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From Good to Great with Modern Software Applications

DevOps. Cloud. Advanced Analytics. Everyone seems to be talking about these buzz words. Lots of people seem to want them, but what do they really mean? What does digital transformation look like for your team and your applications? What’s in it for you and your company, and will the benefits outweigh the risks and costs?

Software development trends have changed radically in the last decade. Widespread Agile adoption coupled with ever-growing Cloud capabilities has redefined how modern software is architected, built, and run. These changes have also revolutionized how teams do software development. Rapid agility, Cloud-enabled infrastructure, and Big Data have driven competition in every industry.

Northwest Cadence has deep knowledge and expertise in recent software trends and changes that define modern applications today. After all, we’ve been in the trenches alongside development teams for this entire journey. This modernization journey has included helping teams with many aspects: adopt Agile values and practices; integrate with QA and IT operations to become successful at true DevOps; lift-and-shift to the Cloud; architect new “born in the Cloud” modern apps; leverage machine learning to augment apps with Intelligence; and make sense of the increasing mass of data generated by their apps so they can derive insights that drive business forward faster and better.

Modern business runs on software. Whether your company generates revenue from software directly or indirectly, your ability to change the way your team develops, build Cloud-born apps, and drive deep insight through data analytics and machine learning, is your business advantage. We crafted this Modern Applications Guidebook to be your back-pocket resource as you navigate your modernization journey.

DevOps and the Microsoft Cloud

How do you identify, prioritize, and measure the value streams to your customers? How do you focus effort on the right things at the right time? How do you know what resources you’ll need to provision to run your application? What about scaling up to meet demand?

Microsoft Azure allows you the power of elasticity and a pay-as-you-use cost model. Start small and dynamically scale up or down as and when you need to. Add to that powerful logging and metadata that provides insight into how your applications and infrastructure are performing – as well as how your users are using your apps.

Let’s take a journey together. We’ll start with how you can monitor your applications, using those insights to drive what you’re focusing effort on. We’ll then see how you can track development and testing. Next, we will explore how to blend Dev and Ops to make sure releases are non-events. Finally, we’ll take data from your apps to drive intelligence and insights into your business.

cloudDevOps and the Cloud means getting your great ideas into your users’ hands faster than ever, while controlling costs and reducing the demands on operations and infrastructure.

Imagine

Whether you sell software directly or your software plays an essential supporting role, it’s all the same: ideas make your business. Industry-leading ideas don’t come from smoke-filled rooms anymore. Engaging directly with your customers might yield some system improvements, but even then it can be tough to get outside the box and become truly transformative.

The journey starts by knowing what’s really going on with your applications. Visual Studio Team Services and Azure come together with Application Insights, a monitoring tool that goes far beyond simple logging. Application Insights provides a 360° view of your system: not only can you get performance and usage monitoring but with very little effort you can start monitoring business telemetry. This will empower you to make data-driven decisions to guide your resources wisely.

Northwest Cadence can help you identify and generate business metrics that can provide all levels of your company with truly astonishing insights to make your business more competitive.

Flow

Once Application Insights data has given you some ideas for new functionality or improving performance, you need to get through the development pipeline as quickly as possible. After all, it’s only valuable once it’s in production, and you don’t want anything to get in the way.

Visual Studio Team Services gives teams the visibility and collaboration capabilities they need to keep value moving swiftly through your system. Track work at the team level, but also at higher levels to ensure enterprise alignment. Quickly recognize bottlenecks and eliminate impediments. Grab your teams’ attention with real-time, easy-to-understand visual dashboards focused on their most important metrics.

Bringing DevOps and Azure together allows you to track and manage the flow of value, even across an enterprise at scale, in new and improved ways. Northwest Cadence thought leaders understand how to guide the transition from traditional forms of project management to agile visibility and transparency. It’s a shift in perspective, and you’ll see amazing results!

Development

Visual Studio ensures that your teams are incredibly productive as they code. Code Lens gives each method a heads-up-display that show references, author and recent changes, and even production system performance right in the IDE. Developers can utilize Diagnostic and Memory Analysis tools as they debug. Generate unit tests that cover all code paths using IntelliTest and perform historical debugging from production logs using IntelliTrace. Validate dependencies using Dependency Validation diagrams and analyze code on the fly with code analysis. And Visual Studio covers you for cross-platform and mobile app development too!

Northwest Cadence brings real-world dev experience to help you manage source control, branching, configuration, test automation, architecture, and more, all supported by Azure tools so your coders can get back to doing what they love—writing valuable code with a purpose.

Test

As your team’s cadence increases, you’ll quickly need the ability to run automated tests. Whether it’s unit tests that run in a build that is automatically triggered by a commit, or automated functional tests in a QA environment, or UI tests or even load tests that run during automated releases, Visual Studio Team Services and Azure have you covered.

Azure gives you flexibility for DevTest infrastructure, allowing you to rapidly provision dev or test environments that look like production in just minutes. Working together with your configuration-as-code strategy and automated infrastructure, you can start turning around lightning-fast feedback between developers, testers, and operations to make your code production-ready faster (and better) than ever before – all the while minimizing cost.

Release Management supports multiple concurrent releases, or multiple versions in different stages of test, each with their own configurations. Testers can self-provision a personal, production-like environment any time. They can run automated or manual tests or just do exploratory testing without disrupting anyone else.

Cloud-based Load Tests allow you to test at scale without having to first provision infrastructure. Test your application from multiple global locations with thousands of virtual users without configuring a single machine!

Northwest Cadence understands that quality is even more critical as teams adopt Continuous Deployment. We know how to bring together dev, ops, and QA in a way that maximizes turnaround time without compromising on quality.

Build

Your developers are highly skilled, so you want them working on those business-critical features – not compiling code! Modern development teams rely on builds to automate compilation, packaging, and testing – providing fast feedback and catching small issues before they get bigger and harder to detect and fix.

With the plethora of platforms, languages, and tools available today, builds can be challenging. Team Build’s cross-platform build agent and web-based authoring give you the ability to set up builds for virtually any app on any platform using any language.

Northwest Cadence has the expertise and experience to help your team automate their builds, freeing them up to do what’s really important.

Deploy

Are you still doing major releases at night or on the weekend because you’re not confident about what might go wrong? What happens when your user base goes global and there’s no such thing as off-hours anymore? What could you achieve if your deployments were totally automated, straightforward, predictable, and frequent? From rapid recovery to A/B testing to continuous micro-releases, simplifying and automating deployment gives you a solid foundation to ramp up the complexity and increase the value you can deliver without compromising on quality and stability.

What about test infrastructure? Azure enables you to rapidly provision (and tear down) test environments as and when you need them.

Whether you’re releasing to Virtual Machines or Platform as a Service (PaaS), Release Management has you covered. Using the same cross-platform agent and web-based authoring as Team Build, you can create an automated deployment pipeline that automatically provisions infrastructure and services, deploys your apps, runs tests, and provides approval points along the way.

Releases don’t just involve developers – operations needs to be involved too, since successful releases require infrastructure! Release Management gives you the tools you need to increase collaboration between development and operations to enable true Continuous Deployment.

Northwest Cadence understands how to pull together the right mix of tools and configurations to support your deployment needs, without over-complicating. We can help you create a pipeline that’s faster and more sustainable.

Discover what it takes to move your software application – and the people, processes, and culture surrounding it – from good to great.

Read the comprehensive Modern Applications Guidebook to learn more. Request your .pdf copy of the Guidebook: email clientservices@nwcadence.com.

Northwest Cadence helps companies find an edge, create momentum, and improve processes through business and software modernization to realize extraordinary results. The Microsoft Cloud (Azure), Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS), and the Cortana Intelligence Suite bring extraordinary capabilities to help solve common, persistent pain points in software delivery.

As you read ahead and discover the areas affected by the modern software movement, we hope this Guidebook will spark some recognition — “Hey, we’re not the only ones who struggle with this!” — as well as your imagination — “Just think what we could achieve if we could overcome that!”

Request your Guidebook copy today.

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