • Agility: Being flexible and elastic in order to redesign processes to meet changing requirements without losing order
  • Alignment: Being attentive to permanently meet the needs of all stakeholders, while simultaneously considering the long-term

Given these characteristics, it will be of overriding importance that organizations:

  • Incorporate technology and permanently redesign their processes
  • Promote collaborative work and networking (both externally and internally within the organization)
  • Encourage self-supervision with a goal-oriented culture

The characteristics of the employees, managers, and organizations of the future

These new features mean that traditional practices will lose their validity. If employees, managers, and organizations intend to surf these new waves, collaborative technologies will need to be the central nervous system of the future of work regardless of the role we play. Here are some characteristics to keep in mind:

Employee:

  • Flexible work environment
  • Customized work
  • Shared information
  • Open to becoming a leader
  • Leverages new ways to communicate and collaborate
  • Changes from being knowledgeable to wanting to learn new skills
  • Learns and teaches at will

Manager:

  • Needs to be a leader
  • Supports  from front and center
  • Understands technology
  • Leads by example
  • Embraces vulnerability
  • Believes in sharing and collective intelligence
  • Is a fire starter
  • Recognition in real time in terms of feedback and commitment
  • Aware of personal limits
  • Adapts to the employee of the future

Organization:

  • Has small teams of employees distributed globally
  • Intrapreneurship
  • Connected workforce
  • Always operates as a small company
  • Focuses on what you want, not what you need
  • Adapts quickly to change
  • Creative ecosystems
  • Runs in the cloud
  • Women have senior management roles
  • More horizontal and with decentralized decision-making
  • Telling stories
  • Democratization of learning and teaching
  • Moving from profit to prosperity

What we are doing at Santex to adapt and align ourselves

Millennials in the workplace: What we are doing at Santex to adapt and align ourselves

Stepping in line with the above, governance at Santex responds to a holacratic system and management is Agile.

Holacracy is a self-management practice for running purpose-driven, responsive companies.

Specifically, these are the actions we develop to try to be adaptable, agile, and aligned.

  • Creation of Agile Management Teams that intervene in the three core processes of the company
  • Implementation of an aggressive Incentive Policy that distributes up to 30% of profits among employees
  • Creation of a Cultural Advisory Board composed of collaborators whose objective is to help promote the values of the company: Participation, Courage, Passion, and Trust.
  • Creation of a Technical Advisory Board composed of collaborators whose objective is to outline the company’s technological future.

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