Why Self-Service is the Key to Speeding Up Software Development

Empower your employees by removing the obstacles that slow down data access.

Andrew Pan

Dec 09, 2019

Ever experience the rush of skipping the snaking line at your local Starbucks because you pre-ordered your morning Americano? Or how about that feeling of proudly marching to the self check-out line at the grocery store? There’s nothing quite like it. Already, 85 percent of consumers have used self-service kiosks and 49 percent of us have grown to expect them at every store—after all, self service is simply faster and easier.

Enterprise teams crave these same kinds of seamless experiences when they build software. Unfortunately, many companies are still in the dark ages of data access, with database administrators alone holding the keys to entry. Without smooth data delivery practices in place, the consumers of data, such as developers, are likely to feel increasing frustration and decreasing productivity. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Just as self-service has transformed the consumer experience, it can streamline data access, too—and eliminate tedious and time-consuming ticket-driven requests.

Breaking Down the Self-Service Workflow

Typically, to use the data that developers need to do their jobs, they have to request access to it with an IT ticket. Addressing the ticket and granting access could take teams days, if not weeks, significantly slowing down application development. But in a fast-paced world of innovation and digital transformation, businesses can’t afford such lengthy software development lifecycles.

Today, most organizations see the value in implementing DevOps, a faster, more iterative and review-driven development workflow. Yet without free flowing data, it’s almost impossible to execute software development with DevOps. For example, at the heart of DevOps is continuous integration and continuous development (CI/CD). These crucial ongoing processes would not be possible without consistent access to necessary data. A self-service platform automates the CI/CD pipeline by serving data at the point of need.

Just imagine losing the efficiency you’ve come to appreciate in your morning commute because waiting for and customizing your morning coffee suddenly takes twice as long as it should—without self-service, developers are dealing with the same challenge, with much more at stake. A slow application development cycle means product updates are delayed, which could put an organization behind its own product timeline and leave it playing catch-up with competitors that didn’t fall into the same data traps.

But, with a self-service platform, the process of gaining necessary data access becomes much simpler and faster. And, like the ease of ordering that perfectly customized latte, software development teams can gain an equally personalized and fast experience with data delivery. Thanks to self-service enabled data platforms such as the Delphix Data Platform, developers have the ability to eliminate the bottlenecks caused by traditional data processes.

For starters, developers don’t have to file tickets to reach the data they need—instead, data administrators simply provide developers with access to specific data, creating customized sandboxes for them to use. Within these sandboxes, developers can perform whatever data operations they need to perform—branching, bookmarking, refreshing, and more.

For example, developers can organize data in a data container into task-specific groupings, called "branches." From there, they can use a branch to group all the data they have used while addressing a particular bug, testing a new feature in an application, or exploring a business analytics scenario. Teams could also refresh data to pull in the most up-to-date bits of information from production and rewind data to return to a specific timestamp. And, importantly, the data that developers work with is masked, meaning its identifying features are removed to create virtual copies that are safe to manipulate.

Closing Thoughts

You can’t do DevOps with siloed data. For an organization to succeed with DevOps, data processes have to be quick, painless, and most importantly, secure. With a data platform that ensures sensitive data is secured and the right data is made available to the right people on-demand, companies can spend less time waiting for data and more time on development and innovation.

Self-service platforms provide fast, convenient data access. Ultimately, self-service make DevOps not only possible, but also maximizes its potential, giving developers the freedom to innovate and create new applications and enabling organizations to stay competitive—and that’s even more satisfying than the perfect cup of coffee in the morning.