Sometimes you’re not invited to the party and it just doesn’t make sense. On June 3, Forrester published The Forrester New Wave™: Feature Management And Experimentation, Q2 2021. You’ll likely be shocked to see that CloudBees—and our enterprise feature flag management platform—is conspicuously missing. Weird, right? We think so too.
Truth be told, we knew this was coming. Forrester informed CloudBees that we would be excluded from the Wave because we do not have in-application experimentation analytics capabilities. For us that’s a bit of a head-scratcher. Most of our enterprise customers have told us they prefer to use our feature management tool with their best of breed user analytics tool of choice given the flexibility and scalability it provides.
There are lots of ways that enterprises seek out market leaders in category segments when researching and selecting a provider. Another place to look for evidence of CloudBees powerful feature management capabilities is through real end user reviews on G2. You’ll see CloudBees Feature Management proudly ranked in the leader quadrant of the Spring 2021 Feature Management Software Report.
We Take an “Embrace Don’t Replace” Mindset to Everything, Including Our Feature Management User Analytics
Early on, CloudBees recognized the realities of enterprise software delivery as anything but a “one-size-fits-all” experience for tooling. It is for that reason we have taken an “embrace don't replace” approach to our software delivery experience. Complex, large scale enterprises want to choose their own best-of-breed user analytics tooling. Our job isn’t to replace those tools. Our customers don’t want us to. Our job is to make it super easy to bring information from CloudBees directly into those other preferred tools and to even bring data into the broader CloudBees SDA platform for delivery analytics and a more holistic view into the overall effectiveness of their software delivery (something that no standalone feature management tool can offer!)
This philosophy is extended to our CloudBees Feature Management architecture for user analytics and experimentation. It became apparent to our architects that most enterprise companies already have their preferred best-of-breed user analytics tooling and data teams. The best possible outcome for our feature management platform was to create a seamless transfer of data between feature flag status and their current analytics platform (via our Impression Handler). This way, there would be no data silos. The same personnel across the company who had access to that data could continue to do so without having to double-purchase user seats for analytics and feature management tools.
Another benefit to this architecture and philosophy: protecting user data. We cannot access your end users’ personally identifiable information (PII). This gives our platform an advantage with companies that prioritize user privacy. (And, we think that’s pretty much all companies. Right?) The proof of success for our analytics philosophy is our rapidly growing number of satisfied enterprise users who embrace it and, frankly, see in-application analytics as unnecessary risk.
Feature Flags Are a Developer’s Tool for Software Delivery First (Experimentation is a Fantastic Bonus)
Regardless of their simplest or most complex use cases, feature flags remain a developer’s tool first. They increase developer productivity and reduce risk in their releases by decoupling deployment to production from the release of features to users. Forrester’s NowTech Report on feature management and experimentation states that the first two improvements feature flags bring to software delivery are “dark-launch,” the act of separating deploy from release, and enabling trunk-based development. At CloudBees, we recognize feature flags are a developer’s tool first and therefore creating the highest quality software delivery and engineering experience is the priority for our feature management solution.
Our customers find us through our developer focus. "Our primary requirements were to maximize the speed of development and deployment, so it was critical for us that the solution we choose was engineering friendly,” says Oren Rubin, CEO at Testim. "Ultimately there was only a single platform on the market that met those requirements—so our decision to implement CloudBees Feature Management was truly a no-brainer.”
Experimentation is important—of course it is. We love helping customers do it easily with their analytics platform of choice. We also know that experimentation is not scalable—or even possible—at the enterprise level if feature flagging is not widely accepted by engineering teams and perfectly integrated across other CI/CD toolsets. That is the number-one priority for CloudBees as we scale feature flags with our customers.
Our Vision Hasn’t Changed: Seamless Enterprise Progressive Delivery
One area that CloudBees and Forrester agree completely is that “CI/CD tools alone don’t go far enough. CI and CD help get you to production but do little to make you feel comfortable while iterating further.” There’s no question that the future of software delivery is progressive delivery using feature flags.
So, we will keep doing what we’re known for, and what we do best: creating the best experience for software delivery, with progressive delivery using feature flags at the core of that experience across our solutions. And we will continue to build in the highest levels of governance, compliance and security to make the adoption of feature flags truly a “no-brainer” at every enterprise company.
So the next time you’re not invited to the party, speak up and tell your friends. They're the cool kids anyway.
Read the report: G2 Grid® Report for Feature Management | Spring 2021
Read our case studies: CloudBees Feature Management