Joel NeSmith

Making the Most of Your Service Virtualization Assets

Blog Post created by Joel NeSmith on Sep 25, 2017

When IT organizations don’t integrate SV into their culture and IT decision-making processes, they under-utilize the potential of service virtualization (SV). When SV is integrated in a holistic manner, SV maturity increases and the organization begins to develop the muscle and flexibility necessary to deliver the requisite scale, speed, velocity, and value that business leaders expect.


In his book, Digitally Remastered: Building Software into Your Business DNA, Otto Berkes identifies IT’s optimization of continuous development and delivery capabilities as important ingredients for building a Modern Software Factory. He notes that robust Agile and DevOps capabilities are essential to driving speed of innovation and responsiveness to deliver real customer value. In the Modern Software Factory era, IT teams—with support from business stakeholders—must:

  • Foster environments where continuous improvement, led or influenced by IT, is always top of mind
  • Create and operate software, and focus on its business value as a core capability—or better—a competitive differentiator
  • Operate in the mindset of developing muscle and flexibility through software
  • Figuratively put software at the center of the business.

The Importance of Defining an SV Maturity Model

Organizations that develop a robust SV maturity model or roadmap and integrate SV into their software development lifecycle (SDLC) are generally more successful. These organizations target low-effort/high-value virtualizations, demonstrate business value using SV, create standardized processes and methods for delivering SV, integrate SV into the SDLC, and find ways to federate SV delivery to move faster and generate greater business value. On the other hand, organizations that under-invest in continuous improvement of people and SV processes miss the mark and undermine the value-generating ability of their SV assets.


Airplane pilots carefully plan flights by incorporating frequent checkpoints to gauge progress and enable course correction. Similarly, organizations should to plan the milestones and activities necessary to continuously improve SV maturity, monitor progress, and correct course as needed. CA’s approach to adoption and maturity establishes a model with customizable sequenced activities that help organizations create scale. This crawl®walk®run approach separates activities into a logical focus areas.


Early-stage activities in the adoption model drive business value, increase knowledge of SV, and create reference implementations of SV artifacts. Middle-stage activities increase utilization and streamline SV delivery; many of these activities focus on people and process. Final-stage activities optimize and deliver SV at scale in the application lifecycle ecosystem. This graphic illustrates some of the activities and focus areas in the maturity model:



SV Integration into the SDLC is Critical

When presented with the model above, customers sometimes ask which activities are most important for developing a maturity model. While they’re all important, failing to integrate SV with SDLC processes and people will impede maturity. Integrating SV into the SDLC enables organizations to identify the points in the lifecycle processes where SV generates maximum value. This enables the constituent teams (business and product owners, architects, developers, managers, quality assurance, etc.) to understand where SV is expected to provide value. Without this understanding, teams are less effective in driving business outcomes.


A related issue is that many organizations have the initial SV conversation in the lifecycle’s development phase—too late to allow time for SV to generate positive impact. SV should be discussed when service needs are initially identified. At the latest, SV should be discussed during the analysis phase, when the service contract is being created or reviewed by an architect.


With the advent of Agile, test-driven, and behavior-driven development methodologies, organizations are striving to shift left. As they do, alignment between SV and the SDLC becomes even more critical. SV touch points must shift as developers and quality assurance personnel work side by side to iteratively deliver features.


While creating a roadmap to maturity and aligning SV with the SDLC are critical, they aren’t the only elements an organization must address to build SV muscle and flexibility. In a future blog, we’ll focus on change management as a key element of SV strategy.


I welcome your comments and questions below.


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