DevOps for ERP/CRM
Learn how you can apply your Agile and DevOps practices to Enterprise Resource Planning and Customer Relationship Management systems.
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As we know, the Agile Manifesto for Software Development was released around 2001. Though the adaptation to traditional application development (AD) and maintenance (AM) has been relatively encouraging, we have yet to adapt it properly for Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems.
What Is the Difference?
If you are practicing Agile Software delivery, you will know that by and large, there is nothing drastically different in the approach to existing AD or AM models (per Agile Way of Working). Yes, there will be subtle differences - mostly brought in by the tool/vendor specific adaptation required (e.g. Pega will have associated PMF as an ALM Tool, or SAP may propose Activate as the preferred methodology). Otherwise, you should expect something like this:
This above example is based on a Pega environment. And Pega (BPM) has been into Scrum since the beginning - just the way SAP has also been into Scrum based models for several years now.
Is It That Simple?
I wish reality was as simple as depicted in the picture above. Though the process tweaks are not that drastic in nature, the hurdle is with the cultural changes. How do you ensure that the customer who was used to product/progress reviews with a Gantt Chart will suddenly start adhering to weekly demos - with a working piece of software (and almost no charts)? On the other hand, it is unwise to expect a development team to change gears from traditional to Agile ways of working within a fortnight. So, there will be hiccups for sure! No one promises a smooth ride! But if you get the hang of it - you will eventually have a lot to gain. And be assured of a happy customer.
Where to Start?
The good part is, most of the leading vendors, e.g. SAP or Pega, have already done the ground work for you. They have ensured that their products are capable of interfacing with the industry standard/popular tools - which are typically used in the DevOps Tooling Landscape (DTL®). So, if you need directions, look no further - start from what is already available. However, if you are deep into the game of Agile and DevOps - you may wish to make tweaks to the pre-packaged frameworks/tools (e.g. SAP Activate) and customize those to fit your exact requirements.
Thankfully, you don't need to set aside a major budget to get this rolling in your organization. You may need to hire a few good coaches - agreed! But you could leverage many of your existing tools and develop a few adapters (and accelerators) so that you may plug in the popular open source tools as well. And eventually, you will probably be using a Hybrid Cloud Stack for the overall infrastructure. So, actually, the cost of managing physical/barebone hardware will go down, whereas with frequent stable releases, you can be assured of faster TTM and customer feedback.
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