Wednesday, May 02, 2018

About Continuous Service Delivery

I feel like a spinning top for a dreidel
The spinning don't stop when you leave the cradle...

                                                    From "Dreidel" by Don McClean

Continuous Service Delivery aka CSD:  it's all the buzz in the Oracle Cloud Application circles these days.  It's Oracle's answer to the ever-increasing rate of change we're seeing with our customers.  But what exactly is it and what does it mean to you?  Let's see if I can answer those questions for you, at least from an Oracle HCM Cloud perspective ...

The first thing to understand about CSD is that, rather than delivering substantial upgrades with loads of new functionality, we'll be delivering incremental updates with a smaller set of new features.  The idea is to get innovation from the drawing board to the customer at a faster rate.  For the Oracle HCM Cloud team, that means quarterly incremental updates.  No more big bang upgrades to the latest release.  Incremental updates instead - much easier for customers to digest.

As part of the move to CSD, we're changing our versioning nomenclature.  No R14, R15 and so on.  Updates will be identified by the last two digits of the calendar year plus a letter indicating the quarter of the year the update is released.  So the update for the first quarter of 2019 will be 19A, the second quarter 19, and so on through the four quarters of the year.  This change is a better reflection of how we deliver using CSD.

The time span for delivery is pretty simple:  your update is delivered to your test instance first, then to your production instance two weeks later.  This give customers a two-week window to test and evaluate.  Don't panic about the two week window...remember these are smaller, incremental changes.  And, if you're panicking anyway, take solace in knowing that standard operating procedure will be that new functionality in an update will not be enabled for existing customers, with the intent of providing a substantial opportunity to uptake new features and functionality before they become defaults. Will we deprecate features and functionality when it makes sense? Yes, we will.  Generally speaking, yes.  But if you read "Getting Ready" and "Getting Ready, Part II", you know that any changes will be well documented and available to research long before the incremental update hits your test environment.  If you're a new customer, you have even less to worry about: those new features will usually be enabled in your environments until you Go Live.

As it turns out, CSD will be pretty transformative for customers in the experience of uptaking new features and functionality delivered by Oracle:

  • Quicker delivery of new innovations
  • Easier adoption of smaller changes over time
  • Due to smaller delivered chunks of innovation, readiness docs can include deeper dives into the details
Will customers still see monthly patches?  Of course.  Fixes and statutory updates can't wait for quarterly deliveries.  But the innovative stuff will be delivered via CSD.  

I'm pretty excited about the introduction of CSD, as I think quick delivery of innovation is one of the best things a software services provider can do for their customers.  Questions?  Comments?  You know what to do.

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