About Cloud Elements
Cloud Elements is a leading API integration platform, serving over 200 of the world’s largest ISVs. Our Elements — feature-rich app connectors — integrate your product to the ecosystem of applications that your customers and partners rely on every day. Underneath our catalog of more than 150 Elements, you will find an entire platform that you can embed into your product to truly integrate and synchronize data between applications.
We had a problem
Our core platform supports more than 150 connectors and each one has multiple endpoints. This means that we have thousands of application programming interfaces (APIs) and individual data points to track. Between platform enhancements, new API connector requests, and ongoing maintenance work, we struggled to know what was happening.
What we were lacking was a formal product management and release process. Requests were managed in spreadsheets and engineering decided what to work on and when to deploy updates. We also had far too many initiatives in progress at any one time. There was no visibility into who was working on what or the status. We were constantly in reactive mode, making it difficult to plan ahead.
We were spending so much time in meetings — chasing updates and trying to align the organization around priorities. This was not sustainable. We needed to establish consistent product management processes that would allow us to scale.
Aha! as a solution
Aha! brought all our product management information into one place. This gave us immediate insight into what was happening across our team. And it allowed us to align on priorities. Aha! is now the single source of truth that all teams — including customer support and delivery — rely on for the latest information.
Our release process now follows a monthly cadence. Product owners prioritize and define master features, features, and requirements — which are then assigned to engineering and implemented in one-week iterations. This creates much tighter feedback loops and builds flexibility into the process so that we can respond quickly to customer needs.
The engineering team uses Rally (now CA Agile Central) to manage their work. Since Aha! integrates with Rally and provides two-way status updates, we are able to keep both systems in sync. This gives us complete visibility into what the team is working on and the progress. We are also able to identify any issues before they impact delivery.
Life is good
Aha! gives us the right balance between structure and flexibility. We now have clearly defined processes — allowing us to adapt our plans as priorities change. This has significantly improved our productivity as everyone knows exactly where to focus.
Another big win for us is the data. Aha! helps us measure everything so we can make better planning decisions. For example, we can now measure time to feature completion. This allows us to estimate work more accurately and make delivery commitments with confidence. We also compare estimates with actual completion times to identify and solve process bottlenecks.
Aha! also helps us meet compliance standards for ISO 27001 certification. All of our processes are now formalized and traceable. We can now show a complete audit history and track non-conformities.
As we continue to grow, we know that Aha! will scale with us. We now have a bigger picture view of our product strategy and can drill into the details behind it. The roll-up visibility that Aha! provides is at the core of our ability to execute efficiently and effectively.