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It can be done: Speed delivery of business applications with an astute application of automation

KellyEmo ‎09-03-2012 05:18 PM - edited ‎09-18-2015 03:31 PM

It’s the delicate balance facing organizations world-wide… there is an overwhelming “need for speed” pervading the culture of software delivery today that often flies in the face of service level assurance and stability.  However, there are still many steps in the process of delivering software however that jump out as opportunities for applying what I like to alliterate as “an astute application of automation.”   And our customers are direct proof of the measurable business advantages that can be gained by focusing on these areas and applying both process and innovative technology. 





Last week Forbes featured HP client, BlackRock - a global investment management company, in an article titled “Testing -- BlackRock Turns To HP for Application Updates and QA.”  What I like about this example is that BlackRock deals with highly business critical software.  These are the applications that guide investment risk analysis, financial portfolio management and trading.   They deal with financial instruments and return, and there isn’t much more business critical than that.  However, across all industries whether applications are just for entertainment or financially critical, there is a growing expectation of rapid delivery of new customer experiences and innovations while maintaining the highest standards of reliability, performance and quality.



BlackRock is embracing this uneasy balance and is leveraging best practices in application lifecycle management and automation to drive efficiency while maintaining quality. They are taking the time and effort to build in the processes, secure the software tools to manage the application lifecycle across their teams, and to astutely automate the aspects of application delivery that are both resource intensive and repetitive.



BlackRock will be using the new Lab Management Automation capabilities in HP ALM 11.5 to automate daily checkout tests for 50 of their production environments, a process that will no longer require daily manual efforts.   In addition, they will be able to schedule their overnight automated tests, such as build verification and regression tests.   The end result will free up their skilled testing teams to focus on strategic, non-repetitive activities such as exploratory testing and user experience testing.



BlackRock is also taking the time to set up an automation process for configuring testing environments.  While this takes an initial effort to inventory what’s needed and set of the automation steps, once automated, BlackRock will no longer have to find and apply human resources to set up test labs every time for their testing teams.   This is estimated to reduce their application testing times from days to hours and will enable the execution of tests in parallel on auto-provisioned resources.



Yes, it takes time initially to set up application lifecycle management systems and workflows that drive these automated processes but once established the payoff can be huge over the on-going process of agile delivery of software.  My favorite statistic from the press release says it all:



BlackRock estimates that the HP solution will significantly improve employee productivity by eliminating more than two months of labor-intensive, manual work for each application tester over the course of a year

About the Author


Kelly has over 20 years experience with enterprise systems and software in individual contributor and manager roles across product management, business development and product marketing. A majority of my focus has been in areas directly related to applications spanning from developer environments, enterprise Java, integration middleware, SOA infrastructure, SOA Governance and now application lifecycle management. Kelly has a B.S. in Computer Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and an MBA from the University of Santa Clara.

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