Navigating The Complexity of Enterprise DevOps

How a Leading Dutch Navigation Technology Specialist Accelerated Deployments Using A Slew of Integrated DevOps Solutions.

Visibility Is Vital

TomTom—an innovative location technology company based in Amsterdam—is transforming mobility and navigation with its high-precision maps, navigation software, real-time traffic services, and more. The company has a diverse team of over 4500+ employees across 30 different countries to serve consumers, enterprises, and governments around the world.

With TomTom’s success, the company has grown to over 160 development teams. The problem was that Engineering leadership lacked company-wide visibility into core DevOps KPIs like lead time, deployment frequency, mean time to restore (MTTR), and change fail percentage across each of these teams. Furthermore, TomTom knew its development teams were getting slowed down by manual processes for tracking changes, resolving incidents, and other service management (ITSM) tasks.

“We had bought a tool recommended by Accenture that essentially sat dormant in our ecosystem,” revealed Scott Mitchell, Head of IT Service Management at TomTom. “We knew this was a tool that we should be using and extracting value from, but we didn’t have the IP internally and didn’t have a team set up,” he said. “We were also using JIRA as our ticket management tool,” Mitchell continued, “and it didn’t allow us the automation we required, so we were still doing things via manual processes a lot of the time.”

Customers Want Control

TomTom’s internal Engineering inefficiencies were also impacting business relationships. The company’s customers were large organizations and expected a mature IT service management platform, but manual processes and lack of transparency were holding TomTom back from adopting a customer self-service strategy. TomTom’s business leader’s wanted to provide customers with valuable information through customer portals, but Engineering teams still needed better visibility into their internal development KPIs.

“We came across the idea that there are key KPIs that a good software development company should be measuring, so we wanted to do that company-wide,” Mitchell added. “We set out to measure those statistics across the company, which would allow us to look at all of our different development teams and baseline some of the data,” he explained, “and let them self inspect this information to work on plans for how they can actually improve their statistics.”

The lack of visibility, automation, and transparency was preventing TomTom from streamlining operational efficiency and delivering better customer experiences. TomTom knew they needed to find an outside partner with in-depth knowledge of DevOps practices and real-world implementation experience to revamp their internal processes. Through word-of-mouth, TomTom discovered RapDev—a DevOps firm specializing in ServiceNow and Datadog implementations.

Accelerating DevOps At TomTom

RapDev quickly understood what TomTom’s goals were, put together a plan and timeline, and used Trello and Slack to ensure transparent communication throughout the project. Together RapDev and TomTom were able to implement ServiceNow’ DevOps module, which enabled the tracking of core DevOps KPIs across development teams. RapDev also helped set up change management automation through integrations with Jira, Slack, and PagerDuty, which has dramatically improved the developer experience at TomTom.

“We built out a configuration with some automation,” Mitchell said. “The tools are quite powerful, but we didn’t want to get too tricky too fast,” he explained. “We’re seeing now that we can measure service levels, the basic ones for internal problem management, our SLAs, and a lot of the things we used to do manually,” he expanded. “We also built integrations to Slack,” Mitchell said, “so we could have one-touch approvals for QAs, one-touch approvals for emergency changes, and other capabilities through Slack as well.”

DevOps visibility and automation had an enormous impact on TomTom’s customers as well. Once the ServiceNow DevOps module and integrations were implemented, RapDev was able to help TomTom launch customer self-service portals. These portals empower TomTom’s enterprise customers to view availability reports, records analysis reports, and access other performance management tools. That means TomTom’s customers have a vastly improved service management experience that wasn’t possible before.

A Future of Innovation

RapDev stood out from other vendors that TomTom has worked with because they’re a leaner and more agile implementation partner focused on transparency and tight feedback loops. While there was detailed planning upfront, TomTom’s team found it invaluable that RapDev was able to move fast and change directions with design and architecture decisions whenever necessary.

“Anything that we can’t handle, or that is a huge piece of work,” Mitchell said, “RapDev will be our provider of choice. Traditional problems you have with vendors around controlling scope, scope creep, and checking additional charges–stuff like that–it’s never been like that with RapDev. It’s always been a good relationship. That’s part of the reason we extended them for several phases of more support”

As of now, TomTom has on-boarded nearly 40 of its development teams to these new DevOps tools and processes. Engineering leaders now have increased exposure and visibility for over 1500 engineers by tracking core Accelerated KPIs across 9000 code repositories, which is driving better decision-making throughout the organization. Only time will tell how a company-wide rollout of the DevOps implementation will drive TomTom’s innovation going forward.