Friday, July 15, 2011

SaaS PPM from HP Helps Deloitte-Australia Streamline Top-Level Decision Making

Transcript of a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast, part of a series on application lifecycle management and HP ALM 11.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.

Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a BriefingsDirect podcast on Deloitte-Australia, and how their business has benefited from leveraging the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model for project and portfolio management (PPM) activities.

We spoke to Deloitte-Australia at a recent conference to explore some major enterprise software and solutions, trends and innovations making news across HP’s ecosystem of customers, partners, and developers.

I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions and I’ll be your host as we learn more about Deloitte’s innovative use of SaaS hosting for non-core applications. First, please join me in welcoming Ferne King, director within the Investment and Growth Forum at Deloitte-Australia in Melbourne. Welcome.

It’s the only solution that we found in the marketplace that would help us support and have visibility into the investments we were going to make.



Ferne King: Thank you.

Gardner: Tell me, Ferne, what led up to the use of SaaS for PPM? Why did this particular model seem to make sense?

King: The SaaS model made sense to us, because we had a strategic direction in our firm that any non-core application’s strategic intent was to have them as SaaS.

Gardner: What is it about PPM, in particular, that made this a leading candidate for that initiative?

King: It’s the only solution that we found in the marketplace that would help us support and have visibility into the investments we were going to make for ourselves internally around the growth and the maintenance of what we did internally within our own firm.

Gardner: Perhaps for our listeners’ benefit, you could explain a little bit about what you do there at Deloitte in Australia and the extent to which you went with this PPM solution. How far and wide?

King: Deloitte-Australia is approximately 5,000 practitioners. In 2010, our revenue was A$850 million. We provide professional services to public and private clients, and we are now globally the largest professional services firm. We utilize PPM internally within the firm, and that helps us to understand that portfolio and prioritization. Deloitte-UK practice and Deloitte-America practice in their consulting areas use PPM to go to the market and help manage deliver investments with their client base.

Gardner: From a high level, what have been some of the benefits of PPM in general, but furthermore, the SaaS deployment method?

Three benefits


King: The three benefits of PPM, primarily for us has been understanding that portfolio and linking that to our strategy. For example, our executive will have a series of business objectives they want to achieve in the Australian practice.

By utilizing PPM, we can understand what is going on within the firm that’s meeting those objectives, and then, more importantly for them, with the gap, and then they can take the action on the gap. That’s the number one priority. The number two priority is being able to communicate to our people within the practice the particulars of change.

For example, over the next quarter, what will our practitioners in the firm see as a result of all of these myriad of initiatives going on, whether it’s a SaaS service HR system or whether it’s a new product and service that they can take to market. Whatever change is coming, we can better communicate that to them within their organization.

Our third priority which the PPM product helps with discipline is our area of delivery. So, in our project management methodology, it helps us improve our disciplines. We had a journey of 18 months of doing things manually and then we brought PPM to technology enable what we were doing manually.

From a SaaS perspective, the benefit we’ve achieved there is that we can focus our people on the right things. Instead of having our people focused on what hardware, what platform, what change request, what design do we need to be happening, we can focus on what our to-be process should be, what our design should be. Then we basically hand that over the fence to the SaaS team, which then help execute that.

We don’t have to stand in a queue within our own IT group and look for a change window. We can make changes every Wednesday, every Sunday, 12 months of the year, and that works for us.

Gardner: Great. Now you described how you’ve decided on the prioritization of moving to SaaS as non-core. But, forgive me, PPM, the way you described it, it sounds rather mission critical. How was it that you decided on this, even though it seems so pertinent and perhaps it forms mortar to other types of business processes?

King: We would say it’s non-core, but high value. Just because it’s non-core, doesn’t mean that it’s not a top priority. Our firm has approximately 2,500 applications within our Australian practice. PPM, at our executive level, is seen as one of our top 10 applications to help our executive, our partners, the senior groups of our firm register ideas to help our business grow and be maintained.

So, it’s high value but it’s not part of our core practice suite. It doesn’t bring in revenue and it doesn’t keep the lights on, but it helps us manage our business.

Gardner: Could you give me a sense of the timeline? Is this something that is relatively new, something that you're well into, something that you're looking at through the rear-view mirror and assessing? Where are we within your roll-out of this PPM for SaaS?

The roadmap


King: I’d answer that in the question of where are we in our roadmap of strategic enterprise portfolio management. In that journey, we're four years in and we are two years into technology enablement. We undertook the journey four years ago to go down strategic portfolio management and we lasted about 18 months to 2 years, manually developing and understanding our methodology, understanding the value where we wanted to go to.

In our second year we technology enabled that to help us execute more effectively, speed to value, time to value, and now we are entering our third year into the maturity model of that.

Gardner: When you describe this as something that doesn’t directly impact your bottom-line, it certainly sounds as if it’s impacting the users within your organization. What’s been the feedback from the front lines, those who are involved with are actually using this? Has this been something that they’ve embraced or something they needed to learn to embrace over time?

King: Fantastic results, particularly at the executive levels who are the ones who pay for us to create the time to work on this. Deloitte itself has taken the transformation over the years, If anybody in the market follows the professional services, industry group areas, Deloitte globally is 160,000 practitioners and over 250 billion of revenue on FY10. We're coming together and have been taking a journey for some time to be as one.

So, if you're a client in the marketplace, you don’t have to think about what door you need to enter the Deloitte world. You enter one door and you get service from whatever service group you need.

PPM has enabled us to help the executive achieve their vision of firm-wide visibility of the enterprise investments we are making to improve our growth and support our maintenance.



If I take the example of three years ago, our tax group would only be interested in what’s happening in their tax group. Our consultant group would really only be interested in what’s happening in the consultant group.

Now that we are acting as one, the tax service line lead and the consulting service line lead would like visibility of what’s happening firm wide. PPM is now enabling us to do that.

What I would summarize there is that PPM has enabled us to help the executive achieve their vision of firm-wide visibility of the enterprise investments we are making to improve our growth and support our maintenance.

Gardner: Tell me if you could, Ferne, a little bit about how you came to the HP solution. What was it that you were looking for in a solution and what requirements did you feel were most important in leading up to that choice?

King: First of all, probably, 27 years experience with project delivery, coming from an engineering construction background, getting very detailed knowledge over the years about the one-on-one delivery components and dealing with a lot of vendors over the years in the client marketplace.

So, well-versed in what we needed and well-versed in what was available out there in the marketplace. When we went to market looking for a partner and a vendor solution, we were very clear on what we wanted. HP was are able to meet that.

I actually took my own role out of the scoring process. We helped put scripts together, scenarios for our vendors to come and demonstrate to us how we were going to achieve meeting our objectives. Then, we brought people around the table from that business with a scoring method, and HP won on that scoring method.

Gardner: With you being fully into this project and for those listening who might be considering moving to a more holistic PPM approach and perhaps evaluating the different sourcing options, is there anything in hindsight that you could offer in terms of advice when beginning such a project?

When we went to market looking for a partner and a vendor solution, we were very clear on what we wanted. HP was are able to meet that.



King: Understand the method or the approach that you want to use PPM for. You cannot bring PPM and expect it to answer 80 percent of your issues. It can support and help direct resolution of issues, but you need to understand how you are expecting to do that. An example would be if you want to capture ideas from other business units or groups or the technology department on what they'd like to do to improve their application or improve product development, any area of the business, understand the life-cycle of how you want that to be managed. Don’t expect PPM to have preset examples for you.

Gardner: Very good. We’ve been discussing how Deloitte-Australia has benefited from leveraging SaaS as a model for delivery of project and portfolio management activities. I’d like to thank our guest, Ferne King, Director within the Investment and Growth Forum at Deloitte-Australia. Thanks so much.

King: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And I’d also like to thank our listeners in joining us with this BriefingsDirect podcast, coming to you from a recent HP conference.

I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks again for listening, and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.

Transcript of a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast, part of a series on application lifecycle management and HP ALM 11. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.

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Monday, July 11, 2011

Enterprise Architects Increasingly Leverage Advanced TOGAF 9 for Innovation, Market Response, and Governance Benefits

Transcript of a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast, in conjunction with The Open Group Austin 2011 Conference, on advances in enterprise architecture and The Open Group's Architectural Framework use for business benefits.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor: The Open Group.

Join The Open Group in Austin, Texas July 18-22 to learn more about enterprise architecture, cloud computing, and TOGAF 9. To register, go to http://www.opengroup.org/austin2011/register.htm.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you're listening to BriefingsDirect.

Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion in conjunction with the latest Open Group Conference in Austin, Texas, the week of July 18, 2011. We've assembled a panel to examine the maturing use of The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF), and how enterprise architects and business leaders are advancing and exploiting the latest Version 9.

We'll further explore how the full embrace of TOGAF, its principles, and methodologies are benefiting companies in their pursuit of improved innovation, responsiveness to markets, and operational governance. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Is enterprise architecture (EA) joining other business transformation agents as a part of a larger and extended strategic value? How? And what exactly are the best practitioners of TOGAF getting for their efforts in terms of business achievements?

Here with us to delve into advanced use and expanded benefits of EA frameworks and what that's doing for their user organizations is Chris Forde, Vice President of Enterprise Architecture and Membership Capabilities for The Open Group, based in Shanghai. Welcome, Chris.

Chris Forde: Good morning, Dana.

Gardner: We're also here with Jason Uppal, Chief Architect at QR Systems, based in Toronto. Welcome, Jason.

Jason Uppal: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: Jason, let’s cut to the quick here. We hear an awful lot about architecture. We hear about planning and methodologies, putting the right frameworks in place, but is TOGAF having an impact on the bottom line in the organizations that are employing it?

Uppal: One of the things with a framework like a TOGAF is that, on the outside, it’s a framework. At the same time, when you apply this along with the other disciplines, it's making big difference in the organization, partially it’s because it's allowing the IT organizations to step up to the plate within the core enterprise as a whole and ask how they can actually exploit the current assets that they already have.

And secondly, [TOGAF helps] make sure the new assets that they do bring into the organization are aligned to the business needs.

One of the examples where EA has a huge impact in many of the organizations that I have experience with is that, with key EA methods, we're able to capture the innovation that exists in the organization and make that innovation real, as opposed to just suggestions that are thrown in a box, and nobody ever sees.

Gardner: What is it about capturing that innovation that gets us to something we can measure in terms of an achievable bottom-line benefit?

Evolve over time

Uppal: Say you define an end-to-end process using architecture development method (ADM) methods in TOGAF. What it does is give me a way to capture that innovation at the lowest level and then evolve it over time. Those people who are part of the innovation at the beginning see their innovation or idea progressing through the organization, as the innovation gets aligned to value statements, and value statements get aligned to their capabilities, and the strategies, and the projects, and hence to the end of the day.

Therefore, if I make a suggestion of some sort, that innovation or idea is seen throughout the organization through the methods like ADM, and the linkage is explicit and very visible to the people. Therefore, they feel comfortable that their ideas are going somewhere, they are just not getting stuck.

Forde: There's an additional point here, Dana, to underscore the answer that Jason gave to your question. In the end result, what you want to be seeing out of your architectural program is moving the key performance indicators (KPIs) for the business, the business levers that they are expecting to be moved out. If that is related to cost reduction or is related to top-line numbers or whatever, that explicit linkage through to the business levers in an architecture program is critical.

Gardner: Chris, you have a good view on the global markets and the variability of goals here. Many companies are looking to either cut cost or improve productivity. Others are looking to expand. Others are looking to manage how to keep operations afloat. There are so many different variables. How do things like the TOGAF 9 and EA have a common benefit to all of those various pursuits? What is the common denominator that makes EA so powerful?

Forde: Going back to the framework reference, what we have with TOGAF 9 is a number of assets, but primarily it’s a tool that’s available to be customized, and it's expected to be customized.

If you come to the toolset with a problem, you need to focus the framework on the area that's going to help you get rapid value to solving your particular problem set. So once you get into that particular space, then you can look at migrating out from that entry point, if that's the approach, to expanding your use of the framework, the methods, the capabilities, that are implicit and explicit in the framework to address other areas.

You can start at the top and work your way down through the framework, from this kind of ├╝ber value proposition, right down through delivery to the departmental level or whatever. Or, you can come into the bottom, in the infrastructure layer, in IT for example, and work your way up. Or, you can come in at the middle. The question is what is impeding your company’s growth or your department’s growth, if those are the issues that are facing you.

One of the reasons that this framework is so useful in so many different dimensions is that it is a framework. It’s designed to be customized, and is applicable to many different problems.

Gardner: Back to you, Jason. When we think about a beginning effort, perhaps a crawl-walk-run approach to EA and TOGAF, the promise is that further development, advancement, understanding, implementation will lead to larger, more strategic goals.

Let’s define what it means to get to that level of maturity. When we think about an advanced user of TOGAF, what does that mean? Then, we'll get into how they can then leverage that to further goals. But, what do we really mean by an advanced user at this point?

Advanced user

Uppal: When we think about an advanced user, in our practice we look at it from different points of view and ask what value I'm delivering to the organization. It could very well be delivering value to a CTO in the organization. That is not to say that's not an advanced user, because that’s strictly focused on technology.

But then, the CTO focus is that it allows us to focus on the current assets that are under deployment in the organization. How do you get the most out of them? So, that’s an advanced user who can figure out how to standardize and scale those assets into a scalable way so therefore they become reusable in the organization.

As we move up the food chain from very technology-centric view of a more optimized and transformed scale, advanced user at that point is looking at and saying that now I have a framework like TOGAF, that advanced user has all these tools in their back pocket.

Now, depending on the stakeholder that they're working with, be that a CEO, a CFO, or a junior manager in the line of business, I can actually focus them on defining a specific capability that they are working towards and create transition roadmaps. Once those transition roadmaps are established, then I can drive that through.

An advanced user in the organization is somebody who has all these tools available to them, frameworks available to them, but at the same time, are very focused on a specific value delivery point in their scope.

It moves the conversation away from this framework debate and very quickly moves our conversation into what we do with it.



One beauty of TOGAF is that, because we get to define what enterprise is and we are not told that we have to interview the CEO on day one, I can define an enterprise from a manager’s point of view or a CFO’s point of view and work within that framework. That to me is an advanced user.

Gardner: When we talk about applied architecture, what does that mean? How is it that we move from concept into execution?

Uppal: The frameworks that we have are well thought-out frameworks. So, it moves the conversation away from this framework debate and very quickly moves our conversation into what we do with it.

When we talk about a framework like TOGAF, now I can look at and say that if I wanted to apply it now, I have an executive who has defined a business strategy, which typically is a two page PowerPoint presentation, sometimes accompanied by Excel. That’s a good starting point for an enterprise architect.

Now, I use methods like TOGAF to define the capabilities in that strategy that they are trying to optimize, where they are, and what they want to transition to.

Very creative

This is where a framework allows me to be very creative, defining the capabilities and the transition points, and giving a roadmap to get to those transitions. That is the cleverness and cuteness of architecture work, and the real skills of an architect comes into, not in defining the framework, but defining the application of the framework to a specific business strategy.

Gardner: Jason, we mentioned that there is a great deal of variability in what different companies in different regions and in different industries need to accomplish, but one of the common questions I get a lot these days is what to outsource and what to manage internally and how to decide the boundaries between a core competency and extended outsourcing or hybrid computing types of models?

How does the applied architecture come to the rescue, when this sort of question, which I think is fundamental to an enterprise, comes up?

Uppal: That’s a great question. That’s one of the area where if architects do their job well, we can help the organization move much further along. Because, what we do in the business space, and we have done it many times with the framework, is to look at the value chain of the organization. And looking at the value chain, then to map that out to the capabilities required.

Once we know those capabilities, then I can squarely put that question to the executives and say, "Tell me which capability you want to be the best at. Tell me what capability you want to lead the market in. And, tell me which capability you want to be mediocre and just be at below the benchmark in industry."

Once I get an understanding of which capability I want to be the best at, that's where I want to focus my energy.



Once I get an understanding of which capability I want to be the best at, that's where I want to focus my energy. Those ones that I am prepared to live with being mediocre, then I can put another strategy into place and ask how I outsource these things, and focus my outsourcing deal on the cost and service.

This is opposed to having very confused contract with the outsourcer, where one day I'm outsourcing for the cost reasons. The other day, I'm outsourcing for growth reasons. It becomes very difficult for an organization to manage the contracts and bend it to provide the support.

That conversation, at the beginning, is getting executives to commit to which capability they want to be best at. That is a good conversation for an enterprise architect.

My personal experience has been that if I get a call back from the executive, and they say they want to be best at every one of them, then I say, "Well, you really don’t have a clue what you are talking about. You can’t be super fast and super good at every single thing that you do."

Gardner: So making those choices is what’s critical. Some of the confusion I also hear about in the field is how to do a cost-benefit analysis about what processes I might keep internal, versus either hybrid or external source processes?

Is there something about the applied architecture and TOGAF 9 that sets up some system of record or methodology approach that allows that cost-benefit analysis of these situations to be made in advance? Is there anything that the planning process brings to the table in trying to make proper decisions about sourcing?

Capability-based planning

Uppal: Absolutely. This is where the whole of our capability-based planning conversation is. It was introduced in TOGAF 9, and we got more legs to go into developing that concept further, as we learn how best to do some of these things.

When I look at a capability-based planning, I expect my executives to look at it from a point of view and ask what are the opportunities and threats. What it is that you can get out there in the industry, if you have this capability in your back pocket? Don’t worry about how we are going to get it first, let’s decide that it’s worth getting it.

Then, we focus the organization into the long haul and say, well, if we don’t have this capability and nobody in the industry has this capability, if we do have it, what will it do for us? It provides us another view, a long-term view, of the organization. How are we going to focus our attention on the capabilities?

One of the beauties of doing EA is, is that when we start EA at the starting point of a strategic intent, that gives us a good 10-15 year view of what our business is going to be like. When we start architecture at the business strategy level, that gives us a six months to five-year view.

Enterprise architects are very effective at having two views of the world -- a 5-, 10-, or 15-year view of the world, and a 6-month to 3-year view of the world. If we don’t focus on the strategic intent, we'll never know what is possible, and we would always be working on what is possible within our organization, as opposed to thinking of what is possible in the industry as a whole.

Everybody is trying to understand what it is they need to be good at and what it is their partners are very good at that they can leverage.



Gardner: So, in a sense, you have multiple future tracks or trajectories that you can evaluate, but without a framework, without an architectural approach, you would never be able to have that set of choices before you.

Chris Forde, any thoughts on what Jason’s been saying in terms of the sourcing and cost benefits and risks analysis that go into that?

Forde: In the kinds of environment that most organizations are operating in -- government, for-profit, not-for-profit organizations -- everybody is trying to understand what it is they need to be good at and what it is their partners are very good at that they can leverage. Their choices around this are of course critical.

One of the things that you need to consider is that if you are going to give x out and have the power to manage that and operate whatever it is, whatever process it might be, what do you have to be good at in order to make them effective? One of the things you need to be good at is managing third parties.

One of the advanced uses of an EA is applying the architecture to those management processes. In the maturity of things you can see potentially an effective organization managing a number of partners through an architected approach to things. So when we talked about what do advanced users do, what I am offering is that an advanced use of EA is in the application of it to third-party management.

Gardner: So the emphasis is on the process, not necessarily who is executing on that process?

Framework necessary

Forde: Correct, because you need a framework. Think about what most major Fortune 500 companies in the United States do. They have multiple, multiple IT partners for application development and potentially for operations. They split the network out. They split the desktop out. This creates an amazing degree of complexity around multiple contracts. If you have an integrator, that’s great, but how do you manage the integrator?

There’s a whole slew of complex problems. What we've learned over the years is that the original idea of “outsourcing,” or whatever the term that’s going to be used, we tend to think of that in the abstract, as one activity, when in fact it might be anywhere from 5-25 partners. Coordinating that complexity is a major issue for organizations, and taking an architected approach to that problem is an advanced use of EA.

Join The Open Group in Austin, Texas July 18-22 to learn more about enterprise architecture, cloud computing, and TOGAF 9. To register, go to http://www.opengroup.org/austin2011/register.htm.

Gardner: So stated another way, Jason, the process is important, but the management of processes is perhaps your most important core competency. Is that fair, and how does EA support that need for a core competency of managing processes across multiple organizations?

Uppal: That’s absolutely correct. Chris is right. For example, there are two capabilities an organization decided on, one that they wanted to be very, very good at.

We worked with a large concrete manufacturing company in the northern part of the country. If you're a concrete manufacturing company, your biggest cost is the cement. If you can exploit your capability to optimize the cement and substitute products with the chemicals and get the same performance, you can actually get a lot more return and higher margins for the same concrete.

The next thing is the cleverness of the architect -- how he uses his tools to actually define the best possible solutions.



In this organization, the concrete manufacturing process itself was core competency. That had to be kept in-house. The infrastructure is essential to make the concrete, but it wasn’t the core competency of the organization. So those things had to be outsourced.

In this organization we have to build a process -- how to manage the outsourcer and, at the same time, have a capability and a process. Also, how to become best concrete manufacturers. Those two essential capabilities were identified.

An EA framework like TOGAF actually allows you to build both of those capabilities, because it doesn’t care. It just thinks, okay, I have a capability to build, and I am going to give you a set of instructions, the way you do it. The next thing is the cleverness of the architect -- how he uses his tools to actually define the best possible solutions.

Gardner: Of course, it’s not just enough to identify and implement myriad sourcing or complex sourcing activities, but you need to monitor and have an operational governance oversight capability as well. Is there something in TOGAF 9 specifically that lends itself to taking this into the operational and then creating ongoing efficiencies as a result?

Uppal: Absolutely, because this is one of the areas where in ADM, when we get back to our implementation of governance, and post implementation of governance, value realization, how do we actually manage the architecture over the life of it? This is one of the areas where TOGAF 9 has done a considerably good job, and we've still got a long way to go in how we actually monitor and what value is being realized.

Very explicit

Our governance model is very explicit about who does what and when and how you monitor it. We extended this conversation using TOGAF 9 many times. At the end, when the capability is deployed, the initial value statement that was created in the business architecture is given back to the executive who asked for that capability.

We say, "This is what the benefits of these capabilities are and you signed off at the beginning. Now, you're going to find out that you got the capability. We are going to pass this thing into strategic planning next year, because for next year's planning starting point, this is going to be your baseline." So not only is the governance just to make sure it’s via monitoring, but did we actually get the business scores that we anticipated out of it.

Gardner: Another area that’s of great interest to me nowadays is looking at the IT organization as they pursue things like cloud, software as a service (SaaS), and hybrid models. Do they gather a core competency at how to manage these multiple partners, as Chris pointed out, or does another part of the company that may have been dealing with outsourcing at a business process level teach the IT department how to do this?

Any sense from either of our panelists on whether IT becomes a leader or a laggard in how to manage these relationships, and how important is managing the IT element of that in the long run? Let’s start with you, Jason.

Uppal: It depends on the industry the IT is in. For example, if you're an organization that is very engineering focused, engineers have a lot more experience managing outsourcing deals than IT organizations do. In that case, the engineering leads this conversation.

We have actually done cloud before. This is not a new thing, except that before we looked at it from a hosting point of view and from a SaaS point of view.



But in most organizations, which are service-oriented organizations, engineering has not been a primary discipline, and IT has a lot of experience managing outside contracts. In that case, the whole cloud conversation becomes a very effective conversation within the IT organization.

When we think about cloud, we have actually done cloud before. This is not a new thing, except that before we looked at it from a hosting point of view and from a SaaS point of view. Now, cloud is going in a much further extended way, where entire capability is provided to you. That capability is not only that the infrastructure is being used for somebody else, but the entire industry’s knowledge is in that capability.

This is becoming a very popular thing, and rightfully so, not because it’s a sexy thing to have. In healthcare, especially in countries where it’s a socialized healthcare and it's not monopolized, they are sharing this knowledge in the cloud space with all the hospitals. It's becoming a very productive thing, and enterprise architects are driving it, because we're thinking of capabilities, not components.

Gardner: Chris Forde, similar question. How do you see the role of IT shifting or changing as a result of the need to manage more processes across multiple sources?

Forde: It’s an interesting question. I tend to agree with the earlier part of Jason’s response. I am not disagreeing with any of it, actually, but the point that he made about it is that it's a "it depends" answer.

IT interaction

Under normal circumstances the IT organizations are very good at interacting with other technology areas of the business. From what I've seen with the organizations I have dealt with, typically they see slices of business processes, rather than the end-to-end process entirely.

Even within the IT organizations typically, because of the size of many organizations, you have some sort of division of responsibilities. As far as Jason’s emphasis on capabilities and business processes, of course the capabilities and processes transcend functional areas in an organization.

To the extent that a business unit or a business area has a process owner end to end, they may well be better positioned to manage the BPM outsourcing-type of things. If there's a heavy technology orientation around the process outsourcing, then you will see the IT organization being involved to one extent or another.

The real question is, where is the most effective knowledge, skill, and experience around managing these outsourcing capabilities? It may be in the IT organization or it may be in the business unit, but you have to assess where that is.

Under normal circumstances the IT organizations are very good at interacting with other technology areas of the business.



That's one of the functions that the architecture approaches. You need to assess what it is that's going to make you successful in this. If what you need happens to be in the IT organization, then go with that ability. If it is more effective in the business unit, then go with that. And perhaps the answer is that you need to combine or create a new functional organization for the specific purpose of meeting that activity and outsource need.

I'm hedging a little bit, Dana, in saying that it depends.

Gardner: It certainly raises some very interesting issues. At the same time that we're seeing this big question mark around sourcing and how to do that well, we're also in a period where more organizations are being data-driven and looking to have deeper, more accessible, and real-time analytics applied to their business decisions. Just as with sourcing, IT also has an integral role in this, having been perhaps the architects or implementators of warehousing, data marts, and business intelligence (BI).

Back to you Jason. As we enter into a phase where organizations are also trying to measure and get scientific and data-driven about their decisions, how does IT, and more importantly, how does TOGAF and EA come to help them do that?

Uppal: We have a number of experiences like that, Dana. One is a financial services organization. The entire organization’s function is that they manage some 100-plus billion dollars worth of assets. In that kind of organization, all the decision making process is based on the data that they get. And 95 percent of the data is not within the organization. It is vendor data that they're getting from outside.

So in that kind of conversation, we look and say that the organization needs a capability to manage data. Once we define a capability, then we start putting metrics on this thing. What does this capability need to be able to do?

In this particular example, we put a metric on this and said that the data gets identified in the morning, by the afternoon we bring it into the organization, and by the end of the day we get rid of it. That’s how fast the data has to be procured, transformed into the organization, brought it in, and delivered it to end-use. That end-user makes the decision whether we will never look at the data again.

Data capability

H
aving that fast speed of data management capability in the organization, and this is one of the areas where architects can take a look at, this is the capability you need. Now I can give you a roadmap to get to that capability.

Gardner: Chris Forde, how do you see the need for a data-driven enterprise coincide with IT and EA?

Forde: For most, if not all, companies, information and data are critical to their operation and planning activities, both on a day-to-day basis, month-to-month, annually, and in longer time spans. So the information needs of a company are absolutely critical in any architected approach to solutions or value-add type of activities.

I don’t think I would accept the assumption that the IT department is best-placed to understand what those information needs are. The IT organization may be well-placed to provide input into what technologies could be applied to those problems, but if the information needs are normally being applied to business problems, as opposed to technology problems, I would suggest that it is probably the business units that are best-placed to decide what their information needs are and how best to apply them.

The technologist’s role, at least in the model I'm suggesting, is to be supportive in that and deliver the right technology, at the right time, for the right purpose.

Gardner: Then, how would a well-advanced applied architecture methodology and framework help those business units attain their information needs, but also be in a position to exploit IT’s helping hand when needed?

We have good enough frameworks. We're moving to the next phase of what we do with these frameworks.



Forde: It's mostly providing the context to frame the problem in a way that it can be addressed, chunked down to reasonable delivery timeframes, and then marshaling the resources to bring that to reality.

From a pure framework and applied methodology standpoint, if you're coming at it from an idealized situation, you're going to be doing it from a strategic business need and you're going to be talking to the business units about what their capability and functional needs are. And at that time, you're really in the place of what business processes they're dealing with and what information they need in order to accomplish what the particular set of goals is.

This is way in advance of any particular technology choice being made. That's the idealized situation, but that’s typically what most frameworks, and in particular, the TOGAF 9 Framework from The Open Group, would go for.

Gardner: We're just beginning these conversations about advanced concepts in EA and there are going to be quite a bit more offerings and feedback and collaboration around this subject at The Open Group Conference in Austin. Perhaps before we sign off, Jason, you can give us a quick encapsulation of what you will be discussing in terms of your presentation at the conference.

Uppal: One of the things that we've been looking at from the industry’s point of view is saying that this conversation around the frameworks is a done deal now, because everybody accepted that we have good enough frameworks. We're moving to the next phase of what we do with these frameworks.

In our future conferences, we're going to be addressing that and saying what people are specifically doing with these frameworks, not to debate the framework itself, but the application of it.

Continuous planning

I
n Austin we'll be looking at how we're using a TOGAF framework to improve ongoing annual business and IT planning. We have a specific example that we are going to bring out where we looked at an organization that was doing once-a-year planning. That was not a very effective way for the organizations. They wanted to change it to continuous planning, which means planning that happens throughout the year.

We identified four or five very specific measurable goals that the program had, such as accuracy of your plan, business goals being achieved by the plan, time and cost to manage and govern the plan, and stakeholders’ satisfaction. Those are the areas that we are defining as to how the TOGAF like framework will be applied to solve a specific problem like enterprise planning and governance.

That's something we will be bringing to our conference in Austin and that event will be held on a Sunday. In the future, we'll be doing a lot more of those specific applications of a framework like a TOGAF to a unique set of problems that are very tangible and they very quickly resonate with the executives, not in IT, but in the entire organization.

Forde: Can I follow along with a little bit of a plug here, Dana.

Gardner: Certainly.

Forde: Jason is going to be talking as a senior architect on the applied side of TOGAF on this Sunday. For the Monday plenary, this is basically the rundown. We have David Baker, a Principal from PricewaterhouseCoopers, talking about business driven architecture for strategic transformations.

This is a time now for the enterprise architects to really step up to the plate and be accountable for real performance influence on the organization’s bottom line.



Following that, Tim Barnes, the Chief Architect at Devon Energy out of Canada, covering what they are doing from an EA perspective with their organization.

Then, we're going to wrap up the morning with Mike Wolf, the Principal Architect for EA Strategy and Architecture at Microsoft, talking about IT Architecture to the Enterprise Architecture.

This is a very powerful lineup of people addressing this business focus in EA and the application of it for strategic transformations, which I think are issues that many, many organizations are struggling with.

Gardner: Looking at, again, the question I started us off with, how do TOGAF and EA affect the bottom line? We've heard about how it affects the implementation for business transformation processes. We've talked about operational governance. We looked at how sourcing, business process management and implementation, and ongoing refinement are impacted. We also got into data and how analytics and information sharing are affected. Then, as Jason just mentioned, planning and strategy as a core function across a variety of different types of business problems.

So, I don’t think we can in any way say that there's a minor impact on the bottom line from this. Last word to you, Jason.

Uppal: This is a time now for the enterprise architects to really step up to the plate and be accountable for real performance influence on the organization’s bottom line.

If we can improve things like exploiting assets better today than what we have, improve our planning program, and have very measurable and unambiguous performance indicator that we're committing to, this is a huge step forward for enterprise architects and moving away from technology and frameworks to real-time problems that resonate with executives and align to business and in IT.

Gardner: Well, great. You've been listening to a sponsored podcast discussion in conjunction with The Open Group Conference in Austin, Texas, the week of July 18, 2011.

I would like to thank our guests. We have been joined by Chris Forde, Vice President of Enterprise Architecture and Membership Capabilities for The Open Group. Thanks, Chris.

Forde: Thanks, Dana.

Gardner: And also Jason Uppal, Chief Architect at QR Systems. Thank you, Jason.

Uppal: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks for joining, and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor: The Open Group.

Transcript of a sponsored BriefingsDirect podcast, in conjunction with The Open Group Austin 2011 Conference, on advances in enterprise architecture and The Open Group's Architectural Framework use for business benefits. Copyright The Open Group and Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.

Join The Open Group in Austin, Texas July 18-22 to learn more about enterprise architecture, cloud computing, and TOGAF 9. To register, go to http://www.opengroup.org/austin2011/register.htm.

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Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Case Study: T-Mobile's Massive Data Center Transformation Journey Wins Award Using HP ALM Tools

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on how awarding-winning communications company T-Mobile improved application quality, while setting up two new data centers.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.

Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a special BriefingsDirect podcast series coming to you from the HP Discover 2011 conference in Las Vegas. We're here on the Discover show floor the week of June 6 to explore some major enterprise IT solution trends and innovations making news across HP’s ecosystem of customers, partners, and developers.

I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and I'll be your host throughout this series of HP-sponsored Discover live discussions.

Our latest user case study focuses on an award-wining migration and transformation and a grand-scale data center transition for T-Mobile. I was really impressed with the scope and size and the amount of time -- in terms of being short -- for you all to do this.

We're here with two folks who are going to tell us more about what T-Mobile has done to set up two data centers, and how in the process they have improved their application quality and the processes behind their application lifecycle management (ALM). [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

So join me in welcoming Michael Cooper, Senior Director of Enterprise IT Quality Assurance at T-Mobile. Welcome, Michael.

Michael Cooper: Thank you.

Gardner: We're also here with Kirthy Chennaian, Director Enterprise IT Quality Management at T-Mobile. Welcome.

Kirthy Chennaian: Thank you. It's a pleasure.

Gardner: People don’t just do these sorts of massive, hundred million dollar-plus activities because it's nice to have. This must have been something that was really essential for you.

Cooper: Absolutely. There are some definite business drivers behind setting up a world-class, green data center and then a separate disaster-recovery data center. Just for a little bit of a clarification. The award that we won is primarily focused on the testing effort and the quality assurance (QA) effort that went into that.

Gardner: Kirthy, tell me why you decided to undertake both an application transformation as well as a data center transformation -- almost simultaneously?

Chennaian: Given the scope and complexity of the initiative, ensuring system availability was primarily the major driver behind this. QA plays a significant role in ensuring that both data centers were migrated simultaneously, that the applications were available in real-time, and that from a quality assurance and testing standpoint we had to meet time-frames and timelines.

Gardner: Let's get a sense of the scope. First and foremost, Michael, tell me about T-Mobile and its stature nowadays.

Significant company

Cooper: T-Mobile is a national provider of voice, data, and messaging services. Right now, we're the fourth largest carrier in the US and have about 33 million customers and $21 billion in revenue, actually a little bit more than that. So, it's a significant company.

We're a company that’s really focused on our customers, and we've gone through an IT modernization. The data center efforts were a big part of that IT modernization, in addition to modernizing our application platform.

Gardner: Let's also talk about the scope of your movement to a new data center, and then we can get into the application transformation parts of that. In a nutshell, what did we do here? It sounds like we've set up two modern data centers, and then migrated your apps and data from an older one into those.

Chennaian: Two world-class data centers, as Michael had pointed out. One in Wenatchee, Washington and the other one is Tempe, Arizona. The primary data center is the one in Wenatchee, and the failover disaster-recovery data center is in Tempe, Arizona.

Cooper: What we were doing was migrating more than 175 Tier 1 applications and Tier 0, and some Tier 2 as well. It was a significant effort requiring quite a bit of planning, and the HP tools had a big part in that, especially in the QA realm.

Gardner: Now, were these customer-facing apps, internal apps, logistics? Are we talking about retail? Give me a sense of the scope here on the breadth and depth of your apps?

Chennaian: Significant. We're talking critical applications that are customer-facing. We're talking enterprise applications that span across the entire organization. And, we're also talking about applications that support these critical front-end applications. So, as Michael pointed out, 175 applications needed to be migrated across both of the data centers.

For example, moving T-Mobile.com, which is a customer-facing critical application, ensuring that it was transitioned seamlessly and was available to the customer in real-time was probably one of the key examples of the criticality behind ensuring QA for this effort.

Gardner: IT is critical for almost all companies nowadays, but I can't imagine a company where technology is more essential and critical than T-Mobile as a data and services carrier.

What's the case with the customer response? Do you have any business metrics, now that you’ve gone through this, that demonstrate not just that you're able to get better efficiency and your employees are getting better response times from their apps and data, but is there like a tangible business benefit, Michael?

Near-perfect availability

Cooper: I can't give you the exact specifics, but we've had significant increases in our system up-time and almost near-perfect availability in most areas. That’s been the biggest thing.

Kirthy mentioned T-Mobile.com. That’s an example where, instead of the primary and the backup, we actually have an active-active situation in the data center. So, if one goes down the other one is there, and this is significant.

A significant part of the way that we used HP tools in this process was not only the functional testing with Quick Test Professional and Quality Center, but we also did the performance testing with Performance Center and found some very significant issues that would have gone on to production.

This is a unique situation, because we actually got to do the performance testing live in the performance environments. We had to scale up to real performance types of loads and found some real issues that -- instead of the customers facing them, they didn’t have to face them.

The other thing that we did that was unique was high-availability testing. We tested each server to make sure that if one went down, the other ones were stable and could support our customers.

We were able to deliver application availability, ensure a timeframe for the migration and leverage the ability to use automation tools.



Gardner: Now, this was a case where not only were you migrating apps, but you were able to go in and make sure that they were going to perform well within this in new environment. As you pointed out, Michael, you were able to find some issues in those apps in the transition, and at the same time simultaneously you upgraded to the more recent refreshes of the HP products to do that.

So, this was literally changing the wings on the airplane when it was still flying. Tell me why doing it all at once was a good thing.

Chennaian: It was the fact that we were able to leverage the additional functionality that the HP suite of products provide. We were able to deliver application availability, ensure a time-frame for the migration and leverage the ability to use automation tools that HP provides. With Quick Test Professional, for example, we migrated from version 9.5 to 10.0, and we were able to leverage the functionality with business process testing from a Quality Center standpoint.

As a whole, from an application lifecycle management and from an enterprise-wide QA and testing standpoint, it allowed us to ensure system availability and QA on a timely basis. So, it made sense to upgrade as we were undergoing this transformation.

Cooper: Good point, Kirthy. In addition to upgrading our tools and so forth, we also upgraded many of the servers to some of the latest Itanium technology. We also implemented a lot of the state-of-the-art virtualization services offered by HP, and some of the other partners as well.

Streamlined process

Using HP tools, we were able to create a regression test set for each of our Tier 1 applications in a standard way and a performance test for each one of the applications. So, we were able to streamline our whole QA process as a side-benefit of the data migration, building out these state-of-the-art data centers, and IT modernization.

Gardner: So, this really affected operations. You changed some platforms, you adopted the higher levels of virtualization, you're injecting quality into your apps, and you're moving them into an entirely new facility. That's very impressive, but it's not just me being impressed. You've won a People's Choice Award, voted by peers of the HP software community and their Customer Advisory Board. That must have felt pretty good.

Cooper: It feels excellent. In 2009, we won the IT Transformation Award. So, this isn't our first time to the party. That was for a different project. I think that in the community people know who we are and what we're capable of. It's really an honor that the people who are our peers, who read over the different submissions, decided that we were the ones that were at the top.

Gardner: And I hear that you've won some other awards as well.

Cooper: We've won lots of awards, but that's not what we do it for. The reason why we do the awards is for the team. It's a big morale builder for the team. Everybody is working hard. Some of these project people work night and day to get them done, and the proof of the pudding is the recognition by the industry.

Our CIO has a high belief in quality and really supports us in doing this. It's nice that we've got the industry recognition as well.



Honestly, we also couldn't do without great executive support. Our CIO has a high belief in quality and really supports us in doing this. It's nice that we've got the industry recognition as well.

Gardner: Of course, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. You've got some metrics here. They were pretty impressive in turns of availability, cost savings, reduction in execution time, performance and stability improvements, and higher systems availability.

Give me a sense, from an IT perspective, if you were to go to some other organization, not in the carrier business, of course, and tell them what this really did for you, performance and in the metrics that count to IT, what would you tell them?

Cooper: The metrics I can speak to are from the QA perspective. We were able to do the testing and we never missed one of the testing deadlines. We cut our testing time using HP tools by about 50 percent through automation, and we can pretty accurately measure that. We probably have about 30 percent savings in the testing, but the best part of it is the availability. But, because of the sensitive nature and competitive marketplace, we're not going to talk exactly about what our availability is.

Gardner: And how about your particular point of pride on this one, Kirthy?

Chennaian: For one, being able to get recognized is an acknowledgement of all the work you do, and for your organization as a whole. Mike rightly pointed out that it boosts the morale of the organization. It also enables you to perform at a higher level. So, it's definitely a significant acknowledgment, and I'm very excited that we actually won the People's Choice Award.

Gardner: A number of other organizations and other series of industries are going to be facing the same kind of a situation, where it's not just going to be a slow, iterative improvement process,. They're going to have to go catalytic and make wholesale changes in the data center, looking for that efficiency benefit.

You've done that. You've improved on your QA and applications lifecycle benefits at the same time. With that 20-20 hindsight, what would you have done differently, or at least what could you advise people who are going to face a similar large, complex, and multifaceted undertaking?

Planning and strategy

Chennaian: If I were to do this again, I think there is definitely a significant opportunity with respect to planning and investing in the overall strategy of QA and testing for such a significant transformation. There has to be a standard methodology. You have to have the right toolsets in place. You have to plan for the entire transformation as a whole. Those are significant elements in successful transformation.

Gardner: Monday morning quarterback for you, Michael?

Cooper: We did a lot of things right. One of the things that we did right was to augment our team. We didn’t try to do the ongoing work with the exact same team. We brought in some extra specialists to work with us or to back-fill in some places. Other groups didn’t and paid the price, but that part worked out for us.

Also, it helped to have a seat at the table and say, "It's great to do a technology upgrade, but unless we really have the customer point of view and focus on the quality, you're not going to have success."

We were lucky enough to have that executive support and the seat at the table, to really have the go/no-go decisions. I don't think we really missed one in terms of ones that we said, "We shouldn't do it this time. Let's do it next time." Or, ones where we said, "Let's go." I can't remember even one application we had to roll back. Overall, it was very good. The other thing is, work with the right tools and the right partners.

Gardner: With data center transformation, after all, it's all about the apps. You were able to maintain that focus. You didn’t lose focus of the apps?

It's great to do a technology upgrade, but unless we really have the customer point of view and focus on the quality, you're not going to have success.



Cooper: Definitely.The applications do a couple of things. One, the ones that support the customers directly. Those have to have really high availability, and we're able to speed them up quite a bit with the newest and the latest hardware.

The other part are the apps that people don't think about that much, which are the ones that support the front lines, the ones that support retail and customer care and so forth. I would say that our business customers or internal customers have also really benefited from this project.

Gardner: Well great. We've been talking about a massive undertaking with data center transformation and application QA and lifecycle improvements and the result was a People's Choice Award won here at the Discover Show in Las Vegas. It's T-Mobile, the winner. We've been talking with their representatives here. Michael Cooper, the Senior Director of Enterprise IT Quality Assurance. Thanks again, Michael.

Cooper: Thank you, and we're very proud of the team.

Gardner: We are also here with Kirthy Chennaian, the Director of Enterprise IT Quality Management at T-Mobile. Thanks.

Chennaian: Thank you. Very excited to be here.

Gardner: And thanks to our audience for joining this special BriefingsDirect podcast coming to you from the HP Discover 2011 Conference. I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host for this series of User Experience Discussions. Thanks again for listening, and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on how awarding-winning communications company T-Mobile improved application quality, while setting up two data centers. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.

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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Discover Case Study: How Cardinal Health Uses SaaS Tools to Improve ALM, Quality, Development Productivity

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on the experience of Cardinal Health in using software-as-a-service tools from HP to develop and test applications.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.

Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a special BriefingsDirect podcast series coming to you from the HP Discover 2011 conference in Las Vegas. We're here on the Discover show floor the week of June 6 to explore some major enterprise IT solution trends and innovations making news across HP’s ecosystem of customers, partners, and developers.

I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and I'll be your host throughout this series of HP-sponsored Discover live discussions.

We're now going to look at how software as a service (SaaS) is impacting the application lifecycle through the experience of Cardinal Health. I'm here with Don Jackson, a Senior Engineer in the Testing Center of Excellence within the Performance Engineering Group at Cardinal Health, in Dublin, Ohio. Welcome to the show, Don. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Don Jackson: Thanks for having me.

Gardner: Tell me, from a high-level perspective, why SaaS is appealing to you. Just on general terms, why SaaS, even for applications or in development-testing? What makes it appealing to you?

Jackson: SaaS is a service offering, not just for testing and for development, but as a simple service offering, that allows us to focus on our primary core competencies and on what our clients and customers need, rather than focusing on trying to learn how to handle this particular application that we may have purchased from a vendor like HP. So, we can really focus on those core competencies. [View the slides from Don's HP Discover presentation on Fundamentals of Testing.]

Gardner: And you haven't had any complaints about things like security, performance, or latency. It all it seems work for you?

Jackson: There are some trade-offs, obviously, that you're going to have from a security standpoint, and the HP guys can tell you about this as well. They can go through all the details, but we did go through their security documentation to make sure that it was adequate for what we needed.

If there are compliance issues that you have to take into account, they’ll work with you. It's a very secure environment. So, we were pleasantly surprised when we started looking at that.

Gardner: Before we dig more deeply into how you're doing SaaS and how you've gone involved with it, tell me a bit about Cardinal Health, what kind of organization you are, and maybe even some details about your IT organization.

Industry leader

Jackson: At Cardinal Health, our slogan is "Essential to Healthcare." We want to be a healthcare industry leader providing a diverse, inclusive work environment that reflects the marketplace and communities where we do business, while maximizing our competitive advantage through innovation, profit, and adaptability.

Some facts about Cardinal Health: we’ve got 32,000-plus employees. We are number 17 on the Fortune 500 list. So, we're a very large company. The latest estimate that I saw on our public website cardinalhealth.com was that we'll do about $100 billion in revenue this fiscal year. Our fiscal year ends in June, so we're pretty confident at this point that we're going to hit that number. We deliver to 60,000 different healthcare sites each day.

Think about the healthcare industry. If you go into a hospital say, all the different products that you might consume or use or may be used upon you, whether you're having a procedure done or whatever, that could have been manufactured, developed, or just distributed with some of our suppliers through Cardinal Health.

For example, half of all surgeries in the United States last year, used at least one product of ours. We deliver more than 25 percent of all medications prescribed in the US each day. That’s just to give you a rough example.

Gardner: I certainly can appreciate that the need for scale is there. Tell me about the IT support now and your role in making sure these applications are performing and are safe and reliable. What kind of scale are you dealing with?

Half of all surgeries in the United States last year used at least one product of ours. We deliver more than 25 percent of all medications prescribed in the US each day.



Jackson: We work very tightly with our business analyst community. Our group specifically doesn’t actually interface directly with our customers, but we interface very closely with our business analysts to generate requirements both from the functional and non-functional.

Our group specifically, focuses on non-functional in the performance engineer realm to establish good service level agreements (SLAs) beforehand. On the HP website, there is a webinar that I did for them a year ago, where we talk about back to basics for performance engineering and focusing on planning.

If you don't plan right, your chances of success are very minimal even in a performance realm, and you end up not meeting what the customer or your client needs. Whereas, when you work with them and develop a good non-functional requirements you have the opportunity to deliver really what they need and want instead of what they think they want.

Gardner: Tell me a little bit about first, your experience with HP products, and then second, your experience in moving into SaaS delivery?

Y2K testing

Jackson: I was a former Mercury customer way back in the day. I started in 1997 working on the HP products -- Mercury products back then. I worked on WinRunner 2000, when we're all doing Y2K testing which was an absolute joy -- if you'll pardon the sarcasm -- as you all remember Y2K was for IT folks. It was a lot of work.

It's funny how the general public thinks it was just a big sham because nothing happened. Well, that's because of a lot of IT professionals spent a lot of man-years effort to make it so that that happened.

I've used the functional testing products, functional automation. When I moved into Cardinal, there was a recognized gap. Our network engineers did our performance testing, and network engineering's focus wasn't what we thought it needed to be. So, we took that over and started doing that. With that also came a relationship that we already had with HP's SaaS organization, back when it was called ActiveWatch.

I don't know if you remember that, but ActiveWatch was what today is business process monitoring through a hosted service. I took that over back in late 2002 or early 2003. And initially my reaction was probably what a lot of people listening to this reaction would be when they think about SaaS. What can I do and how quickly can I bring it in-house? That was my initial reaction, and I had a very wise manager at the time. He said, "Just give it six months before you do it." He told me to get myself familiar with it and go from there.

So, I spent six months and I just kind let it be how it was and I got to work with our technical account manager at the time. It became a situation where not only did I feel that it was valuable to keep it that way, but I started realizing that I was able to focus on our core competencies.

Do I have FDA validation concerns? Do I have to put this into a validated environment? Do I have HIPAA compliance concerns? Do I have SaaS compliance concerns?



We went from just having BSM through SaaS. I'm trying to use the current HP acronyms, because they like to change names on us. At the time, it was just BSM that we had through SaaS. Now, we've Quality Center through SaaS, BSM through SaaS, and Performance Center through SaaS.

I spoke here at the conference about how leveraging SaaS, not only can we focus on our core competencies, but time to market is a huge benefit. [View the slides from Don's HP Discover presentation on Fundamentals of Testing.]

When you look at a healthcare industry, you have to look at new applications when you stand them up. Do I have FDA validation concerns? Do I have to put this into a validated environment? Do I have HIPAA compliance concerns? Do I have SaaS compliance concerns? All that kind of stuff.

It's almost at a turnkey level when you work with SaaS, assuming that you've established a good relationship with your sales staff and your client account manager. We were able to stand up Performance Center, which is an enterprise application, in one week. From the time we signed the deal until the time we were live, executing performance tests, was one week, and I think that's very powerful.

Gardner: And of course, upgrades, patches, these things also happen rapidly and without too much thought on your part?

Jackson: Absolutely. I'm sure no one has ever experienced any problems with any upgrades at all because it's such a seamless and easy way to do it.

Another layer of testing

T
he SaaS organization takes another layer of testing that they do before they even recommend to us that we should start looking at it and potentially upgrade. The SaaS guys work with us very closely, for example, with ALM 11. It's a radical shift from the Performance Center, Quality Center days. It really is, and we're still not on ALM 11. We've chosen that because we want to make sure that it's ready and do our due diligence to make sure that it's ready.

The SaaS organization is doing a lot of testing on it right now to make sure that in a multi-tenant environment it will perform and function the way that we need it to. Once they feel it's ready then they are going to provide a testing environment for us, so that we can do our own testing in-house to make sure it's ready.

All of that stuff, all of that set up, all that conversion is done by them. I don't have to worry about it. I'll have to go through the plan. From my perspective, once they feel it's ready, then we do some testing, and I can scale back the level of testing that I have to do, because a lot of that's already been covered by them, and off we go.

A great example – we upgraded point releases of BSM, when we went from 7.5 to 7.51 to 7.52 and 7.55. I got a notification from them that they were putting in this point release and I wasn't going to have any downtime. I came in Monday morning, and instead of 7.51, it now said 7.55.

That's really powerful, and that goes back to my core competencies. I don't have to focus or be concerned about that. I can let the guys who are specialists and really know in-depth the HP tools, which would be HP, focus on that, and I can focus on what my customers' or clients' need.

SaaS is a type of cloud. It's now new. We're just calling it "cloud."



Gardner: This is probably a question for an enterprise architect, but I'll ask you, given your depth of experience and your trust and results from SaaS. We're hearing a lot about cloud and we're hearing a lot about moving toward dev-ops. Do you think that what work you've done, the experience you've established, would lead to an easier path for you to do more SaaS and perhaps even start using private or hybrid clouds for operations and deployment?

Jackson: It's definitely something that our CIO has been talking about. Let's be honest, SaaS is a type of cloud. It really is a type of cloud. It's now new. We're just calling it "cloud." It's another one of those marketing terms. But, cloud is a huge thing.

Vendors, come in and talk about different capabilities, not just HP but other vendors obviously. We're a big company and we deal with a lot of vendors. We typically will ask them, can this be implemented through SaaS or through a cloud model?

Once again, for the same reasons, you're the expert in your tool. You know your tool. If we think it can bring value to us, let's work on that value realization instead of us trying to become an expert in your tool.

Gardner: Well great. We've been hearing about Cardinal Health and their vision and use of SaaS in the application requirements and development, deployment and test phases, and it sounds like perhaps this is a harbinger of more SaaS and cloud activities for them.

I want to thank our guest, we've been joined by Don Jackson. He is Senior Engineer in the Testing Center for Excellence in the Performance Engineering Group at Cardinal Health. Thanks so much, Don.

Jackson: Thank you again, it was a pleasure. [View the slides from Don's HP Discover presentation on Fundamentals of Testing.]

Gardner: And, I also want to thank our audience for joining this special BriefingsDirect podcast coming to you from the HP Discover 2011 Conference in Las Vegas. I'm Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host for this series of User Experience Discussions. Thanks again for listening, and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Download the transcript. Sponsor: HP.

Transcript of a BriefingsDirect podcast on the experience of Cardinal Health in using software-as-a-service tools from HP to develop and test applications. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.

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