Why the largest enterprises in the world choose Unleash

As VP of Sales at Unleash, I’ve had the honor of engaging with Fortune 500 enterprises that are adopting the DevOps mindset so they can outcompete their large established peers and an increasing number of smaller but more nimble upstarts. It’s a red ocean out there, and the most forward-looking organizations realize that feature management is a key strategic initiative, not just a nice to have.

To give you a sense of what I am seeing, in just the last month alone, we signed contracts with two organizations that make up 70% of the global credit card market, a global leader in mobile phone sales with 20% + of the global cell phone market, and a telecommunications provider with over $44B in revenue.

As part of the sales process, I meet many people and often get asked the same three questions, whether I am talking to an SVP of Engineering or a Director of DevOps.

I want to answer these questions in this blog post.

The Market Dynamics of Feature Management

The first thing to understand is that there is tension between individual developers’ aspirations regarding software development workflows and their organization’s needs. Individual developers crave freedom, flexibility, broad access to information, and limited control over their problem-solving ability. Large enterprises try to reduce all these factors to mitigate security, compliance, and data-governance risks. The result is that developers often hate their tooling because it is optimized for control at the expense of innovation, reducing the latter by up to 50%. This reduction in innovation makes enterprises move slowly to react to changing market dynamics, making them susceptible to more nimble competitors. And often, security is not improved in the end as resourceful developers find ways around process-based controls. It doesn’t have to be this way.

Unleash is on a mission to make life easier for developers while enabling enterprises to increase their software release velocity without reducing security, compliance, or data governance. By decoupling code deployments from feature releases, Unleash saves developers from merge conflict hell, long testing cycles that can never uncover all potential edge cases, and a lack of insights into how users interact with new features. Instead, developers can get real-time feedback on how new features are performing, with testing happening in the best possible way, with a limited set of real users and data. If anything goes wrong, rollbacks happen instantly with the click of a button. At the same time, enterprises can easily audit “who releases what, when, and to whom” without getting in the way of developer productivity. Coupled with Unleash’s flexible architecture that can run entirely within a customer’s data center or cloud, Unleash provides the best of both worlds: intuitive tools that both the development and security/compliance teams love.

With that out of the way, here is how I answer the three most common questions I receive about feature flags:

Why should I use Feature Flags at all?

Feature flags are a key part of DevOps, speeding up the software development process. They reduce the need for long testing cycles that still fail to find all the possible bugs when code meets real users. They reduce the risk of downtime when a feature needs to be rolled back. And they enable data-driven optimization, which is essential to improving user experience and driving revenue.

Why should I use Unleash?

Individual developers love Unleash because it removes the pain of testing and deploying new features so they have more time and energy to innovate. Enterprises love Unleash because of its market-leading data governance, security, and compliance controls. Unleash is trusted by thousands of companies in production including Visa, Wayfair, Lloyd’s Banking Group, and Samsung. While we serve the needs of some of the world’s largest and most security-conscious organizations, we were also rated the “Easiest Feature Management system to use” by G2. Unleash has over 10,000 GitHub stars, has been downloaded over 20 million times, and has a Net Promoter Score of 80+. Unleash can be used in our cloud as a private hosted instance or as a self-hosted solution easily enabling Fed Ramp or Air-Gapped use cases.

Why should I adopt Unleash feature flags right now?

The risk and cost of building software the old way are too high. When developers are forced to use tools and processes they hate, like infrequent high-stakes releases based on complex branching strategies, innovation is reduced by 50%. Additionally, once code deployed this way is released, rolling back is difficult and time-consuming if and when an issue is discovered. On average, application downtime costs organizations $400,000 per hour, and more than half of organizations face unexpected downtime every two months. Many organizations attempt to solve these problems by building a feature flag solution in-house, but often, features and UX are lacking, the maintenance burden is high, and reliability is low. Under such circumstances, release velocity suffers, and the best talent starts to look elsewhere.

That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Do you work at a Fortune 500 company that values speed, agility, and developer experience?  Let’s talk.

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