About MTN South Africa
After building its own cellular network in 1994, leading to a world-class ICT infrastructure that brings voice and data solutions to over 30 million South Africans, MTN Group is now a global player that operates in 22 markets in Africa and the Middle East. The company also offers ecommerce and digital services in music, financial services, and entertainment.
Enhancing Customer Engagement Requires Digital Transformation
Ambition 2025 is MTN’s strategy for sustained growth and relevance. It is anchored in building the largest and most valuable platform business with a clear focus on Africa. This will rest on a scalable connectivity and infrastructure business, making use of both mobile and fixed access networks across the consumer, enterprise, and wholesale segments. The organization’s digital transformation is a large part of this, aiming to bring together business and IT, create more transparency, and break down siloes for a more collaborative and agile delivery model.
Adrian Nelson, General Manager, Architecture and Project Management with MTN, explains further: “We want to improve the way we engage with our customers, augmenting our face-to-face journeys with digital contact through apps and social media. In this new, hyper-speed, world we need to deliver our services at a scale and speed previously unknown. This needs to be reflected in our product lifecycle, taking new products from idea to production in an end-to-end workflow.”
End-to-End Integration in Micro Focus Toolset
Over 1,100 IT projects are managed through the MTN IS organization each year. This requires a level of efficiency that was difficult to achieve with existing systems. MTN SA decided that several legacy systems needed replacing to transform the customer journey and looked for a partner who could provide an integrated toolset so that open team communication can be achieved, and customers are understood as human individuals, rather than numbers on a network. The organization partnered with iOCO, Africa’s largest technology services provider, who recommended a close look at Micro Focus. A full RFP process found in favor of Micro Focus. “We liked the rich functional coverage in each of the Micro Focus components,” comments Nelson. “But more importantly, we value the end-to-end integration within one toolset; a single way to manage all metadata through the lifecycle right from inception to production.”
Micro Focus Project & Portfolio Management (PPM) was the first solution to receive wide adoption in the teams focusing on online delivery. Introducing a standard project methodology enables MTN to manage project deliveries according to agreed SLAs. PPM’s reporting capabilities keep stakeholders better informed, and the easy workflow customization can cater for additional project types. It improves project traceability, management, and scheduling. It also enhances the management of project dependencies and their operational impact for improved visibility across the organization.
To streamline the project delivery process further, MTN chose to adopt Micro Focus ALM Octane, designed to optimize workflows for high quality software delivery. The tight integration between ALM Octane and PPM provides true end-to-end transparency. The full environment is backed up with governance structures and agile delivery mechanisms. “ALM Octane is key to our digital evolution,” says Nelson. “We now have a governance framework to support business rules, role-based user permissions, and rich reporting. This single source of truth provides the corporate visibility we need to support data-driven decision making.”
Streamlining Application Testing and Release Process
Testing is a key part of the application delivery lifecycle and Micro Focus UFT One, UFT Mobile, and LoadRunner Enterprise have accelerated end-to-end testing. UFT One introduces centralized automated functional testing processes across a very diverse enterprise architecture, ensuring consistent quality across multiple teams and locations. UFT Mobile increases team productivity by hosting devices locally for easy access by testing teams. It drives continuous improvement with automated testing in the mobile space, which is so important in MTN’s plans to engage with its customers. LoadRunner Enterprise reproduces real business processes by emulating virtual users, boosting team confidence that the systems can manage peaks in demand. Nelson on the testing effort: “The Micro Focus testing solutions have substantially increased our test coverage with a wider range of testing disciplines covered by application. We moved from mostly manual functional testing to fully automated security, performance, functional, and mobile testing. Our test execution time has also improved by over 75 percent which translates into a direct cost saving each time we complete a test cycle.”
Within the MTN application lifecycle, Micro Focus Release Control determines the parameters to flow releases between environments, before reaching production stage. This end-to-end release management with flexible and interactive reporting through visual dashboards improves visibility and prioritization. It accelerates application delivery and supports external and internal auditing. “The high-level integration between PPM, ALM Octane, and Release Control sets us up perfectly to support a continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) application pipeline. It gives us a single source of the truth and helps us embrace new ways of thinking and working,” comments Nelson. Once new releases are ready for deployment, Micro Focus Deployment Automation is called into action. Automating and streamlining software deployments reduces the deployment time from an average of four hours to just 10 minutes, a gain of 96 percent.
Micro Focus Service Virtualization enables MTN application teams to easily create virtual services that can replace targeted services in a composite application or multi-step business process. By accurately simulating the behavior of the actual component, it enables developers to run functional tests using UFT Developer and testers can begin performing functional or performance testing right away, increasing the overall testing capacity. The more realistic, scalable, and secure tests results in improved application quality with fewer defects reaching production.
Integrated Management Tools with a Central Dashboard
Micro Focus ALM/Quality Center is leveraged to build a specific QA environment which enables testing of changes and upgrades with no impact on production. The integration between ALM/Quality Center and ALM Octane through Micro Focus Connect Core allows ALM/Quality Center to manage all defects logged in either ALM/Quality Center or ALM Octane, regardless of whether they originate from an agile or waterfall-driven development methodology. The real-time visibility with comprehensive out-of-the-box live analysis graphs and health reports provides deep insight into global project progress.
Connect Core is a data synchronization technology that provides data and relationship synchronization across the software development and agile DevOps lifecycle. This supports an end-to-end integrated application lifecycle management system with full reporting visibility, enabling more effective reporting against KPIs, such as accelerated delivery and automation. It enforces processes and compliance to manage and drive quality across all application deliveries.
MTN was pleased to discover Micro Focus Operations Orchestration to easily orchestrate IT processes across teams, tools, and environments. The teams design reusable orchestration workflows in an intuitive web interface. A central dashboard displays step-by-step results in real time, shows the ROI benefits of their workflows, and manages user privileges. “Our Operations Orchestration dashboards show tool usage so that we can ensure adoption and obtain maximum value for the licenses we have purchased. It was great to see a saving of 113-man hours in a single month,” according to Nelson.
Executive Engagement and Strategic Partnership
Transforming the entire eco system and the core way of working required a real culture change which was led by unwavering leadership support and executive engagement. Nelson is clear that this was key to the success of the initiative: “This was not just a CapEx sponsorship, but an actual executive willingness to change our processes and governance to suit the new way of working so that we can enhance our customer service and our time to market.”
He concludes: “The integrated Micro Focus toolset has opened up communication between our teams and gives us the transparency and flexibility we need to deliver on the SLA commitments we have with our customers. iOCO and Micro Focus really invested time in understanding our environment and processes and formed a strategic partnership with us. We are evolving continually and enjoy the opportunity to work closely with Micro Focus to reach our vision of becoming Africa’s largest digital platform provider.”