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Specsavers keeps a closer eye on faulty critical apps with HP management tools

Matthew Finnegan | Oct. 11, 2013
ALM tools help the UK-based optical retailer improve its supply chain and retail apps

Optical retailer Specsavers has rolled out application lifecycle management tools to improve the quality of its software, after code defects in its business critical applications made it difficult for the firm to trade.

Two of the main applications used by Specsavers are a customer relationship management tool which handles appointment booking, eye-test result logging and payments for its 1,700 UK stores, and a supply chain application which covers warehouse management and services such as glazing and lens polishing. Both systems are in-house built, Java-based applications.

Software updates and code testing are conducted by four outsourced dev and test teams based in the UK and India. However due to different testing standards being used across the company, Specsavers encountered problems with the quality of code being used in its business-critical applications, with many defects being found.

This impacted on the performance of its central applications, according to Jason Taylor, director of IT applications and quality at Specsavers.

"Some of the previous defects made it more difficult for us to trade," he said.

In order to improve the quality of code and reduce the time it took to produce testing reports, Specsavers implemented HP's Agile Manager and Application Lifecycle Management work-tracking tools to provide a consistent view of software releases.

Since using the tools Specsavers has seen a number of improvements in its dev and test process. This includes reducing the time taken to produce accurate reports from three hours to 10 minute, while the time from test creation to execution has been halved.

The Application Lifecycle Intelligence tool, has also helped deliver a 30 percent improvement in defect tracking, Taylor claimed.

"Our software testing standards used to vary widely across the company, allowing too many defects to reach live applications," he said. "HP has enabled us to establish standards and processes across the application lifecycle to ensure consistently high quality."

He continued: "Centralising a multitude of diverse capabilities has raised the robustness and quality of testing and improved collaboration. We are finding and eliminating more defects, and IT projects are much better quality when they go live."

Specsavers serves some 17.3 million customers, and has operations in other countries throughout Europe such as Finland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Spain, as well as New Zealand and Australia.

 

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