Digital Transformation Achieved through Agile Enablement and Tool Stack Transformation

July 10, 2019

The client – a leading provider of mental wellness services – was experiencing velocity and quality challenges in its software delivery processes. As a result of mergers and acquisition, their technological stack included a blend of incompatible technologies; this and an incompletely melded corporate culture resulted in frustrations for both end users and the business. An example of the impact: releases for a core system were stuck on four per year, with each release consisting of over 400 steps that required over 96 hours to complete. SQA was hired as a Change Management Partner to Design and Implement an 18-month Digital Transformation roadmap consisting of open source and low-cost tooling. Completion of the initiative would produce $4.6MM in IT production-related savings.

Deploying SQA’s Wave, Capability, Reinforcement Model, a series of activities were launched. Initially focused on one division of the company – a quick intensive assessment was followed by a direct examination of code revealing endemic, enterprise issues not limited to a single division or tech stack.

Leveraging our SQA-DAx (SQA Delivery Acceleration) Framework, a team of first-in-class domain experts in test automation framework design, process engineering, collaboration tool configuration, DevOps pipeline automation, data governance and Scrum/Agile methodology was deployed. Working hand in hand with the Change Management department and the Executive Leadership Team, SQA launched an implementation initiative consisting of the following streams:

  • Scrum/Agile training curriculum and training of approximately 70 client personnel in Scrum/Agile principles.
  • Transition of the first “tranche” of projects to a Scrum methodology and to their customized Jira instances through an extensive mentoring program
  • Custom engineered automation framework – based on Selenium Page Object Model/Cucumber BDD – to accommodate the diverse tech stack and technologies.
  • Development of a Test Data Management Framework and re-engineering of host environments
  • Development of an Informatica End-to-End Integrated test and Build/Release Framework
  • Re-engineering the IT Work Intake process, introduction of an Agile/Scrum SDLC and implementation of an Atlassian Jira-based Collaboration Framework.

The implementation of the Selenium/Cucumber Test Automation Framework in the very first project reduced an initial spend projection by 75%, netting a savings of $1.5MM in licensing and labor costs.

In addition, SQA designed and implemented a suite of stand-alone test utilities to provide immediate relief to those projects not scheduled to undergo transformation until a later date. The first such utility replaced a manual effort of 50 tests requiring 4 hours elapsed time by 8 testers with an automated test running 12,000 tests executing in less than 20 minutes and integrated with the Jenkins build. The ROI of this solution:

– Pre-solution = 26 (runs annually) X $47k (per run for equivalent manual coverage)
– 26 x $47,000 = $1,222,000
– Cost for 26 20-minute automation cycles including stand-up investments = $57,700

Due to yet another acquisition, this project has been placed on hold before full implementation, but the transformative effect had already begun a profound shift in client culture and productivity. In the words of the CIO, “…thank you again for all that your organization did to support the badly needed changes in testing, agile and process improvements. You and your team did make a difference.”


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