We are excited to bring Transform 2022 back in-person July 19 and virtually July 20 - 28. Join AI and data leaders for insightful talks and exciting networking opportunities. Register today!


Software development toolmaker Digital.ai, gazing into the future of how high-quality code will be created, has announced a new release of its AI-powered devops platform. The new release, Ascension, has a mission to literally look ahead into what’s coming next and provide predictive insights for developers, so they can avoid bugs, potholes and accidents on the road to producing efficient and smooth-running applications. 

Ascension handles these potential problems in near-real time. Its AI engine immediately attaches red flags to issues that may come up in the process, saving numerous hours and days’ worth of work. In the past, without tools like this, app development teams literally could take months to get an app designed, coded, tested on various distributions, debugged, QA tested again — and then rinse and repeat until all the bugs were washed out. This still happens frequently in many shops today, despite the availability of a spate of new-gen – and much more efficient – development platforms.

Ascension uses automation to enable IT managers to connect agile development practices at the portfolio, team and individual levels and make them work in harmony. The new features help ensure that business strategy is aligned to team-level execution while managers gain better visibility into the entire development process, the company said. 

“The AI-powered devops platform enables the planning, gathering, and delivery of the conceptual idea to the creation and operation and orchestration of all groups that come into the platform and operate within the platform,” Digital.ai general manager of agile and devops Derek Holt told VentureBeat. “As an example, a bank would use our platform as they are building software to create a better way for customers to achieve their financial goals.”

New industry players have fragmented the business

The last decade’s worth of well-funded, VC-backed software vendors has forever fragmented the way software is developed and delivered, CEO Stephen Elop said in a media advisory. 

“Technology leaders need a platform that offers the connective tissue to plan, measure and accelerate business value from software investments, while reducing costs, increasing operational efficiency and managing compliance,” Elop said. “Digital.ai’s platform solves problems organizations encounter by delivering connected tools that offer a wealth of insight across the full development and delivery lifecycle.”

IT managers are under extreme pressure to innovate faster, but face many challenges in doing so. Developers spend roughly one-third of their time on low-level tasks that could be automated so they can focus on more strategic work. Gartner Research reports that “by 2024, 60% of organizations will have switched from multiple point solutions to value-stream delivery platforms to streamline application delivery, up from 20% in 2021.” 

The AI-powered devops platform consists of a menu of functionalities. It now includes the following:

  • Predictive insights: Teams can now deploy features to further understand usage metrics by getting additional telemetry data. Work item histories and commits from previous releases help agile teams predict when problems could occur as they are planning and creating new software.
  • Embedded mobile application security: Mobile app owners and developers can rapidly build and secure engaging mobile apps for iOS, Android and other mobile operating systems with a single solution, offering organizations the assurance that all applications are protected from bad actors and threats.
  • Integrated testing: Autonomous testing enables self-learning capabilities to delivery lifecycles that navigate mobile applications and auto-generate sanity tests without the need for human intervention and manual coding. Test Editor allows users to create, validate and manage test scripts to ensure quality software is delivered.
  • Mobile app delivery: Mobile Studio provides a new user experience designed to improve responsiveness for supported resolutions with immediate cloud updates that remove manual maintenance, allowing teams to focus on delivering quality apps.
  • Increased pipeline visibility: Testing Analytics offers new analytical lenses with pre-built metrics and best practice dashboards that align with test execution while tracking the business impact of software development and delivery to mitigate bottlenecks and understand test volume coverage across devices and browsers. Deployment Analytics identifies bottlenecks and improves deployment efficiency by providing end-to-end visibility of deployments across apps and environments.
  • Cloud-native connectors: Release team can now quickly set up, continuously deliver and promote code using ArgoCD to orchestrate releases for Kubernetes. Customers using GitOps can leverage their infrastructure’s best practices. 
  • FedRAMP Authorization: Public and private sector organizations have the comfort that their cloud solutions are standardized, monitored and secured to the rigorous world standards. Digital.ai Agility is the industry’s first enterprise agile planning tool compliant with Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP) standards, the company said.

Digital.ai competes in a cutthroat competitive market that includes Atlassian, Microsoft, ServiceNow, Planview, Broadcom, IBM, Siemens, Scrumsie and others, according to Gartner Research.

The Boston, Massachusetts-based company is one of the long-running IT producers in the business (through a series of acquisitions, formed Digital.ai in 2020). It already has available development tools in its main platform that include Digital.ai Agility, Deploy, TeamForge, Release, Application Protection, and App Management.

Q&A with Digital.ai’s Derek Holt

VentureBeat: What sets Digital.ai apart from competitors?

Derek Holt: Our three differentiators are our unified devops platform, our AI / ML capabilities and our scaled integration to the enterprise.

First, our unified solutions empower teams to continuously deliver software with greater quality and security. After a decade of endless investments in tools and custom integrations, enterprises find themselves with a high total cost of ownership, inflexible tool chains and massive technical debt in their devops stack. Within our platform, we provide enterprises with the ability to plan, develop, secure, test, release, deploy and measure across the entire software development and delivery lifecycle. 

Next, we look at the power of data and AI, and how visibility and insights will provide the intelligence to make smarter software investments. Our AI / analytics capabilities automate the collection, modeling and analysis of data from multiple sources and present it in a dashboard format. By taking data from across development, operations and the business and turning this data into predictive insights, we enable the democratization of data through our panoramic views which provide end-to-end visibility up and down the software development lifecycle. We provide hundreds of analytics out-of-the-box leveraging AI/ML, correlating data from Digital.ai solutions and other vendors’ similar tools. This flexibility and scalability allow companies to expand across technical and non-technical users, leaders, and business users, giving consistency in decision-making. 

Finally, it’s about enterprise scale. At the product level, solution level, and analytical level, we design with the needs of the enterprise in mind. At that level, one expects heterogeneous environments as the norm rather than the exception. With hundreds of integrations with third-party products to choose from, we provide customers the flexibility they need to navigate their complex world and leverage existing investments. Our customers demand built-in security and out-of-the-box compliance and audibility, and they require support for heterogeneous environments. Out of the box, we have multiple iterative planning and process models, including SAFe, LeSS, Scrum, and Scrum of Scrum, while also allowing customers to bring their own processes.

VentureBeat: Devops is a strategy. Does this platform require both devs and ops staff to work it, or can it be operated by a single dedicated staff member?

Holt: In our experience, most companies treat devops as a series of best practices for software delivery. With that in mind, our platform is usually owned and run by a centralized team, usually a devops center of excellence or ePMO group within large organizations. 

VentureBeat: Can this be used by line-of-business staff, or does it require IT-trained staff? Would you call this a no-code platform?

Holt: We recognize various usability needs and challenges for business professionals vs. technical professionals. The Digital.ai platform is designed for many user personas, such as the business-focused enterprise project management office (ePMO), which needs to clearly understand value and ROI from software investment. This includes more technical personas, such as VP of engineering, to understand bottlenecks in the software delivery process. Each has a unique set of views and dashboards to understand their aspect of the business, and each persona has a defined set of workflows and automation that enables them to be more productive. 

Our scaled agile-release orchestration and application testing products all have templating and low-code options for nontechnical users, designed to easily consume information to manage their jobs. Other aspects of our platform are designed to be more configurable, typically for technical and IT users, to ensure the right set of automation and workflows are adhered to for their respective jobs and functionality.

VentureBeat: Is this strictly software-as-a-service (SaaS), or can it live on a server in a data center for a private cloud?

Holt: We recognize that our enterprise customers have heterogeneous technology environments and require an array of technologies from mainframe, on-premises, mobile, SaaS, hybrid cloud and containers to run their business. Similar to how our products are deployed, our platform enables enterprises to manage and deliver software (however they need it) across their own heterogeneous environments.

VentureBeat's mission is to be a digital town square for technical decision-makers to gain knowledge about transformative enterprise technology and transact. Learn more about membership.

Author
Topics