Orchestration or Automation: What Matters for Mobile App Deployment

Nikfar Khaleeli | Dec 22, 2020

App deployment is a challenging, often disjointed process that varies by use case and organization. In a previous blog, I discussed some of the unique challenges associated with mobile app deployments and recommended steps to ensure their success. "Orchestration" and "automation" are well-known industry terms, often used interchangeably,  but are very different concepts. This blog will shed light on both and discuss why both orchestration and automation need to be part of your app deployment strategy.

Orchestration and Automation Defined

Orchestration coordinates the involvement of people, technologies and services required for mobile app deployment, and the handoff between them. This is accomplished through workflows, which codify the deployment activities into reliable, repeatable and tested procedures. Orchestration, through workflows, enforces a rigor over the execution of activities and sequences.  It also ensures actions aren't overlooked and that workflows continue to progress. Orchestration results in streamlined deployments, reducing time-to-market and yielding fewer errors in the process. 

Automation is viewed as using technology to perform tasks with reduced human assistance, emphasizing 'reduced' human assistance.

Orchestration relies on automation where appropriate, but is solving a bigger problem. When manual intervention is required, orchestration provides the appropriate approach to ensure a deployment workflow does not stall permanently. Additionally, it is important to point out that orchestration is not always a completely automated process. In fact, in specific scenarios, workflows cannot be entirely automated. For example, testing is a hybrid activity as it will naturally have some manual dependencies as testers and end users provide feedback, which will be incorporated into an app to improve it.

Do You Need Orchestration or Automation for App Deployments?

To be sure, the lines between orchestration and automation overlap to a certain degree. But the simple answer is you need both; automate where you can and then use orchestration to coordinate the execution of all the activities in a deployment workflow,  including manual processes. For example, testing an app, collecting user feedback, etc., require human intervention and actions. These critical tasks cannot be automated, but they can be orchestrated within the broader context of the app deployment process. Hence, you need both.

Orchestration Ensures App Deployment Success

Orchestration can significantly streamline your mobile app deployments by coordinating the different workflow activities across people and services, automating tasks where appropriate. Typically, you will have different teams perform different activities for app deployments; one team may be responsible for signing, while others are focused on testing, compliance, security, getting the app into public app stores, etc.

Orchestration enables efficient and error-free workflows that eliminate deployment delays while supporting compliance with security policies and regulations. It provides the recipe for ensuring rigor for app deployments. Orchestration is important when there are many workflows that have unique recipes or activities. 

Benefits of using Orchestration and Automation Together

Many organizations use automation as part of their arsenal for mobile app deployments. However, those that use only automation are losing out. By combining the power of using bother automation and orchestration together, benefits abound, including:

Decreasing overhead. Automation and orchestration will, overtime, drive down app development and deployment costs.

Minimizing team friction. The use of orchestration and automation can reduce the number of interactions, meetings and conflicts inherent  in distributed collaboration.

Increasing productivity. Instead of focusing on repeating tasks, teams can focus on strategic topics or simply get more work done in less time.

Standardizing workflows and processes. Consistency means your operations and deployments are consistent and reliable. 

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