If you attended Interactions 2014, you may have heard that changes are coming to the way Interactive Intelligence (ININ) releases software updates for their flagship product: the Customer Interaction Center (CIC).
ININ has been trying to balance two conflicting challenges:
- Respond rapidly to market demands for new features.
- Accomplish the first objective while still producing a stable and reliable software platform.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have begged for new features while with my next breath begged for no new features because they can break things that were previously working.
ININ has heard both of these pleas and is responding by altering their development and release models. For development, ININ is moving to an agile software development model. There are a lot of changes “under the hood” (think geeks writing code) that should help CIC be more flexible and stable, but I’d like to focus on what this will look like to the rest of the world as updates are released:
- Regular Release Cycle – ININ plans to release a CIC software update roughly once per quarter. Today, guessing the release date for the next Service Update is a bit like winning the lottery. Regular updates will greatly simplify planning for system maintenance.
- Rolling Release Support – ININ will support and release patches for the current software release, plus the 3 previous releases. Today, emergency patches are only produced for the current Service Update for CIC 3.0 and 4.0.
- Tested Software Patches – ININ will release cumulative tested patches every 2 weeks. Today, there may be dozens of emergency patches that are untested and can take quite a while to apply.
- No More Migrations – ININ will be responsible for cleanly handling architecture changes. I’m not sure how to convey just how significant this is. For those of you who have endured a 3.0 -> 4.0 migration (including your reporting database), you’ll understand. ININ’s goal is for this to never be needed again.
- Full Install Releases – Each release will be a fully installable product (MSI vs. MSP for those who care). Today, a CIC system must be installed with the GA release and then updated to the current Service Update.
Here’s how it will work:
CIC 4.0 SU6 is the current release available. There will be no more Service Updates and no more major versions (3.0, 4.0). The next release will be called CIC 2015 R1 and will be released sometime around Q4 of 2014 (think of it like buying a new car). ININ will then release cumulative tested patches for this release every 2 weeks.
To learn more about these changes, check out this webinar from Interactive Intelligence. If you have any questions about this post or your ININ system, please reach out to me. I would be happy to help.