Editor’s Note: This blog post was written by Michael Baldani and Gabriel Martinez, senior product marketing managers for CloudBees.
For the fourth year in a row, Gartner has positioned CloudBees Flow (formerly known as Electric Cloud ElectricFlow) as a Leader in their Magic Quadrant for Application Release Orchestration (ARO)(*1).
Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Application Release Orchestration (*2)
In addition, for the second straight year, CloudBees Flow scored highest across all three use cases listed in the Gartner 2019 Critical Capabilities for Application Release Orchestration report.
The use cases Gartner focuses on include:(*3)
Release Manager (4.9/5)
Application/Product Owner (4.9/5)
DevOps/Application Operations Team Member (4.9/5)
This is a tremendous honor, and we’re pleased to again be recognized as an MQ Leader within this category full of enterprise solutions focused on the critical function of software delivery.
Gartner subscribers use the Magic Quadrant to assess the performance of various solutions using an easy-to-read chart that highlights the ability to execute and completeness of vision. These Magic Quadrants are refreshed yearly to stay current with exciting market movements (e.g., CloudBees acquiring Electric Cloud) and a whole lot of analysts’ defined criteria and new requirements.
According to Gartner’s 2019 report, ”ARO tools enable DevOps teams to automate application deployment, manage continuous integration/continuous delivery pipelines and orchestrate release workflows.”
As you’ll see by reading the full ARO Magic Quadrant, we believe that CloudBees Flow is well-positioned to help organizations modernize and improve their software delivery management practices.
ARO is dead. Long live ARO!
One of the most interesting things I learned while reading this ARO MQ was that it would be the final one published by Gartner.
“As the ARO market is being heavily disrupted, Gartner believes application release is no longer the correct perspective for understanding and evaluating the vendor landscape. The delineation in functionality between various tools — ARO, continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD), serverless, platform as a service (PaaS), etc. — is becoming blurred as these markets converge.” (*1)
According to Gartner, the 2019 ARO Magic Quadrant will be the last report, as converging and overlapping tools and categories make it difficult for them to clearly define and draw boundaries in the space.
Does this mean ARO solutions are no longer needed? Absolutely not! The need for organizations to scale release activities across multiple diverse teams, technologies, processes, cadences, stacks, and toolchains hasn’t disappeared.
So, if ARO isn’t the right perspective to view this market… what is?
Introducing Software Delivery Management
Categories are always evolving - and evolve they must if they wish to keep up with the terrific pace of change within the CI, CD, ARO and broader DevOps markets.
In fact, Gartner’s ARO category evolved significantly just last year. Prior to last year, ARO was actually known as Application Release Automation (ARA), which among other things had less of a focus on toolchain orchestration, and more focus on deployment automation.
So, what’s next after ARO? If you’ve been following CloudBees for any length of time, you’ll know that we have a definite opinion about the next step in the DevOps evolution. And, if you read the 2019 ARO MQ, you’ll notice that CloudBees has once again been positioned furthest as the leading vendor for Completeness of Vision.
Back in April when we acquired Electric Cloud, CloudBees spoke about an emerging strategy that ties software delivery more closely to the rest of the business, called Software Delivery Management, or SDM. The goal of this strategy is to help modern software organizations (hint: “you’re all software companies now!”) better position themselves to take advantage of the digital transformations their DevOps teams are driving.
What we’re finding, as we talk to more and more customers, developers and DevOps practitioners, is that disparate and disconnected teams, tools and processes within, across and beyond the DevOps practices and toolchain are getting in the way of the organization treating software delivery as a core business process. They don’t know if their investment in DevOps and digital transformation is driving customer and business value.
In short, while Dev and Ops teams are collaborating to drive significant efficiency gains, there are still gaps between “DevOps” and “the rest of the business.”
How do you connect the entire business to the software delivery lifecycle (SDLC) process? Well, using a Software Delivery Management solution, organizations will be able to tie together all artifacts, data and events across an organization’s DevOps toolchain and beyond, into a unified system of record. This common data layer enables meaningful visibility, control and collaboration between all teams through a unified process to truly develop and deliver software at an elite level.
Some would claim that a one-stop, “DevOps in a box” approach with limited choices of tools across the toolchain is the way to solve this problem. The reality is, we believe it is impossible for a single vendor to innovate as quickly as an entire ecosystem of open source software (OSS) and commercial vendors across the entire toolchain. We believe a true DevOps approach for modern software delivery requires multiple capabilities from several different vendors and even several different entire categories of tools. Organizations have already invested heavily in their toolchain, so we need to enable capabilities across existing tools instead of replacing and placing our bets on a new single “all-in-one” tool.
Today, how well an organization delivers software has become a key performance indicator (KPI) for both the business. But, how do you capture that then manage it to drive improvement? To do that requires extending the feedback loop to encompass all stakeholders and stages in software delivery from the identification of a problem or need, to solution design and development, out to end users interacting with the application and back. An SDM strategy changes the way all functions in the organization think about how software is built and delivered.
In alignment with Gartner’s decision to stop reporting on ARO as a category, due to converging and overlapping tools, in our opinion, to realize the benefits of an SDM strategy, requires leveraging the capabilities of the various tools already being used to do things like providing visibility and insights (value stream management), continuous integration and delivery, (CI/CD), feature flag management and application release orchestration (ARO) Moreover, the promise of SDM is that it pulls in stakeholders and tools beyond Dev and Ops, including executives, portfolio managers, product management, sales, marketing and support. By connecting all teams and tools across the organization using a unified system of record for common insights, you enable collaboration and control with a unified process to deliver better software faster, resulting in improved customer engagement but also measurable business outcomes. Achieving this means achieving the vision of making software delivery a core business process.
To learn more information about CloudBees Flow and to schedule a demo, visit this page on our site.
- Download the eBook on optimizing ARO performance
- Listen to the DevOps Radio podcast on giving software a seat at the table
- Read the whitepaper on Software Delivery Management
(*1) Magic Quadrant for Application Release Orchestration, Published: 7 October 2019 ID: G00373921, Analyst(s): Daniel Betts, Chris Saunderson, Hassan Ennaciri, Christopher Little
(*2) This graphic was published by Gartner, Inc. as part of a larger research document and should be evaluated in the context of the entire document. The Gartner document is available upon request from here.
(*3) Critical Capabilities for Application Release Orchestration, Published: 7 October 2019 ID: G00373920, Analyst(s): Daniel Betts, Chris Saunderson, Christopher Little, Hassan Ennaciri
Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, expressed or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.