In the last post, we looked at the first level of Application Readiness maturity, Level 1 – Basic Packaging, where application packaging is a one off manual process and often results in slow and poor quality software deployments. By following consistent standards for preparing applications and establishing a central repository or Definitive Media Library, organizations can move beyond level 1 to level 2 – Standard Process.
At this level, organizations have achieved some degree of process standardization, developed and documented packaging processes and established standards. A central application repository has been established, enabling IT to validate requests and develop dashboards and reports. In addition, IT is now be tracking basic service level metrics. However, the processes are not integrated within or across steps and the functional teams are still not aligned. Moreover, standards are usually established for only a single operating environment, most often Windows.
Here’s how the Application Readiness process typically plays out at Level 2:
- The line of business or application owner enters a request through a templated help desk ticket. The ticket is designed to capture specific application identification and information on application deployment requirements.
- The packaging team validates the request by manually consulting the central application repository but does not check to verify the application has been licensed.
- The packaging team performs manual compatibility testing for Windows and some virtual applications, but not mobile apps
- There is not a high level of planning.
- The packaging team manually fixes any discovered incompatibilities and manually packages the application for deployment following a documented process.
- The packaging team manually hands off the package to the deployment team, providing little information on how to move application to the deployment system or what meta data to populate.
- The deployment team performs only minimal deployment and user acceptance testing before deploying the package
On the positive side, standardization and documentation of packaging processes result in more consistent application deployments. These deployments are easier to maintain and support. Standardization also results in some improvement in delivery times and reduced cost. But problems remain. Rolling out new or upgraded applications can be unpredictable and disruptive and because the standards are established for only a single operating environment, bringing on new technologies such as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) or mobile application management is difficult and can be disruptive to the business.
- Codify standard processes for all applications including physical, virtual, and mobile. Begin to look at applications in a user-centric computing model instead of a device-centric one. End users depend on applications to work on and across all their devices when and where they need them.
- Automate process steps with workflow management. IT management teams can use Workflow Manager to centrally control and automate the software packaging process—from application requests through to testing and deployment. This ensures automated handoff between teams and visibility into the process from end to end.