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PDI Delivers Better Software Faster with MKS’s Unified ALM Platform
“MKS Integrity is a complete, integrated, ALM solution that allows PDI to spend our energy sharpening the saw instead of spinning the wheels. Since we put MKS Integrity in place, we’ve completely eliminated costly configuration management-related release recalls, saving 18 person-months of effort over the last three quarters.”
Earl Milam, VP Application Development, Professional Datasolutions, Inc. (PDI)
Professional Datasolutions, Inc. (PDI) provides software, hardware and professional services to convenience retailers and wholesale petroleum marketers. Worldwide, over 350 companies managing 23,000 retail locations rely on PDI’s systems for retail automation, fuel and warehouse management, business intelligence, financial reporting, and employee selection and training. They specialize in business process automation for geographically distributed chains and wholesale fuel distribution. To better enable their customers, PDI helps them: centralize management of distributed sites; further enable their e-business capabilities; enhance their fuel chain supply and inventory management automation, and control Point-Of-Sale (POS) systems.
The PDI solution is software-intensive. Evolving into the success they are today (with few controls on the software development process) worked well until this point. Now, with numerous customers, numerous product lines, more sophisticated technologies in the solution stack, increasing competition, and accelerating customer demands for quality and features, business is more challenging than ever. The need for process modernization and lifecycle automation was becoming clearer each week. PDI’s old development environment was the typical ‘mess of many’ scenario, characterized by numerous, disconnected, first-generation, point-product-based tools, none of which communicated well with each other. As is all too common, these tools were cobbled together by esoteric manual processes and brittle home-built integrations – one missed keystroke or a forgotten step and it could take days-to-weeks to recover. PDI’s Objective PDI wanted to deliver the right product in time to meet market needs, with as few bugs as possible, while remaining profitable. PDI’s product development strategy focuses on their customers’ feature request priorities; limiting large upgrades to once or twice per year; and, ensuring that they respond quickly to customer issues. Accordingly, PDI processes hundreds of change requests monthly. As competition intensified, the need to automate and control these changes became even more critical.
1 | PDI Case Study
MKS and Novus completed the implementation of PDI’s tailored MKS solution in four weeks. were just some of the vendors that they looked at. ALM best practices and ALM solution implementation. Novus’ deep consultative experience coupled with MKS’ ALM thought leadership were instrumental in the swift rollout of the ALM automation solution. PDI selected MKS as their unified ALM solution provider for: ache. and flexible staging and deployment capability. After an in-depth round of evaluations. a company whose corporate culture was well aligned with their own and that could lead them to a better place. Accurev. knowing they could count on them was a cornerstone of their decision. allowing PDI to have confidence that their biggest head- 2 | PDI Case Study . powerful and easy-to-learn user interfaces. The MKS team’s responsiveness and reliability was a comfort to PDI. PDI was not going to make this decision lightly. PDI recognized that the partnership between MKS and Novus was a strong one and that the corporate culture of both organizations was a perfect match to their own. easy migration. a partner really. would go away. Working together. that they could count on to be responsive and supportive. and MKS. they were betting the business on a 10 year plan so they had to make the right choice. robust. PDI wanted not just great technology. business and software process consulting. MKS brought in one of their local partners. McCabe. Serena. Recognizing that this would be an enterprise-wide shift that could have significant impact on the business if unsuccessful. The Solution Can you Afford Yesterday’s Inefficiencies Given Today’s Reality? PDI decided to evaluate potential solutions. a minimal learning curve > Rapid. To support the initial implementation. Novus Solutions Group is a professional services firm specializing in compliance. Microsoft’s Team Foundation Suite. IBM/ Rational. faulty releases.Case Study Professional Datasolutions Inc. implementation and evolution > A lower total cost of ownership The MKS ALM solution also provided a secure. > Comprehensive ALM solution with a unified data model > Flexible. but also a vendor.
when time-to-market. assign them out for development. PDI is able to work against a change request and track it through different configurations automatically. and make progress knowing that nothing would “fall through the cracks” and that real-time project status is just a mouse-click away. Being able to trace the dependencies is a great benefit. slated for a release. Endto-end traceability of this type was the precise elixir for PDI’s ailment– it ensured that change requests could be tracked. extending the end-to-end reach of their lifecycle automation and the value it delivers. The number of returned releases. This allowed for true Software Change and Configuration Management (SCCM). These two ALM disciplines must be tightly linked in today’s world of collaboration. among them: > No more release recalls with the “backfill” detection. This allows PDI to have faith in their release content and confidence that they are delivering high quality products. The automated development process approach dramatically simplifies their software change and release process. and MKS’s dedication to customer success. and the workload associated with repairing them. streamlined way to collect enhancements. productivity. PDI’s customers are now benefiting from the rapid turnaround times they now experience and the robustness of the updated products. > Code reviews are now conducted virtually. and compliance all matter. Inc. PDI is confident that they can capture new change requests. highly-automated builds and releases.” Earl Milam. PDI is now experiencing many additional benefits. worked. ability to evolve over time. “With its ease of implementation. and with less effort. Now their developers are able to understand the relationship between code changes made in one development path. and change requests. readily prioritize them. assign specific change requests to specific releases. offering easy configuration of repeatable. and choose whether or not to include those changes in a new development path. prioritized. and resulted in savings of a minimum of 18 person-months of effort over the first three quarters after implementation. > By eliminating the error-prone custom integration tools that became problematic. The proper reviewers are notified when changes are ready and they can assess work from the efficiency of their own desk. it allowed their development team to be more efficient in completing their tasks. resulting in higher quality releases. With MKS Integrity in place. ensuring accurate releases. Automated support for all software development activities through a single enterprise application allowed PDI to remove many manual steps from their process. no faulty releases. has fallen to zero. This led to improved code review process. “virtualize” and automate code reviews. bugs. and that the source code associated with those change requests actually made it into the desired release. (PDI) 3 | PDI Case Study . faster. VP Application Development. PDI has plans to add requirements and test management capabilities to their solution.The Results PDI’s MKS-Integrity-Driven Platform The MKS Integrity solution provided PDI with an automated. Professional Datasolutions. we were confident that MKS was a solution that we could bet the business on. Benefits While solving their main issue. quality. eliminated home-grown tools and errors that they introduced. The MKS team had the entire organization of 50+ people up and running in 4 weeks.
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