JHC offers IT solutions to the investment management and stockbroking community. It works with clients to help them successfully address business-critical technology challenges, improving the efficiency and competitiveness of their operations while at the same time providing a world-class platform on which to run their business. JHC systems complete over 36,000 trades every day.
In the highly regulated financial services industry, JHC products are subject to regular updates and changes, in order to comply with the latest guidelines. Major software releases, including regulatory updates, client sponsored enhancements, and new features, are issued quarterly. Close to 200 changes are included in any quarterly release cycle and 45 people are dedicated to software testing, as Neil Edwards, Head of Testing at JHC, explains: “Our test cycle was manually intensive and projects are managed using different methodologies and can be very variable in terms of content, scope and client specific demands. Only half of the requirements would be documented in a structured manner and we often struggled to trace these through to completion. Test scripts were written and executed in Excel and it was hard for us to tell which tests had passed and failed. Determining progress was an impossible task.
Defects were documented in JIRA but not linked to specific release items and so there was no cross-reference at all. From a management perspective, we had very little visibility into the test cycle and reporting was a time-consuming and manual affair. We wouldn’t know that a project might be running late until the very last minute, resulting in unsatisfactory customer service and defects in the live product. With no tools to monitor the performance of my team and a clear objective to improve productivity, quality and visibility, I decided we needed a much more structured way to organize our testing processes.”
JHC had a mix of technologies already implemented, including HP Quality Center. This, however was not meeting requirements. Following a market evaluation, a shortlist was drawn up for four solutions, including HP and Micro Focus. Edwards takes up the story: “We defined a scoring process with functionality and price being important factors for us. We felt the support we received from Micro Focus during the Proof-of-Concept was just exceptional. Professional Services helped us with the implementation and we were made to feel like valued customers. We were also very impressed with Silk Central’s capabilities and our decision was soon made.”
Following the Silk Central implementation, and while much remains to be done, a much improved testing process is in operation and delivering benefits. Requirements are uploaded into a repository; test scripts are created and linked to requirements to ensure full coverage. JHC states that each requirement, especially those which are high priority and potentially high risk, are covered by multiple tests so that all eventualities are accounted for. To help this process, test scripts are often broken down into bite-size chunks, so that specific segments can be reused to save time. The transparent test execution planning helps Neil Edwards and his team considerably: “Silk Central tells us exactly how long a test cycle will take, allowing us to accurately assign resources and use them much more effectively.”
The dashboards and reports available are used not just in testing but across the organization, including the executive team, helping raise the profile and visibility of the test function. A subset will also shortly be available to clients.
Defects, captured in JIRA, are linked to requirements and test scripts, thanks to the effective integration between Silk Central and JIRA. This ensures no double entry needs to happen and all defects are fully covered by the test process.
The automatic report generation alone has increased the capacity available to actually prepare and run the tests, in addition to other key benefits, as Edwards explains: “We’ve become transparent, with a dashboard which tells me, and our clients, exactly which tests have been executed. By properly planning and structuring test execution, and resource allocation, we have already gained three man days/week, and are well on our way to meeting our productivity targets. Attempting to accomplish the same in HP Quality Center would have more than doubled our costs.”
He concludes: “Micro Focus has helped us protect our brand, and our future revenue. We have improved our customer experience and increased the job satisfaction of our testing teams. I have full insight into my team’s performance and feel in control of the testing process.”
We felt the support we received from Micro Focus during the Proof-of-Concept we ran was just exceptional. We were also very impressed with Silk Central’s capabilities and our decision was soon made.
By properly planning and structuring test execution, and resource allocation, we have already made good progress in achieving improved productivity, quality and visibility, all at a significantly lower cost than extending our existing HP Quality Center implementation.