Ordnance Survey is Great Britain’s national mapping authority that government, businesses and individuals rely on to collect, maintain and distribute the most accurate and up-to-date geographic data of England, Scotland and Wales. Ordnance Survey self-finances itself through licensing intellectual property rights under Crown copyright. They do this directly with customers and as well as with over 260 private-sector partners. Ordnance Survey has invested heavily in attracting valued add partners to deliver customer-led solutions to meet market demand.
They also provide free and unrestricted access to a large range of mapping via OS OpenData™ and OS OpenSpace® which help underpin a range of applications, promote government transparency and encourage greater take up of Graphical Information Systems. Their aim, along with their innovative network GeoVation, is to stimulate digital innovation in data reuse to develop applications and solutions, drive new markets and unlock new potential for technology jobs.
Business Needs and Objectives
Organizations like Ordnance Survey are under immense pressure from their respective partners, legislative bodies and global customers to meet ever increasing compliance standards. Complexity and rate of change increases are often accompanied by shrinking timescales and budgets. This can lead to quality deficits, increasing an organization’s risk exposure from any software change, implementation, development and integration.
The goal was to reduce business resources needed to test applications despite the requirement to minimize the risk of critical incidents being discovered post go-live. Each SAP release required significant resources from the business in order to perform User Acceptance Testing (UAT) largely consisting of running repetitive regression testing. Even then, testing sometimes failed to expose issues in the live SAP environment due to data inconsistencies between environments and a lack of adequate controls. Increased SAP integration increases the risk of reputational damage.
Ordnance Survey decided to introduce automated testing into their computer systems project management and Business As Usual (BAU) processes. To facilitate this, they invested in the SAP Best Practice Testing Toolset; TAO, BPT, QTP and aligned this with their existing assets; Solution Manager 7.1 and Quality Center. They selected Experior (an SAP-specialty company owned by QualiTest) to assist with internal training of SAP testing skills and processes required to take ownership of the new toolset and to develop best practices.
The QualiTest Solution
Phase 1 – Test Automation (Toolset Implementation)
Phase 1 was used as a ‘proof of concept’ and a key initial deliverable was the automated testing of one end-to-end business process to demonstrate a working example to the Ordnance Survey team, who were already using HP Quality Center. The Experior team installed the additional validated in-scope toolsets onto Ordnance Survey, identified hardware and aligned the existing toolsets to the newly installed tools in readiness for automation to commence.
Ordnance Survey produced an initial list of 25-30 business processes. Working with Experior, the project team went on to analyze business priority/criticality and coverage, identifying 15 of these processes for automated test scripts creation in the next phase of work, but the project scope cut the final business process count delivered to 11.
Finally, for this element of the work, the Experior team created a Toolset Administration Guide, defining and documenting the automation process to be created and best practice operation.
Phase 2 – Acceleration Plan
The Experior team went on to build and execute automated scripts for the 11 identified SAP end-to-end business processes, including execution metrics. Experior then demonstrated the automated test script operation to Ordnance Survey’s wider IT community. The presentation was well received and clearly demonstrated the potential time savings.
Following completion of the 11 end-to-end test scenarios, we ran a weeklong test automation script-writing training course. Within 5 weeks, the Ordnance Survey team completed 5 more end-to-end automated test scripts, and Experior provided knowledge transfer to ensure the Ordnance Survey team would be self-sufficient upon completion.
The Ordnance Survey IS team’s increased productivity will allow SAP release cycles to go live up to 2 weeks earlier as well as significantly reducing regression testing efforts. As a result, the Ordnance Survey IT team being able to provide 1 additional SAP release per year.
The automated regression pack created during the Experior engagement enables defects to be identified sooner, as well as freeing up the Ordnance Survey business users to focus on the new functionality being delivered.
IS and business resources used more effectively:
- Released key resource from test execution activities enabling them to add value elsewhere, e.g. working on new areas of development, testing new functionality
- Best practice template for test script automation created
- Internal resource developed to maintain and lead better test programs without relying on external expertise
- IS team gained a detailed understanding of the in-use testing tools, enhancing their reputation with business users
Value and confidence delivered to the business:
- Value delivered to the business quicker and/or more requirements delivered in each release
- Greater business confidence prior to ‘Go Live’ and fewer defects post ‘Go Live’
- Efficiency and productivity saving enhancements delivered
- Improved data security and brand protection
- Reputational damage minimized through the implementation of better governance and data management tools and processes