The flexibility to customize ZMF to meet your user's requirements is one of the great advantages of ZMF. This flexibility also introduces additional complexity as you upgrade ZMF from release to release. Customer feedback tells us that forward fitting your customizations to a new ZMF release is a significant part of every upgrade project. At xChange 2015, we hosted a 'best practices' session on this topic which received positive feedback on the recommendation to 'take the vanilla challenge'. For those unfamiliar with my use of the term 'vanilla', it means 'as delivered' or 'out of the box'. The challenge for you, is to to investigate your customizations and eliminate those that are unnecessary.
So, what are the items to consider as you attempt to minimize your customizations?
Let's start with some assumptions which we have discovered while working with customers over the past few years.
So, how do you go about reducing the volume of customizations? You may be thinking 'this is going to add additional effort to my upgrade project'. While that is true, it is a one time cost which will reduce your upgrade effort down the road. Here are some things to consider to help you decide whether to forward fit a customization.
Investigate each of these customized components and answer these questions:
Once you have answered these questions, you can make an appropriate business decision about whether or not it should be carried forward in the new release. I know a few of you are thinking, 'I don't have time for this extra effort because of tight project schedules'. Am I right? Let's take a look at a customer that has undertaken this exercise.
A ZMF customer that has been supporting ZMF for 10 years was frustrated with the effort to forward fit customizations from release to release. They had numerous customizations around Ideal, promotion, and many others. During the upgrade, the company was abandoning Ideal, thus requiring the elimination of all of those customizations. They took the opportunity to investigate all of their customizations and return to vanilla where possible.
The exercise allowed them to identify customizations which were obsolete due to changing business requirements, those that were obsolete due to the evolution of ZMF, and those that were required to support a valid business process.
ZMF 8.1 is a perfect opportunity for you to 'Return to Vanilla'. Many new features and enhancements have been delivered in previous years which may eliminate the need for your legacy customizations. Did I mention HLLX? Off platform integrations to ZMF are growing across Serena's customer base. Your ISPF customizations are often not visible or usable by these off platform clients, making it difficult to deploy a common work process across ISPF and the off platform clients. HLLX, delivered in ZMF 8.1, is the answer to this challenge. To learn more about HLLX, take a look at Steve Downes KBTV video titled 'My First High Level Language eXit'. Why not take the time to investigate your customizations with an eye towards removing those that are no longer valuable to your business?
As always, we encourage your feedback.