The Emergence of Multi-Domain Continuous Delivery

Cars, airplanes, medical devices and other technology products are becoming increasingly more software-centric, with end-users expecting a connected experience similar to today’s consumer-focused smartphones. With the importance of software for differentiation in today’s market driven by Internet of Things and Industrial Internet initiatives, it’s clear that every business needs to become a software business to succeed. While web, enterprise IT, mobile and e-commerce organizations have been focused on delivering software for years, hardware-centric business verticals such as automotive, aerospace, healthcare and heavy industries are now also recognizing the value that software can provide to their users, and are on an unprecedented race to quickly mature their integrated software and hardware product R&D.

Data from VDC confirms this state of the industry with their conclusion that software now represents approximately 45% of costs of embedded system development.
With hundreds of millions of lines of software code running on tens or hundreds of distributed microprocessors in many of today’s products, engineering complexity is staggering in this new product development environment, as exemplified by below chart from IBM and further discussed in e.g. this O’Reilly Radar article:
Software Functionality and Amount over time
Given this, innovation is in transition from a focus on individual components to more of an integrated system-level thinking. This means dramatic shifts and new thinking in terms of how R&D organizations need to approach product development.

Lately, Electric Cloud, Siemens PLM and industry partners have researched emerging needs and trends around product delivery in this complex product development landscape. In this environment, product developers are tasked to deliver system-level integrated artifacts from the multi-domain engineering intersection where mechanical, electrical, electronics and software components meet.
Multi-Domain Continuous Delivery
Our takeaway is that there is a clear drive and desire towards realization of a concept we can call Multi-Domain Continuous Delivery, with the goal to enable an optimized and integrated mechatronics and software product delivery environment such that product development organizations that involve multiple domains can maintain a state of constantly shippable product. While there exist established, rigorous and advanced processes and methodologies for mechatronics and software development when seen as individual product delivery streams, there is a clear need to define and introduce a new way of working for an integrated and iterative multi-domain product development landscape. We believe Multi-Domain Continuous Delivery is the answer for next-generation accelerated product development and delivery – enabling speed and end-to-end visibility across domains, at global scale.

Although similar to the common business goals of any R&D organization looking at implementing a Continuous Delivery strategy – reducing design-to-deliver cycles with higher first-time quality – there are uniquely interesting operational and functional challenges at these Multi-Domain Product Development organizations worth highlighting

  1. how to create an iterative and fast development environment integrated across all mechatronics domains
  2. how-to align multi-disciplinary teams early and often
  3. how-to eliminate lead-times and bottlenecks in the build-test-release cycle
  4. how-to maintain consistency and coordination of relevant product data throughout the parallel multi-domain product development lifecycle
  5. how-to integrate all mechatronics components into a unified Engineering BOM
  6. how-to efficiently visualize and present an integrated up-to-date overall status of product development
  7. how-to ensure the expected system-level performance of the product by being able to test the product at any point in time

For further details and to learn more how Electric Cloud and partners can benefit your Multi-Domain Continuous Delivery implementation, please watch below video and read the “Executive Report” on our solutions page.

David Rosen

David Rosen is a Solutions Engineer turned Product Manager turned Ecosystem Solutions Manager at Electric Cloud, currently focused on technical and strategic ISV partnerships in the Developer Productivity Tools, Continuous Delivery and DevOps space. With 12+ years of experience from the Enterprise Developer Tools space, David brings a wealth of hands-on technical experience and knowledge how software is developed and delivered at scale, across various industries, technical domains and geographical regions. David has held managing and engineering positions at UIQ Technology, Nokia and Telelogic. David holds a MS degree in Information Technology from Uppsala University, Sweden.

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