For over 200 years, this financial services company has been serving the households, businesses and communities of Britain. It offers a comprehensive range of financial products and services—including current accounts, savings, mortgages, loans, and credit cards.
This financial services company operates in different business units, with divisions specializing in areas such as retail, commercial banking, and insurance. As a result, the IT structure is distributed too, and each area has the authority to choose a toolset suited to their particular needs. The distributed IT model made it difficult to approve and implement new enterprise-wide applications into the bank. With a conventional waterfall development process, delivering new services was timeconsuming and expensive.
A member of a specialist team introduced to change this said, “Our aim is to deliver better quality code faster, and we soon realized that a DevOps model could help change our working practices to support this objective. Our centralized team is tasked with sharing knowledge across the group, and investigate new ways of doing things to get the maximum value from our IT investment.”
The DevOps journey was launched in one division of the bank. This division was given the autonomy to select the tools and processes they required to enable software delivery through agile development processes. The cultural change associated with this move should not be underestimated, after years of following a very strict IT protocol.
Test teams already used Micro Focus Performance Center to support application testing efforts across the organization. Performance Center supports testing for the broadest range of applications, including legacy technology and packaged applications, using advanced scripting capabilities. The customer contact commented: “As teams were adopting DevOps practices, we were increasingly asked to build and test integrations between our solutions and the tools in use within the DevOps teams. We also saw a definite increase in the adoption of open source tools throughout the group. We firmly believe in choosing the best tool for the job and give our developers and Quality Assurance (QA) engineers the freedom to make this choice.”
As agile development practices and DevOps were steadily gaining ground within the Banking Group, the team realized they could play a central role in leveraging the new-found knowledge to other parts of the organization. Micro Focus automated testing solutions were crucial in achieving this.
Moving to a DevOps approach meant that an existing Micro Focus solutions investment was much better leveraged with more effective use of the tools. Micro Focus Unified Functional Testing (UFT), LoadRunner (LR), and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM and Performance Center delivered the flexibility the team needed to support the wide variety of testing requirements and tools, including open source solutions, within the organization.
UFT is designed to automate manual functional testing and create a collaborative environment for developers and QA engineers. It enabled the team to spend less time on hands-on testing and more time on developing value-add processes and knowledge sharing.
LoadRunner was used to integrate performance testing with functional testing conducted through UFT. With 50+ protocols, LoadRunner is particularly suited to the group's diverse application landscape. ALM improves quality management by introducing consistent, repeatable software testing processes. The team can easily track progress and quality to encourage collaboration and create transparency.
One of the difficulties in effecting cultural change in such a large organization is that it is a challenge to bring everyone together physically. The team recognized that knowledge sharing would be key to the success of the DevOps project, and through regular face-toface as well as online sessions teams were encouraged to share their positive and negative experiences and learn from each other. “This meant that instead of having five separate teams working on one problem, the first team to achieve a breakthrough is able to share their solution with the others and reduce the overall workload. We also made a real effort to bring specific project members together to get the benefit of small specialized teams, as well as the advantage of scale in our large organization.”
The close collaboration between testing and development teams in different areas of the company had a positive impact. The DevOps community regularly meet to share best practice ideas and demonstrate new tools and techniques. Centralized, specialist teams can help QA engineers diagnose problems, using the Micro Focus automated testing solutions, and assist with third party integrations. The team has worked on numerous Jenkins and JIRA integrations and are involved in the integration between Micro Focus solutions and Microsoft Team Foundation Server. Workshops and demonstrations have educated teams across the group on how to get the best value from the Micro Focus automated testing solutions. A Jenkins pipeline is in place, for instance, from which UFT runs functional testing to prove an application works, before then running a potentially longer performance load test with LoadRunner.
Banking IT has two distinctly different sets of customers. Colleagues within the different business areas, as well as end-users of banking applications. DevOps and agile practices are designed to benefit both audiences.
The teams who have adopted DevOps practices within the group have reported significant benefits, as described by the customer contact: “Digital and Commercial Banking applications are now deployed 95 percent faster than before; leveraging the Micro Focus solutions, we’ve seen deployment times reduced from three days to less than three hours. It used to be an effort of several days to build a full test environment. Now, through a DevOps approach, this is done in less than an hour.”
Over the course of 12 months, in which process improvements were introduced and QA engineers were thoroughly trained, the customer was able to reduce the amount of manual, repetitive hands-on application testing, and instead let Micro Focus solutions take the strain. This resulted in a 50 percent increase of automated application testing through Performance Center and a significant increase in the use of UFT.
The bank’s customers are reaping the benefits too, our customer contact commented: “Our DevOps initiatives, using Micro Focus automated testing solutions, are helping us be more innovative and much more responsive to evolving customer requirements. We deliver new applications and updates faster, with fewer errors, and at lower cost.”
He concludes: “Without increasing the number of QA engineers, we are able to run higher quality tests, more frequently than before. The bank recently announced significant investments in our banking IT infrastructure. Our new DevOps processes mean we are completely confident in our ability to meet this demand.”
Our DevOps initiatives, leveraging Micro Focus automated testing solutions, are helping us be more innovative and much more responsive to evolving customer requirements. We deliver new applications and updates faster, with fewer errors, and at lower cost.
Digital and Commercial Banking applications are now deployed 95 percent faster than before; leveraging the Micro Focus solutions, we’ve seen deployment times reduced from three days to less than three hours.