Back in 2014, Compuware had signed a definitive acquisition deal with Thoma Bravo. It was in the same year when new CEO Christopher O’Malley talked about steering the entire organisation towards a different, more agile path to meet the demands of the growing digital market. While the core of their business is focused on mainframe, they’re able to tap into its full potential value by shifting its mainframe apps into a process that allows even the non-mainframe experienced dev understand and master how the ol’ mighty big iron works. All these started in 2016.

Compuware from 1973 to 2013

In 1973, Compuware was established by Peter Karmanos, Jr., Thomas Thews, and Allen B. Cutting and was headquartered in Michigan. This was the decade of mainframe systems – big chunky computers that ran entire businesses all day throughout the year. Downtime wasn’t an option and the engineers had to ensure that all systems are running to ensure business continuity. But the market back then was a whole lot simpler and the change in demands weren’t as fast paced as it is today. And compuware offered a solution for better data management that can enhance the business management side. And year after year, decade after decade, mainframe systems have always proven to be the most reliable system of all time: it’s fast, it’s dependable, and it’s huge – figuratively and literally speaking. At this point, it was clear that the corporation was going to be a leader in mainframe technology. This was evident in the number of acquisitions they have made throughout a four-decade span.

The Winds of Change

In 2014, Compuware was still servicing mainframe customers along with its APM customers. While the latter is highly in tune with the current beat of the digital market needs, the former had work to do to catch up with times. Seeing when the corporation started, when COBOL was the prevailing programming language, it had retained much of its relic structure and functionalities – and so did Compuware. But all this was about to change two years after new CEO Christopher O’Malley took the helm and steered the entire organisation towards the path of the future. This is when the DevOps change began.

The Year was 2015

E-commerce has taken off and has increased in size and capacity more than anyone expected. Technology has paved the way for numerous advancements, especially in software development that caters to both brick-and-mortar and e-commerce businesses. Due to mainframe’s dependability and durability, it remained the most reliable form of technology to run and store data. However, as the years progress, the amount of data that is stored and used also increases. There was a need for more equipment and space to house it; but the new CEO had something else in mind. Instead, his goal was to reduce the number of physical equipment and improve the delivery rate of products and services to their existing customers, in order to attract new customers.

DevOps, The Compuware Way

In the beginning, people within the organisation were quite hesitant to embrace the change, especially the conservative ones that have grown so used to the way things were going and have become monolithic in their approach to delivering business to their customers. But through the efforts of Christopher O’Malley, he was able to convince everyone, including CFO John Aho, that the transformation that they’re about to go through is long overdue and something that will be good for everyone, especially for the brand. Here are the highlights of their impressive transformation.

The First Way of DevOps: Flow and Work Visibility

From 2014 to 2015, Compuware has began the process of shifting from a traditional approach to Agile development. As a software company itself, it was important to re-tool the workforce with software solutions that would allow mainframe and non-mainframe resources to be utilised in a uniform scalable manner, and develop value products and services that their customers can benefit from. They also made it a point that the transition was clear and the work was visible, so that they are guided accordingly as they go through the changes step by step.

To change the way the work flowed from start to finish, they took a careful look at the current situation and identified the problematic areas in it. Before DevOps, the company was lagging behind its competitors in terms of agility and product innovation. So they started modernising their mainframe development environment by using a tool-chain that allowed them to understand information from within and outside of the company’s walls.

The first step was to improve communication in and out of the organisation. To create a better flow of conversation between internal teams and their customers, Compuware started using a business software that allowed them to communicate with their customers directly, and allowed the customers to share their ideas to them. This allowed them to gain more understanding of what their current customers need and want, as well as gain insight into the needs and trends of the current digital market.

Next was implementing the use of another software that allowed all of their sites to come together and share ideas on how they can improve their products and services, based on the what their customers have communicated and continue to communicate to them.

They also started using a software that allows them to manage a project from start to finish, making it easy to manage all the important aspects of a project as well as monitor other related tasks, their overall progress, and accomplishments. This was a crucial step as making the change and the work visible were key to making sure everybody saw the benefit and the positive results of the work that they do.

They made an effort to improve their development processes, as well, in order to increase the speed at which they can deliver their products and services to their customers. By integrating mainstream tools that allow mainframe and non-mainframe apps to be worked on by the dev and tech teams, they gained the agility and the ability to develop more relevant products and services and deliver these at a faster rate. They’ve also taken steps to further secure and protect their deployment pipeline by integrating tools that allowed them to test, debug, deploy, and implement solutions faster, without disrupting businesses.