iCIMS controls the pace of releases, giving customers time to adapt.
iCIMS can now wait a full month before releasing features (compared to a few days).
Customer Support has a month to prepare for customer questions about new features.
iCIMS is the leading cloud platform for recruiting. iCIMS enables companies to manage and scale their recruiting programs through an award-winning end-to-end talent acquisition platform and an ecosystem of nearly 300 integrated partners. Established in 2000, iCIMS supports more than 4,000 customers, including nearly 20% of Fortune 100 companies, hiring 4 million people each year.
More than 4,000 companies around the world rely on iCIMS to power various aspects of their talent acquisition process. iCIMS has been scaling at an accelerated rate, growing its enterprise customer base by 160% over the past three years. When the company launches a new feature or version of its cloud-based service, its large customers, in turn, need to roll those changes out to their employees in a way that avoids disruption. Among other things, this means they need iCIMS to provide up-to-date training materials and documentation at the time of a new software release.
In the past, delivering such materials in a timely fashion was challenging for iCIMS, given that the engineering team develops and releases new features quickly. iCIMS wanted to improve its deployment and release process to make sure that customers could easily adjust to new features and prepare their employees for the changes they implemented. The company also needed to ensure its own customer service representatives were properly trained to answer any questions users had about new releases.
iCIMS didn’t want to hold back its engineers from developing new capabilities. The company thus needed a way to control the pace of releases, while allowing its engineering team to work at its usual capacity.
To solve the problem, iCIMS chose LaunchDarkly. iCIMS’ Director of Release Management, Dave Cacciatore, explained, “We use LaunchDarkly’s feature flags to turn features on and off, enabling our engineering team to go as fast as they possibly can. At the same time, this allows those of us on the release team to control the flow of changes and information that are rolled out to our customers, which makes it easier for them to adjust to new features and versions.”
iCIMS’ business analysts, who are part of the engineering team, create flags for every new feature. Each flag gets a ticket so that it can be tracked and turned on or off when necessary. Release managers determine which flags to enable or disable for production and rollouts. That lets them control the velocity of changes to customers by waiting to turn some flags on, while still allowing the engineering team to build new features quickly.
Developer productivity and customer satisfaction have both gone up since using LaunchDarkly. Previously, feature releases at iCIMS were generally finalized only two days before they were shipped by the cloud hosting team. Now that iCIMS can turn off features via flags before shipping, the company can delay including certain features in each release. That gives the release team a full month to fully prepare before rolling out releases, as well as to internally test new features more broadly, leading to more fully-vetted releases.
Should there be a problem with a new feature after shipping, iCIMS can simply turn off the feature using a flag (a.k.a., a “kill switch”). In addition, giving enterprises advance notice of new features lets businesses better prepare for them and help their employees incorporate them into their workflows.
“Now, when we deploy new functionality, we have all the documentation ready, the training on it has already been completed, and everything is caught up on the back-end,” Cacciatore explained.
iCIMS’ customer service staff uses the extra time to educate themselves about the new releases so they can better support clients. Thanks to the additional preparation time, they can troubleshoot customer issues and answer questions more quickly and effectively.
Product marketers at iCIMS utilize the added time to spread the word about new product capabilities. “Because they have the additional time to get the message out and generate interest, they will likely increase our adoption rates,” said Cacciatore.
All of this is vital for iCIMS’ clients worldwide, especially for their enterprise customers. Thanks to LaunchDarkly, it will be easier than ever before for iCIMS’ community of customers to find and hire the most qualified people.