I love a good case study don’t you? You don’t? Well, ok, neither do I to tell you the truth. It takes a half decent yarn to capture my attention. So what would I rank as a half decent technology anecdote worth blogging about? I’ll tell you.
Presumably keen not to be labelled as mere recruitment consultants, StepStone is a company that somewhat grandiosely describes itself as providers of “total talent management” no less. Not only that, the company drives its online recruitment services using a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model to bring new offerings to users more quickly.
Like many organisations today, StepStone has software developers in multiple locations including Germany, Norway, Poland, UK and Vietnam. Getting these engineers to work in harmony from a code development perspective needs, unsurprisingly perhaps, a code repository and management layer in the form of a Software Change Management (SCM) system.
I contend that this begs the question then: is SMC a prerequisite for follow-the-sun development teams?
The system in question used by StepStone is Perforce, an SCM offering sometimes also more expansively termed as a Software Change and Configuration Management (SCCM) system.
Nigel Reed, head of software engineering for StepStone is on record as saying that “Perforce SCM enables us to connect everyone to a central repository to track and manage code, wherever our developer teams are based. In turn, this supports faster release cycles.”
So why don’t we hear more companies describing the mechanics of their follow-the-sun operations? Further, why don’t SCM companies use the follow-the-sun interconnectivity and continuity angle to ply their wares more directly?
Got a multinational code team? You need SCM. Easy. I’ve never heard it put like that though have you? OK, fair enough, got a multinational code team – you need SCM, robust security for connectivity, high-level code management methodologies (IBM RUP or other) to underpin momentum and a host of other factors. But you get my point I hope.
OK so I’ll spare you the ‘oh we had a problem and identified our needs so we found that xyz solution would work for us’ type of content and cut to the slightly harder core, “Standardising on Perforce has represented a real change in terms of the functionality available to us, particularly for branching and proxy support,” said StepStone’s Reed.
The Perforce Proxy is in fact a self-maintaining proxy server that caches versioned files for re-use on any local network with remote access to the Perforce server. Any number of proxies can be quickly deployed without requiring additional hardware or software. The branching feature includes a Revision Graph tool that visualises who has changed what and where.
Enough corporate voice allowed there then I think. So do you think if tech case studies were sold with a rather sharper angle in the way I have suggested that you might read them more often. I can only hope so.