WWT’s biggest challenge is that it is doubling in size every four years and it used to be a horizontal organization, where teams were not working together. To support growth, it needed to switch to being more vertical so a unified tool was required. The entire workforce had to have all the resources they needed to complete each test project and speed up time-to-market.
“If you look at our IT department, 50% of the people weren’t even there three years ago, so the only way that we can scale is through technologies, which is why we’ve gone aggressively into agile and DevOps methodology,” says Walter Whitaker, quality assurance manager at WWT. “We need tools that all the different people on the team can use so, for example, you no longer have QA people just using a QA tool.
“QA people loved using our previous tool, but when it came to the developers the solution wasn’t working. Just about all our developers use Macs, which meant they had to spin up a Citrix instance in order to get into the tool. The customer experience with that tool was not what we needed it to be and the delivery team didn’t feel that it added much value.”
WWT embarked on an aggressive DevOps transformation and having seen a demonstration of Micro Focus ALM Octane at an Micro Focus Discover event, Whitaker realized that it addressed many of the challenges they were experiencing with their existing test management tools. It had a nice interface, worked with any browser and it would easily integrate into all the other tools. The company opted for Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) delivery.
Octane is an application lifecycle management (ALM) solution that is designed to support high-velocity, lean and agile teams as well as delivering software through DevOps pipelines. It exists to support the demand for faster delivery of engaging applications with high-quality and excellent performance.
ALM Octane is part of the Micro Focus ALM product and integrates with both Micro Focus Agile Manager and the traditional Micro Focus ALM.NET platform to allow teams to easily share assets and report across projects.
Speed and improved time-to-market are WWT’s instant advantages of using Octane as Whitaker explains: “It’s part of our whole DevOps transformation. We’ve been able to take some of our development groups from one month to production down to one week and we think we can get that down to one hour.
“With the new pipeline we are developing, maybe we can do up to 10 deployments every day. What that means to the business is that they can get their features faster and if they get a feature that isn’t correct, they get a faster feedback loop and we can fix it.”
Automated processes are the key to streamlined efficiency and WWT hopes that, with Octane, it will be able to implement total DevOps with push-button deployments. With all the automated tests in place, once a developer puts a change into the GitHub, it will go all the way to production with no intervention.
The choice of SaaS delivery has also brought benefits. “Using the SaaS solution allows us to focus on quality assurance and not on maintaining the software and applications. It’s automatically updated with new features every six weeks and I have noticed no instability due to these upgrades,” says Whitaker. “We are also able to scale our licenses up and down with a phone call and it really reduced the cost of entry for us to try out the new solution.
“The team perceive it as having value and resulting in a good customer experience. They are able to work in the tool they want to work in and all information can flow back and forth where it needs to be.”
Looking to the future, WWT will be using Octane to the full to support plans for a big Oracle upgrade and the removal of its Oracle environment from on-premises to cloud.