We've chatted with thousands of people responsible for the distribution of their company's software into customer environments. One theme is consistent, they've overworked and underfunded. This problem isn't by design, it's most often an unintended consequence of a lack of data about about how well software distribution to customers is actually working. This lack of data means it's hard to set a strategic direction, which in turn leads to a lack of prioritization and too few resources being devoted to the problem. Let's dig into some of the common reasons and look at ways to address this challenge.
Lack of awareness: Management and other stakeholders may not fully understand the complexity and importance of creating robust distribution tooling, leading to insufficient resources being allocated to the teams responsible for it.
Solution: establish a shared set of goals with business-oriented performance metrics to influence your planned improvements.
Focus on features: Organizations often prioritize the development of new features and improvements to the core product over the installation and delivery process.
Solution: provide context on the impact of neglecting distribution in light of the current economic environment.
Underestimation of effort: The effort required to create and maintain tooling for self-hosted software can be easily underestimated, as it involves dealing with various environments, configurations, and dependencies.
Solution: have a serious discussion about the undifferentiated heavy lifting of building your own tooling.
Rapid technological change: The fast-paced nature of technology means that teams must constantly adapt their self-hosted tooling to test and support new versions, deployment patterns and end-customer demands, making it challenging to keep up with the workload.
Solution: explore why it's so hard to keep up with compatibility testing and look at ways to automate the processes.
Limited talent pool: There may be a limited talent pool of individuals with the necessary skills and experience to work on distribution tooling for self-hosted software, making it difficult to staff these teams appropriately.
Solution: learn how a comprehensive platform can help streamline common tasks for different roles within your company.
To address these challenges, organizations should seek to quantify the costs and potential value of investing in more robust distribution tooling, invest in the necessary resources, and ensure that management and stakeholders understand the importance of this aspect of the software development process. Above we've linked a number of useful resources to learn more, but please schedule a personalized demo with our team to see how it would work for your organization.