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Into the Cloud: Daily Software Updates

Published on 18 February in SAP
The team behind the carpooling solution TwoGo by SAP delivers daily product improvements to BASF and other customers.

Fast-growing cloud companies like Google, Facebook, and Netflix typically deploy new features and patches on a daily basis, sometimes even several times per day. When SAP Co-Founder Hasso Plattner declared daily software deployments as a goal for SAP as well, coding practices, testing, delivering, even team processes such as scrum, needed to be revisited and adapted to the requirements of the cloud world.

Since mid-October 2014, the TwoGo by SAP team – the first SAP team to have made the transition to daily deployments – have been delivering improvements and bug fixes on a daily basis to productive customers including BASF, Heidelberger Druckmaschinen, and TRUMPF.

It’s already paid off. The team won the Juwi deal primarily because they are able to deliver one of Juwi’s high-priority requirements in a daily deployment mode. The faster delivery mode even led to better product quality.

The Project Team TwoGo at SAP
The project team included Areti Panou, Dirk Lehmann and Jörg Richter from SAP TwoGo. They were supported by Ralf Schmitt-Roquette, Ralf Steuernagel, Michael Spindler and Michael Roemer from Development Culture, Framework and Tools (DCFT) team led by Robin Baldner.

The project team included Areti Panou, Dirk Lehmann and Jörg Richter from SAP TwoGo. They were supported by Ralf Schmitt-Roquette, Ralf Steuernagel, Michael Spindler and Michael Roemer from Development Culture, Framework and Tools (DCFT) team led by Robin Baldner.

How did TwoGo by SAP achieve this?

“As a basis for continuous delivery, you need to implement agile development methods such as Agile Software Engineering and continuous integration,” says Dirk Lehmann, Technical Operations. “Based on these methods, we achieved a high degree of automated tests and these are a must for daily deliveries.”

Customer Feedback for better Product Development

Another key success factor was to completely automate the infrastructure setup so that development, test, and production landscapes are basically identical. The team follows the industry trend of DevOps: bringing development and operations closer together. This reduced their infrastructure efforts drastically. On this foundation the team established “continuous delivery” where a new software version can be “shipped” into the landscape in a fully automated fashion.

“In a typical cloud context, you want to release features gradually to get early feedback. This gives you a chance to improve features before you roll them out to all customers,” says Lehmann.

To make this possible, TwoGo by SAP implements feature toggles that allows them to be switched on or off.

The TwoGo Team is the first team at SAP to execute the change towards daily deployments.

The TwoGo Team is the first team at SAP to execute the change towards daily deployments.

“Another challenge for us was compliance with corporate standards,” says Areti Panou, Quality Assurance. “If you deliver new features on a frequent basis, you can’t afford three days preparation for a quality gate. Luckily, Robin Baldner’s Development Culture, Framework and Tools team helped us work out a new process.”

The new process defines a meaningful set of deliverables which can be collected in 30 minutes and communicated to the stakeholders in an e-mail Q-gate. This replaces the much more time-consuming traditional meetings.

While TwoGo by SAP is the first team to really deliver on a daily basis, they are not the only encouraging role model. SAP company hybris is developing a new cloud platform for commerce.

More information is available at www.twogo.com.

Top image: Shutterstock

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