Merger Prompts Move to Agile Development Practices
When Bon Secours completed a merger with fellow healthcare provider Mercy Health, it established one of the largest Catholic healthcare systems in the USA. It was an opportunity to introduce new agility into its IT processes.
Christopher Christian, Quality Assurance (QA) Analyst at Bon Secours, explains: “As a QA and testing team, we test all applications across the organization from our Epic-based Electronic Health Record system to radiology and oncology solutions, billing and backend solutions, and HR systems. Combining the organizations led to a large increase in work. We realized that now was the time to create a more efficient and streamlined application testing process.”
Christian and his team kicked off this process by forming a DevOps taskforce to decide how to move to agile development practices to streamline application development with integrated security. The QA team could then leverage the improved processes to increase testing productivity and manage the anticipated growth without having to add additional headcount.
The DevOps taskforce then looked for an agile testing solution which would smoothly integrate into the existing environment. Bon Secours were already long-term users of Micro Focus application testing solutions with Micro Focus ALM/Quality Center, LoadRunner Enterprise, and UFT One used to govern application lifecycle management activities and ensure high quality solutions. In addition, Micro Focus Fortify is integrated into the development process to eliminate any vulnerabilities during the development and testing process, resulting in secure applications. As Christian explains: “We needed a user-friendly solution so that our testers would be up and running quickly. We also wanted to make sure that ALM/Quality Center test content could easily be migrated to the new solution, as we have over 5,000 test cases that we didn’t want to lose. As part of our digital transformation we moved to a cloud environment, so the new solution needed to work in a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) model to help us with system administration.”
ALM Octane Delivers Higher Quality Applications
Micro Focus ALM Octane is designed to ensure application quality and accelerate agile development and delivery. With ready integration into ALM/Quality Center, test script reuse can be guaranteed, a deciding factor for Bon Secours. The familiarity with ALM/Quality Center helped in the transition to ALM Octane. Following initial training for 300 ALM Octane users, Micro Focus assisted in seamlessly migrating the test content, keeping ALM/Quality Center as a historic test repository for auditing purposes. “We really like the ALM Octane feature set. The ability to Skype team members within ALM Octane is very helpful. It means we can collaborate with colleagues working on defects identified through the testing process, all without having to jump from tool to tool,” says Christian.
ALM Octane was implemented in a SaaS model, alleviating any workload surrounding upgrades or user password management. Christian noticed a difference straightaway: “We have seen an increase in our testing workload of about 20 percent since the merger, when we were struggling to meet delivery commitments. Leveraging ALM Octane’s user-friendly interface, we can create and edit test scripts much faster. Importing the script into ALM Octane for execution is easier too. Our testers are faster and more agile: able to cover more in-depth testing.”
As part of a continuous integration and testing cycle, ALM Octane helps the team identify defects early in the development process, so that they can be assigned and fixed during the development and testing phases. The result is higher quality applications with fewer issues in production, leading to satisfied users.
Agile Processes Put to the Test with COVID-19
The new agile model really came into its own when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Bon Secours hospitals had to accommodate the influx of patients and contain the disease. The team needed to ensure room and floor changes dictated by COVID-19 were thoroughly tested, every bed was adequately equipped, and lab results would swiftly find their way to the correct patients. In addition, Bon Secours had been working on enhancing its video consultation capabilities. The pandemic accelerated this effort and testing was done quickly to ensure video consultation was successfully implemented in over 750 Bon Secours facilities so that patients can safely book video appointments with their chosen healthcare providers. “It was a testament to the flexibility and readiness of ALM Octane, that we were able to accommodate this additional unexpected increase in testing requirements,” says Christian.
He concludes: “Our secure agile testing processes with ALM Octane and Fortify help us deliver a superior patient experience, especially during COVID-19. By moving to a DevOps environment, we were able to increase our testing productivity by 20 percent through ALM Octane’s ease of use and flexibility. We love seeing regular new ALM Octane features and have been able to collaborate with Micro Focus to ensure ALM Octane continues to meet our needs.”