Fit-for budget Application Performance Management (APM) capability for Higher Education.
Our client – a prestigious university in the Northeast – had undertaken with an independent consortium the co-development and initial roll-out of a specialized ERP system. Considered mission critical, this new system would replace point solutions and manual processes designed to administer student experience (enrollment, billings, dorm assignments and so on). By partnering with SQA’s Performance Engineering practice, they were able to gain a best-in-class capability for an investment less than the equivalent of adding .5 FTE in headcount. The partnership shifted production performance issues from a near-constant occurrence per release to a 90% increase in risks identified and mitigated pre-launch – avoiding literally hundreds of hours of IT effort.
SQA’s evaluation team was deployed to assess current state and perform a gap analysis of processes, tools and people. The team delivered a suite of recommendations that included a roadmap pragmatically sequencing areas for improvement, including:
- Defining an Application Performance Management discipline (the current stack was experiencing regular and intractable performance issues).
- Selection of appropriate application performance monitoring and testing tools.
- Tool implementation, definition of test environments and usage models for operational simulation.
- Establishing a performance baseline based on the first system modules scheduled for introduction.
- Standup and launch of an in-house performance management capability consisting of college SME’s and stack owners within the IT organization.
- SQA mentorship of this part-time team in their roles and best-practice APM processes through several cycles of testing, benchmarking and optimization. Under SQA guidance, the team rapidly matured into an effective organization capable of characterizing system performance and mitigating issues.
- Creation of a custom Performance Management as a service (PMaaS) model for ongoing project support, expert monitoring, metrics collection and episodic performance testing events.
SQA has maintained PMaaS engagement for five years and guided the institution through multiple ERP module launches while advancing their performance management capabilities and maturity. Today our client has an performance regression approach integrated with their automated Continuous Integration (CI) pipeline and ongoing site reliability monitoring enabled through synthetic transactions in production.