How can CI/CD Transform the Process of Automating Operational Decisions?
Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery or CI/CD is a fundamental practice in software engineering that allows merging code changes into a central repository that will kick off the workflow for testing, packaging, and deployment of the solution automatically. And if there are any issues with the developer’s code, it notifies them about the issues.
Well now, this is all done in software development practice, what does CI/CD mean for operational decisions?
The fundamental reason behind the CI/CD in software development practice is that it enables the team to continuously merge changes and automatically deploy while the risk of introducing any issue is minimized i.e. the solution quality is guaranteed.
Let's take a look at how CI/CD can be practiced exclusively for operational decisions too for seamless and faster collaboration and continuous decisioning and improvements.
How to Implement CI/CD for Operational Decisions
Integrating changes has a fundamental requirement. A central repository that allows users to submit their changes. This has always been a challenge as there are proprietary solutions are lacking visibility and they become like a black box with regards to the ownership of the assets being stored.
These days, the modern platforms must take advantage of the modern central repositories based on “git” which has become the standard not only as a central repository but also to enable teams’ collaborations.
FlexRule X provides a built-in “git” integrated into our authoring platform (e.g. FlexRule Designer). We made “git” so easy to use that everyone can take advantage of this de facto standard of a central repository at all times!
This means you have so many options to choose from where and how you can store and manage models, versions, branches, and so on. Also, many options to choose from providers, such as GitHub, Azure DevOps, GitBlit, GitLab, and so on.
When a change is pushed by domain experts to the central repository, the automated pipeline grabs the changes and runs some defined tests.
These automated tests are modeled using sample data from a database, excel, XML JSON as input and they assert on the expectations.
These tests can be modeled in FlexRule Designer by domain experts as well.
And the last step of this process is to actually deliver the artifacts, which in terms of operational decisions it might mean different things:
- A decision service to be deployed – REST API endpoint either in a cloud or on-prem
- A decision package to be stored – a reusable package containing all required models for a specific scenario)
- The logic documents to be copied – all business logic documents (i.e. rules, decisions, flows, workflows, etc. to be copied on a specific local or network location)
- Run a specific FlexRule’s model as part of the stage in the automated delivery pipeline
Either way, the FlexRule CLI kit enables the DevOps team to configure the pipeline of your choice e.g. TeamCity, Jenkins, Azure DevOps Pipeline and etc. to do exactly what delivery means to you. From packaging and deploying a model as a service, to copying logic documents or even executing a model! In a nutshell, CI/CD for operational decisions will introduce continuous decisioning, integration, delivery, and deployment.
Using CI/CD is a Win-Win Approach
The pipeline that automatically grabs the changes and takes actions based on what you desire is nothing new in the software industry and software development practice. Nowadays, developers are not the only professionals who can build and develop automated solutions.
Domain experts are heavily involved, and they actively develop and deploy business logic to enhance and improve the operation of a business. Therefore, the easy way to integrate changes with a standard and centralized repository (e.g., git) and hook into CI/CD pipeline (e.g., Azure DevOpsPipline, TeamCity, etc.) is a big win for everyone. It reduces the risk of breaking business operations by running the tests automatically based on your changes and deploying automatically when everything is good.
Published December 9th, 2021 at 09:35 am