Ashley Owen Archive

What a terrific first meeting of the quarterly Dimensions CM Virtual User Group (VUG).VUG Group

We were joined by one of our early adopters of the innovative Dimensions CM 14 release, Carmelette Benson of Health Care Service Corporation. The VUG was treated to an exceptional upgrade story that engaged the free Upgrade Lab to advance their planning and readiness, and worked collaboratively with Serena Support to achieve a smooth, successful and timely upgrade implementation. Key takeaways included:

  • Working closely with Serena Support to lay out the process of implementing a successful upgrade
  • Leveraging the Upgrade Lab to identify any data anomalies and gather insight into how long it would take to complete
  • Collaborating with Serena Support and the Upgrade Lab results to secure a successful and confident upgrade in only a few hours

Serena Support was engaged through the planning, execution and implementation and as a result the HCSC team ran into almost zero issues, achieving an upgrade implementation that is now servicing 500 to 600 active users of Dimensions CM.

With Dimensions CM 14, HCSC are now benefiting from a modernized developer centric approach, increasing their development efficiency. The new enhanced merge tool is speeding their ability to accommodate and streamline parallel development, and they are now champing at the bit to implement the visual change graph and collaborative peer review.

Moving forward, HCSC have installed Serena Business Manager (SBM) as a platform for connecting processes across change, quality and release management, and are expanding their use of Dimensions CM 14  for all software applications.

Peter Raymond, Principal Product Architect provided an excellent overview of the Dimensions CM Bridge technology, extending our ability to integrate with broader client tools and then demonstrating use of NetBeans IDE, TortoiseSVN, and SVN command line with Dimensions CM.

Don Irvine was excited to share some Dimensions CM Roadmap highlights – including a number of significant improvements focused on the user and developer experience, a new plug-in architecture to support additional tools such as Unit test and static analysis with results incorporated into the visual change graph, and files decorated for peer review. Customer participation and feedback was positive, and members are invited to join us in the Special Interest Group that was announced during the VUG.

In 3 weeks we will host Serena xChange15 and Don highlighted a number of track sessions that will both excite and compel users to attend the conference and engage in direct product feedback and validation. We hope to see many of you there, and if not, then at the next quarterly Dimensions CM VUG in May.

In the event you missed the VUG, or would like to reference it in the future, you are invited to view the February Dimensions CM VUG recording.

CM_GraphicresizedOn June 10th I announced Serena Dimensions CM 14 – the best ever, and I am pleased to report that we have now secured a number of successful early adopters, many of whom are live and in production, and attracted a significant number of accounts that are now actively pursuing or planning their implementations and upgrades.

We have seen broad and successful adoption across all regions including Europe, North America, LATAM and Asia Pacific. Reports from our partners, our own Professional Services team and our customers who took advantage of the Free Upgrade Lab, have been overwhelmingly positive. If you are at all hesitating over the upgrade, rest assured that many customers have successfully completed the transition and are now enjoying the many innovations and significant performance improvements delivered in Dimensions CM 14.

Of course, for those who participated in the CM 14 Preview and Beta program, we continue to offer Serena’s greatest gratitude, for you have helped us achieve not only the most innovative release, but the most reviewed, validated and tested. Existing members will shortly hear of more Preview program and Special Interest Group events, as the innovation is set to continue, and we’d love to have you come join us and participate as we collaboratively drive and deliver on our roadmap vision. If you are an existing customer or well qualified prospect and wish to join the Preview Program, simply register here.

We continue to offer the Free Upgrade Lab, which is proving to be an incredibly popular service, and when you receive your full and comprehensive Upgrade Lab report, you will know we are not leaving a stone untouched or a customer left behind in ensuring your successful upgrade and implementation.

We also offer a Ramp Up program, for those customers that wish to take advantage of a free health check, and additional assistance in the planning and execution of a successful upgrade with the very best resources in Serena, including access to the Dimensions R&D team and on-line training videos.

Whether you are on a back release or prior release, we have you covered, and I invite you to contact your local account manager or Serena Support, or simply drop me a line, and we will be very pleased to advise you on the most appropriate service that will result in a smooth and successful Dimensions CM 14 upgrade and implementation.

As the overall owner of the content for our next xChange global user conference, I always remember that the heart of xChange15 is the breakout session content but the soul of xChange is the array of fantastic customer presentations.

I am delighted to announce that, as of today, you can learn more about the xChange Call for Speakers on the xChange website and then submit your ideas for presentations online here. Selected speakers receive complimentary registration to the conference.

This year we are looking for topics in the following five categories:

  • Explore: your perspective and insight on industry trends and hot topics that could leverage current or future Serena solutions.
  • Develop: how you have used Serena solutions to define and develop software applications, support development teams and deliver quality deliverables. Example products included here are Dimensions CM, Dimensions RM, PVCS and SBM.
  • Deploy: how you have used Serena solutions to automate the release and deployment of applications. Example products included here are Serena Release Manager, Serena Deployment Automation, Dimensions CM and SBM.
  • Automate: how you have used Serena’s SBM platform to improve the efficiency & effectiveness of your IT and line-of-business processes.
  • Mainframe: your opportunity to show how you use Serena Mainframe solutions in your business.

With the exception of the Explore track, submissions for each track should address three main themes:

  1. What was the innovation you were able to achieve using the technology?
  2. How did this change the processes and practices of the team?
  3. How do you measure the improvement you made?

To help you focus the content on the limited time you have, ask yourself this question:

“What is the ONE thing I want the attendees to be able to do after my presentation that will the biggest impact on their use of the solution?”

Sessions last for 50 minutes and are usually 40 minutes of presentation and 10 minutes of questions and answers.

Where possible, we encourage you to include a real time demonstration of the points you are making, and we will have wireless internet access available.

When you submit your idea, make your description as interesting as possible. Remember, we want the very best of the very best for the conference.

If you are selected to speak, we will give you a free pass to xChange2015 (worth $1,895). You will be notified whether or not your proposal has been accepted.

Submit your ideas now! The closing date for submissions is October 17th.

Good luck! I look forward to seeing you in Washington DC in March.

It is with great pleasure that we announce the release of Serena Dimensions CM 14, which is without a doubt the most innovative and powerful release of our premier software change and configuration management (SCCM) product ever.

Resolving the growing complexity of application development has been a common theme as we engineered this new release in partnership with 150 current customers that participated in our Preview, Special Interest and Beta programs. Contributions from our customers drove the many evolutionary features we introduced, and their help validating and verifying our implementation approach has been invaluable. Thank you to all 150!

Many of the new capabilities in Dimensions CM 14 relate to the introduction of changesets, which are central to eliminating the complexity and concern associated with the growing adoption of parallel development. We are delighted to introduce a new visual user interface for Dimensions CM 14 that we call Pulse that, and as its name implies, provides visibility and insight into the heartbeat of development. The ability to visualize changes and code branches across multiple projects, platforms and locations enables teams to streamline the delivery of code changes in a process that is consistent and easily managed, while the new visual change history provides continuous insight into change health and release readiness. As Ken Vane from Navy Federal Credit Union said, “The visibility and insight that Dimensions CM 14 provides allows us to see if we are converging to quality or diverging from quality in real time.”

Software development/engineering requires extensive collaboration across team members, so with Dimensions CM 14 we introduced a web-based collaborative peer review capability that is integrated directly into the development process and accessible within the developer’s IDE. As developers, we thrive on teamwork and collaboration and now can do so through in-line comments/annotations and associated discussion threads, increasing visibility and speeding delivery. Doing so is critically important, especially in complex, globally-dispersed development team. As Richard Prescott, Software Development Technical Lead at SPTS technologies and customer preview program participant, observes, “The task of managing the merge of new features or patches from one branch to another will be greatly simplified, and the adoption of peer review will improve team collaboration and quality.”

Many of our customers use development teams spread around the globe, requiring high levels of scalability and security to protect their intellectual property. During the development of Dimensions CM 14, we listened carefully to the needs of software development teams in these environments and are delivering significant performance and security enhancements. Performance is everything to developers, and we have introduced a personal library cache that significantly speeds access to files through a secure local cache for those geographically distributed team members. In addition we have considerably enhanced network performance through delta file transfers of only the changed sections of text or binary files. Initial results from beta customers reveal a significant improvement in performance and accessibility, and we look forward to publishing additional results from our early adopters.

Years ago, I thought we were in the midst of development platform consolidation, but today we are just exploding again with the addition of new mobile and cloud environments. We heard our customers who are extending their current applications, or building new applications for today’s modern mobile devices, and delivered new support for development platforms and clients.  With Dimensions CM 14 we have extended our platform support through a native integration with the Appcelerator platform and with integration and interoperability with Apple’s Xcode. We also support Mac OS X clients with the addition of support for Safari.

There are many more features and capabilities to mention, so I’ll direct you to the following links to learn more:

  1. Read today’s press release
  2. Sign up for our June 25th live webcast and Q&A with Dimensions CM product experts
  3. Watch videos previewing new features on our YouTube channel:
  4. Visit the Dimensions CM product webpage

I couldn’t be more thrilled and delighted with the release of Dimensions CM 14! For current Dimensions CM customers, I encourage you to download, install and test the new version, then contact Serena for any help you need with the upgrade. For those of you interested in learning how Dimensions CM 14 can replace other SCCM solutions in your enterprise, please contact me directly, reach out to your Serena account executive or simply email

Finally, my thanks and congratulations go out to the Serena team for their superb effort in delivering the Best Dimensions CM Product Ever and to the many customers who contributed to it through the Preview Program.

Modernizing the application development and delivery lifecycle is top of mind for many organizations as they seek ways to meet the increasing demands for new applications and services. With speed and business alignment remaining the top app dev priorities in 2014 (see my blog post on this topic), we see a re-emergence in the importance of application change and configuration management, the adoption of modern development practices, and the visibility and transparency into the health and quality of application development deliverables.

One of the top “Aha!” moments from xChange13, Serena’s global user conference, was the positive reaction to the Dimensions CM 14 Preview Program, which allows customers to get an early look into the upcoming release of Serena’s process-based software change and configuration management solution. Now, six months later we have 130 preview program members across 95 companies, an incredible reflection of the interest in the best Dimensions release ever.

Preview Program members have had the opportunity to influence and contribute to product designs through Special Interest Groups, and track and validate implementation through regular product demonstrations from R&D. This has been a remarkable journey for our product development team and our Preview & Beta program members. We’ve been delighted with the contribution and feedback from so many customers.

Among the many innovative capabilities in the upcoming Dimensions CM release are:

  • The ability to graphically show the health and quality of changesets within development streams (screenshot above).
  • The ability to make informed decisions based on the status of CI builds and unit tests.
  • A seamlessly integrated collaborative peer review.
  • An intuitive developer experience.

As one of our Preview members stated upon seeing a preview of Dimensions CM 14 Beta 3:

“The visibility enables you to see if you are converging to quality or diverging from quality.”

Any SCM or Development practitioner will immediately recognize the value of simplicity over complexity, health and quality over failed builds and merges, and visibility and transparency over siloed tools and processes.

I highly recommend you check out the four short videos of new features in Dimensions CM 14 (links below), and invite you to register for the Preview Program to learn more, or simply to contact your Serena Account team.

If 2013 was the year to get down to business, 2014 is the year to wake up and deliver. However, it’s not so much that app dev priorities or resolutions have changed; it’s their importance and focus on execution and delivery that is more critical than ever. No surprise that this fact continues to hold true: delivering applications faster to the business is still the #1 application development priority for 2014.

At the Gartner AADI Summit in December 2013, Serena surveyed IT executives about their top application development and delivery priorities for the coming year and discovered some notable results:

  • 56% of respondents confirmed that faster delivery of applications is the top priority.
  • Better alignment with business needs and developing mobile apps were the second and third highest priorities, coming in 54% and 51% respectively.
  • Expanding the use of Agile was very closely behind at 50%.

We found that the priority “Continuously Deliver Apps” grew in importance the fastest (up 17%), followed by “Develop Mobile Apps” and “Standardize Our Methodology,” both of which recorded a 15% increase since 2012. A slight decline was seen in the importance of delivering applications faster, suggesting the focus is moving to execution of the top priorities.

Another interesting discovery was the significant increase in the adoption and importance of 4 key App Dev initiatives:

  • Managing application development as a business process
  • Having end to end traceability from the business request to production release
  • Providing a centralized or federated repository for all artifacts
  • Integrating all of the different tools in the application development and delivery process

While most software development delivery teams increasingly embrace agile, mobile, big data and cloud within the application strategies and portfolios, the biggest challenge for respondents is finding a way to define and deliver software faster and better while aligning with the business, market and customer needs.

See complete results from the survey in the graph below. Plus, check out the infographic, which will give you an at-a-glance view and analysis of the survey results.  You can also see survey results from the Gartner 2012 AADI Conference as a comparison.

KRMCI love it when I hear how Serena Business Manager (SBM) can help automate tedious paper-based processes, increase visibility and transparency, and eliminate resource waste. There must be many examples of IT and business processes that can similarly benefit.  So, in this holiday season of cheer, let’s give thanks to Kingman Regional Medical Center (KRMC) for showing us the way.

KRMC is a non-profit medical center (pictured above) that focuses on the work environment and continuous improvement so that they can provide the highest satisfaction to their patients.  When their Capital Expenditure Process was bogging down staff and practitioners with manual processes and approvals, KRMC turned to Serena for an automated IT process solution.

Learn how this helped KRMC refocus on patient care and enabled Andrea Williams, a KRMC Business Analyst, to realize the benefits of IT process automation with the full support of her manager and CIO.  Read the entire case study.

business-operationsWith the release of Serena Business Manager (SBM) 10.1.3, we are introducing some exciting new capabilities in the SBM platform, and driving considerable advances and improvements in both Serena Release Manager and Serena Service Manager solutions. I’m thrilled with:

  • The new Work Center UI that optimizes the collaborative user experience.
  • The powerful new global submit & search to streamline the creation and search of work items.
  • The in-line e-mail approval to speed transitions.
  • Support of a channel agnostic approach to work and task management.

Significant improvements to reporting and a user-configurable dashboard elevate the power of SBM.  Together with a raft of additional features and enhancements, we are delivering significant benefits to users of SBM, Serena Release Manager and Serena Service Manager.

We look forward to showcasing the considerable advances and improvements in upcoming weeks, and continuing to deliver innovations in both our core SBM platform and SBM-powered solutions.  Register for the live demonstration on December 17: What’s New in Serena Release Manager, Serena Service Manager and SBM.

Gartner AADI boothI’m thrilled to announce Serena’s sponsorship at the Gartner AADI summit from December 3-5 in Las Vegas.  I will be available for face-to-face meetings, along with a number of my Serena colleagues, at booth 313 at the Sponsor’s Pavilion.  We look forward to answering your questions and enquiries on Serena Application Development and Delivery solutions and sharing details of imminent and future Serena product releases that will allow you to modernize, innovate, enable and empower your business.

On Wednesday December 4th, I will host a lunch discussion on how “Agile Requires Modernizing the Rest of the Development Lifecycle.”   I look forward to hearing your views and sharing insights from both customer implementations and our strategic roadmap.

If you or your colleagues are attending the Summit, make sure you swing by our booth to view demonstrations, simply get your questions answered, and participate in a survey for a prize. And remember to keep calm and release more!

Business man runningI’m often asked by customers how they can best modernize their software development practices. After all, many organizations are under increasing pressure to respond to their business or customer needs faster, while delivering with higher quality to on-premise, virtualized and increasing cloud environments.

Many early adopters of agile have seen the challenges of responding faster move downstream, from development to release and operations, while the business continues to request better transparency and visibility into the status of development and release streams. While development and test practices are increasingly coupled, and there is increasing adoption of continuous delivery practices to further automate delivery to production, development teams are still challenged with the complexity of managing multiple development and release streams. In talking recently with a director of software development, a large part of the discussion centered around his desire to assess and view the health and quality of his multiple development streams while streamlining the assembly of his release configurations in preparation for deployment.

As a former manager of development, I can recall placing significant focus on understanding the health and quality of our development branches/streams at all phases of development, the frustration many of us shared with the increasing complexity of project and branch merging, and the encouragement of collaboration and communication across all stakeholders and functional teams, so we did not waste time unnecessarily in preparing reports. While agile planning is no longer new, and we are seeing a growing focus on addressing release management challenges, I maintain there is tremendous innovation and potential for organizations to modernize development practices further to complement both agile planning and continuous delivery.

Returning to the discussion with the director of software development, we focused discussion on the need to advance and improve parallel and concurrent development practices, in particular around the introduction of visual indicators of the health and quality of development streams (to include the status of associated changes, automated builds and tests), and improving integration of the collaborative peer review process directly into the development activities. While a Peer Review process is often seen as standalone, I believe it should be integral to a modernized development practice.

I was delighted to share the investment Serena is making in the next generation of Dimensions CM, which directly addresses the evolution of modern development practices and further streamlines the complexity of managing multiple streams and streamlining the assembly for release.  We are seeing great customer reaction and participation in the Preview Program, which speaks volumes to the ongoing customer interest and demand for modernizing software development practices.

Here at Serena we’ve long viewed the Application Lifecycle as a process and we need to see it in the context of the Agile Lifecycle, ensuring we not only modernize development practices but ensure orchestration with upstream planning and work item management, and down-stream release management and service management.