Melissa Landrum is a senior IT manager at Dell. She is responsible for fiscal year strategy planning, enforcing organizational standards to ensure quality, communicating issues and their recommended solutions to leadership, overseeing the enterprise release function, and growing strong leaders in the organization.
I sat down with her to ask her a bunch of questions about life as an IT Manager at one of the world’s most well-known and respected companies, and how Plutora has helped improve enterprise software delivery at Dell.
“We were managing releases across the company manually, which was impeding scalability. We were also struggling with communicating insights to leadership, including the CIO. Our release management processes were inconsistent and error-prone. It was critical for us to get a tool that would give us end-to-end visibility and cast off manual effort.”
“We evaluated several tools. Plutora was clearly a winner with its comprehensive suite of products and functionality. Plutora helped us eliminate manual processes by standardizing our enterprise release function. It gave us a clear line of sight from concept to production. It also gave us rich analytics and reporting that we could easily roll up to leadership.”
“I underestimated the culture at Dell. I was excited about bringing in a tool that would help us revamp release management. I was expecting easy and natural adoption but I faced resistance. I had to work on the middle management layer. I allayed their concerns by convincing IT partners that Plutora would have immense value for them. Plutora has lived up to its promises and today everyone is happy with the tool.”
“We were responsible for ensuring our process was defined. We did struggle with figuring out precisely what we required from the tool. For instance, we spent a lot of time on the activities tab and even went overboard with gates and phases. To smooth out the process I recommended that teams get a POC to determine their needs.”
“Any time you get a tool, you tend to hope that it solves problems out-of-the-box. Plutora solved most of our problems immediately. Then as we matured and started using Plutora as our primary release management tool, we discovered there were more things we’d need. Dell and Plutora have engaged in open and honest communication since day one. Whenever we request customization – like we have for reporting – Plutora dedicates resources to deliver the functionality. I’m glad to say that Plutora has always lived up to our expectations.”
“The canned reports in Plutora are solid but they’re specific to a module. Cross-module reports would be even better.”
“It used to take us an entire day to gather reports to share with leadership and the CIO. With Plutora, they can just log in to the tool and get rich and contextual insights.”
“My favorite is the Systems Impact Matrix. At a glance, it helps me understand the risk of complex releases with a heat map of systems impacted by each release. Plutora gives us a standardized process as well as built-in analytics. We’re waiting for the command center to come out. I think it would take Plutora Deploy to the next level. On the support side, Dell has a strong partnership with Plutora. Customer support and Plutora leadership are always there to help us whenever we run into issues.”
“Nothing that didn’t get fixed! We had some issues with performance in the beginning. Dell has employees in India who sometimes faced latency issues or anomalies in deployment because they don’t have a local data center. But Dalibor (Plutora CEO) was always on top of things and got those problems resolved right away.”
“The biggest benefit is having a single repository for all enterprise releases. It’s great that leadership can get instant access to any information they need without having to email me or set up a meeting. The tool has enhanced collaboration between teams. Every team gets real-time visibility into which systems it’s touching and what their status is. We’ve significantly improved efficiency, and as a result, release velocity.”
“Plutora doesn’t just talk about its customer-centricity. It walks the talk. Plutora customer support is ultra-responsive and helpful. I can call an account representative or even the CEO. For Plutora, the customer always comes first. “