Problem/Objective

A couple of years ago, NetEnt began noticing that its application development and deployment processes were falling behind the pace of customer demand. New apps weren’t being developed for deployment at scale which meant each deployment took anywhere from two to four hours per customer.  Each deployment also required the customer’s network to be down throughout the process, negatively affecting their customers’ revenue.

“We had a team of 10 people using 30- to 40-step checklists per deployment, per customer,” said Rocha, Agile product owner at NetEnt. “The process was entirely manual and we simply couldn’t keep up.” The vast majority of their time was spent on deploying bug fixes and compliance patches, and no time on pushing new features.

The problem finally came to a head when NetEnt was forced to push a compliance patch across their entire customer base. The project required 18 months, with 10 engineers working four hours a day to cover all of its customers. “This put a major strain on our business,” says Rocha. “We had to drop everything to get this done, but we still had other things to do to run our business!” The project took a major toll on NetEnt’s business. It slowed customer onboarding and impeded their ability to introduce new features to expand their business. Some projects were put on hold indefinitely.

  • 18 months to deploy a compliance patch to entire customer base
  • Each update included 2-4 hours of downtime per customer
  • Zero time spent on new features
  • Business expansion stymied by operations

Solution

Since 90 percent of the team’s time was spent on deployment, Rocha determined that automating that function would be the best way to get back on track and solve NetEnt’s business needs. Rocha and his team started by conducting value stream mapping and white boarding their processes to understand what was needed and where to focus efforts. They then reviewed the 30-40 step checklist to determine what they could automate and where they could remove unnecessary steps all together.

The team quickly realized that they needed a single platform for orchestration, streamlining and consistency, so they purchased Using Electric Cloud ElectricFlow to help them increase visibility, traceability, and version control. “ElectricFlow helped us automate our deployments and removed the technical impediments,” says Rocha. “That enabled us to get unshipped products off the shelf, mitigate risk, and enable compliance. As a result, we were able to deploy features and patches quickly, and in a repeatable and automated fashion.”

Results

Using ElectricFlow, NetEnt was able to achieve 4,000 percent faster deployments, freeing up its engineers to do work that adds real business value to the company, including releasing valuable new features and burning down technical debt. “As a result of the deployment automation, we went from a team of 10 working two to four hours per customer deployment to just one engineer taking 15 just minutes,” says Rocha. “We were also able to parallelize the deployment process, so we can deploy to our entire customer base in the same 15-minute window, and with no down time for the customers!” In addition, the compliance patches that required 10 people 18 months can now be rolled out by two people, safely, in just two weeks.

NetEnt’s bet on ElectricFlow has paid off with automated and predictable deployments.  They can now spend time on creating competitive advantage and adding new customers. NetEnt is now enjoying the following benefits:

  • 15-minute deployments with no customer downtime
  • Faster entry into new markets
  • Faster delivery of updated applications
  • Ability to add customers “at will”
  • Ability to release new products and features on business demand

“We’re not the only ones seeing the benefits,” says Rocha. “Our customers are, too!”