Continuous Improvement: The Corevist Quarterly Release Cycle

Corevist Quarterly Release Cycle

At Corevist, we’re totally committed to offering the best SAP B2B eCommerce solution on the planet. We do it at a fraction of the cost of our competition, and we get it up and running in a fraction of the time. Some companies might stop there—that’s plenty of value proposition already!

But we aren’t satisfied with that.

That’s why we launched our new Quarterly Release Cycle at the beginning of 2017. We piloted it at the end of 2016, and we are in the midst of developing our third quarterly release this summer. Today, we feel confident that we’re up to the challenge of quarterly releases. We’re delighted to provide transparency into the process–something which our competitors don’t offer.

So what’s a Quarterly Release Cycle?

The concept is fairly simple: four times a year, we’ll launch a new and improved version of our app. This version won’t require any testing by our clients. It won’t impact service, functionality, or uptime negatively in any way. It will be pushed to all our clients’ live environments simultaneously. And it will mean a better experience than ever before for you and your customers.

While we design new features that we believe all our clients will love, we recognize that that won’t be the case. Therefore, we set many new features to a “default off” setting so that clients can test the new features and enable them as needed. (More on that below.)

Why quarterly releases?

Good question. Any enterprise software product undergoes updates and improvements. These can be ad hoc, as required, or emergency fixes. But what about bigger plans to improve our offering for all clients? That requires planning. Hence, quarterly releases.

We are constantly working behind the scenes to bring you the best SAP B2B eCommerce solution in the world. This new release cycle will help us organize those ongoing development efforts.

How does this benefit me?

Glad you asked! Our Quarterly Release Cycle brings many benefits to our clients. Some of these benefits are the kind of thing you would only notice if the benefit wasn’t there, or if something went wrong. Here are some examples:

  • Improved speed of our app and your eCommerce website
  • Improved stability and reliability for our app and your eCommerce website
  • Better user experience

What sorts of things have you already improved with the Quarterly Release Cycle?

Since every quarterly release will address different problems or improvements, not every release will include changes to every aspect of our product. However, here are some examples of things that we’ve improved in the past with our quarterly releases:  

  • Completely redesigned the graphic user interface of our product for better usability. Since B2B eCommerce is complex, we find that improvements in our UI can make life easier for our clients and their customers. Since this was a night-and-day change, it was turned off by default in the new release.  
  • Introduced business-oriented translation technology. In the past, our clients had to submit a ticket when they found a word that needed to have its translation adjusted. Now translations are a core part of the Corevist product, and they don’t require a developer to execute.
  • Introduced RFC monitoring. There are pros and cons to our real-time integration with SAP. The major pro–we dramatically simplify the implementation and support of your B2B eCommerce website. That’s why we’re faster and cheaper than anyone else on the market. The con–we’re totally dependent on the configuration and performance of your SAP system. Our team uses RFC monitoring to determine whether a performance issue originates in your SAP system or in our app. RFC monitoring allows us to stay ahead of, and troubleshoot, potential SAP issues.This is an example of an improvement that is not a client-facing feature. It’s running in the background whether our clients realize it or not.

Couldn’t this impact me in a bad way?

Some clients have asked us if there are any risks associated with these quarterly releases. The short answer is No. We test each quarterly release thoroughly in a sandbox environment. This environment allows us to perform thorough regression testing on the new release. We run an automated test, as well as manual tests:

  • ~100 fully regression scenarios per client. From the standpoint of our core product, that’s over 2,000 regression scenarios tested per quarterly release.
  • ~2,000 automated unit tests that are run against our core product code every release cycle.

This thorough QA process ensures that the new version will not impact the usability or performance of the Corevist app in any way. In fact, a release isn’t ready until it has passed 100% of all testing criteria.

What about FDA-validated systems?

For SAP systems that are FDA-validated safe, the good news is that Corevist’s quarterly releases do not affect validation in any way. Since the SAP ERP is the system that receives validation, and since Corevist technology does not alter this underlying system, the release does not affect validation status. Rather, Corevist technology simply creates a window over SAP, bringing it to the web and maintaining the system’s existing FDA validation status.

What if I don’t want to receive the quarterly release?

Sometimes a client may think that the quarterly release requires testing and acceptance on their part. That looks like one more task to add to plates that are already full. The client may let us know that they don’t want to receive the quarterly release.

Here, we need to point out that quarterly releases are not optional. They are pushed automatically to all clients. They do not require testing and acceptance on the client’s part and will not impact service negatively.

What if I DO want to try out the quarterly release?

Great! We provide every client with a sandbox environment in which they can play around with the upcoming release before it’s pushed. This gives our clients the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the specific features of the release (which may or may not be noticeable to the end user).

However, it’s important to point out that this sandbox testing is for the purposes of gaining familiarity only. Quarterly releases are not optional, and sandbox testing is not an opportunity for a client to refuse a quarterly release. However, if you do find an issue, Corevist will ensure that it is addressed in a timely and effective manner based on the severity of the impact.  

What if I only want some of the functionality in the new quarterly release?

There are two types of updates that can appear in a quarterly release.

  • Noticeable changes to functionality, UI, etc. that are intended to provide value to your users but may interfere with what they’re used to.
  • Invisible changes that run in the background and improve the efficiency of Corevist processes.

We have a simple philosophy that guides every quarterly release: if a new update will be noticeable or potentially disruptive to your operations, it will be turned off by default in the release. If a new update runs in the background and has no noticeable effect on your operations, it will be turned on by default.

When we communicate the details of the new quarterly release to you, we’ll outline which features are turned off by default, and which are running invisibly in the background and are turned on by default. You will have the opportunity to try out the default-off features and turn them on if you like them. If you don’t like them, you’ll be able to turn them off.

How will the Quarterly Release Cycle affect any outstanding customization projects?

Since no two SAP eCommerce solutions are identical, many of our clients need custom functionality. They have ongoing development work happening through projects or statements-of-work. The good news is, the Quarterly Release Cycle does not impact ongoing projects in any way. Ongoing customization and the Quarterly Release Cycle unfold in parallel, forming a complementary relationship.

It’s important to understand that we test everything thoroughly on our end before launching the release.

What can I look forward to in future releases?

We’re dreaming big at Corevist. We realize that moving SAP transactions to the web is complex and difficult. Our goal is to make it easier than ever so more companies can leverage the resulting efficiencies. To that end, here are some areas that we are actively pursuing for future releases:

  • We’re investing in configurable products. For SAP companies that sell large, highly configurable products, eCommerce has been the impossible dream. We’re working to change that.
  • We’re taking our Translations Tool to the next level. We also plan to make it available to our client administrators for self-service translation management.
  • With our new UI, we’re going to display more metrics and analytics. This will give you a quick look into key performance indicators for the eCommerce site.
  • We’re working on a tighter integration with Magento–for both B2B and B2C.
  • We’re going to streamline our web A/R functionality out of the box. Handling accounts receivable online is a pain point for many SAP companies. We’re going to fix that.
  • We’re going to improve the payments process for SAP B2B eCommerce. You deserve it. Your customers deserve it. We’re actively working with our partners and our own team to make it happen.

The Takeaway

At Corevist, the Quarterly Release Cycle is here to stay. That means better functionality for us and you, and an easier buying process for your customers. We couldn’t be happier. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Subscribe to our blog

About Author

George Anderson

George serves as Digital Marketing Manager. A blogger and journalist with a passion for B2B ecommerce, he has written for the Magento blog, Digitalcommerce360, Supply & Demand Chain Executive, ERPgenie, and others.