End-to-end outsourcing of an entire test line provides full visibility of costs, improved delivery, coordinated test environments, plus continuity of testing knowledge.
The company decided to outsource its software testing activities in order to achieve better cost management, improve services delivery (in terms of both quality and time-to-market) and also to solve the problem of accessing testing expertise at short notice to meet both peak loads or expert requirements. It believed that working with testing specialists would enable it to benefit from dedicated professional skills and competences in areas like Sogeti’s structured test methodology—TMap®, and hence better software quality. However, the company was keen to avoid losing its existing in-house test execution continuity and its own testing knowledge as a result of outsourcing.
Initially, Sogeti set up a flexible but permanent test organisation on the client’s premises managing the end-to-end testing of the client’s software projects and new releases. Some of the client’s test team transferred over and, together with Sogeti testers, formed a core group of 25 testers, flexing to up to 50+ according to need. This guaranteed resource and knowledge continuity, yet could be quickly augmented to meet peaks in demand. The preliminary focus was on improving the testing processes, using Sogeti’s TPI® framework, and then implementing a more structured approach using Sogeti’s structured methodology for testing, TMap®.
Once initial improvements had been made, the client and Sogeti looked to take the test line to the next level by extending it to other test services, such as performance testing and wider Quality Assurance aspects. The test line would also take responsibility for ordering and the functional management of the necessary test environments. Testing is now performed on a clear and transparent fixed-price basis with a budget agreed quarterly, and monitored using SMART (Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-based) service levels on cost reduction, quality, flexibility, time-to-market and knowledge preservation. Process improvement is guaranteed by a dynamic improvement plan with the goal of an initial 25% cost reduction, and further cost savings thereafter.
Cost transparency and reduction: Process industrialisation and effective resource planning have resulted in a reduction of test costs in the range of 35 – 42%. Because costs are fixed (with all testing staff charged at the same hourly rate), they are fully predictable, and can therefore be fully capitalised. Automation is also now making further cost savings.
Quality level improvement: The percentage of defects covered by our testing is now above 99%, resulting in a higher quality of live services. Improvements have come from methodological improvements such as end-to-end testing with testing experts getting involved as early as the application design stage, and from including rigorous quality gates in the development process. Automation is now also improving quality further by allowing fuller regression tests. Overall the quality of the client’s services has improved since the introduction of the test line.
Process improvement and increased flexibility: The TPI® assessment and roadmap identified areas for improvement including the automation of regression tests, subsequently implemented and Sogeti has been able to accommodate all extra capacity demands within agreed service levels, achieving a high degree of flexibility through the expandable core team.
Technical expertise: The Sogeti test team is seen by the client staff as ‘internal’, yet as part of Capgemini Group’s Test Centre of Excellence, they have access to the latest tools and techniques.
Knowledge preservation: The client gets the best of both worlds: it still works with a stable team of familiar testing staff, with a higher experience average than before, but can also bring on line additional specialist expertise when needed. In turn this expertise is transferred to the team.