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Capgemini’s Testing Practice Continues Development of IPs, Increases Focus on Cross-Client Delivery

NelsonHall recently spent two weeks in India, focusing on latest developments in software testing and digital transformation services. We met with Capgemini Group’s Testing Global Service Line (TGSL), the group’s software testing practice (across Capgemini and Sogeti) and discussed key topics including its push towards cross-client shared service centers, and IP development (with the recent launch of OneShare and the re-launch of LIVE).

Cross-Client Delivery Centers

Cost savings remain high on the software testing agenda. TGSL (along with other units within Capgemini Group) is therefore emphasizing its industrialized managed test centers (IMTCs). IMTCs aim to further optimize personnel allocation across clients; they go beyond the traditional performance testing activities that are typically shared across clients, to functional and regression testing. To do so, TGSL is creating ‘clusters’ of capabilities around key themes, e.g. SAP application testing. Those clusters group personnel within one delivery center, which are then available on a core-flex model. Clusters require a size of 50 to 100 personnel.

TGSL is currently rolling out the service to existing and new clients, taking into consideration that certain verticals, e.g. financial services, still prefer to have named personnel to conduct their testing activities. Looking ahead, TGSL wants to move current clients to a service catalog, something it is doing as part of continuous improvement and renewal discussions.

IPs and Tools: Automation Beyond Test Execution

Like most advanced vendors in the software testing industry, Capgemini Group has developed a systematic approach to IPs and tools; the company has historically taken a project-initiated, bottom-up approach to re-use specific artifacts across clients. Additionally, the practice conducts annual discussions with clients to identify IP needs. Finally, the testing unit has an innovation award each year for rewarding key IPs. Within IPs, a key trend has been to expand automation from test execution to earlier in the SDLC. Examples of such approaches include LIVE and OneShare.

TGSL re-launched its former TMMC tool as LIVE, a near real-time reporting tool with drill-down and data visualization capabilities. TGSL has worked on integrating it with most testing tool COTS and open source software to make its source of data comprehensive. This includes:

  • Requirement management (based on integration with HP QC and ITSM tools)
  • Incident and ticket management (based on integration with ITSM tools)
  • Demand management (open source tools)
  • Defect tracking (JIRA).

LIVE therefore aims to track a number of KPIs (e.g. test coverage, test failure, test defects), but also the availability of test data and test environments, depending on client needs.

TGSL has LIVE deployed with two clients and is currently active in 25 pilots. A large Oceania bank used LIVE for tracking usage and availability of ~200 testing environments, and eventually managing availability of such environments.

The practice sells this IP as part of the service but will bill implementation service and, if required, perpetual licenses of COTS used by LIVE.

In its roadmap, TGSL is investing in developing the analytics capabilities of LIVE. An example of such future features is analyzing usage of testing COTS (for license optimization purposes, for instance).

Another recent IP is OneShare, launched in October 2014. While LIVE gathers and analyzes operational data, OneShare is a test automation tool that has several elements, all based on Microsoft technologies (Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2013-TFS, Office 365 and Windows Azure). Those elements include test environment provisioning and management, service virtualization and test data management, and are provided through three options:

  • Test environment provisioning: through self-service and also bundled with HP Software tools and services. It is based on Sogeti’s TMap testing methodology. The service is pay-per-use
  • Application Lifecycle Management: includes deployment and management of applications on Azure, using HP ALM software products
  • DevOps: a continuous integration service, including application release management and using configuration database templates and desired state configuration.

TGSL has created what it calls ‘infrastructure library templates’, i.e. pre-set instructions to create PaaS services (e.g. a set of IaaS and/or PaaS configurations for automated provisioning and management). Another example of a template is the ability to copy and deploy test IT infrastructures or move applications between development and test environments in real-time and online.

A client example is an Ireland-based retailer for which TGSL is providing testing services under a flex team approach of 15 core personnel and 30 as flex. The client has purchased from TGSL 20 concurrent user licenses of HP ALM tools and has the option for additional concurrent users on a pay-per-use model.

TGSL has initiated OneShare development on Microsoft Azure, to take advantage of its Microsoft cloud partnership as well as from specific agile development and testing tools, e.g. TFS. The practice intends to expand OneShare to Amazon Web Services and IBM Softlayer. It is also aiming to expand the offering towards service virtualization and security testing.

NelsonHall Perspective

In terms of IPs, the world has changed from testing frameworks and point automation tools, and from test execution towards overarching tools, aiming to automate the full testing life cycle (and not just test execution). Such overarching tools have a different purpose: to integrate technologies, as opposed to solving a specific pain point. The approach can be compared to a consulting firm working on a full business process as opposed to automating a single task: the two approaches have their own merits, and can be complementary if the consulting firm works on both fronts. This is true for testing automation: full processes need to be automated as well as specific pain points identified and addressed. This is the approach of OneShare.

LIVE brings a different angle by focusing on analytics and gaining intelligence on testing operations. TGSL has completed the first phase, largely through data gathering and analytics. The next step is to provide recommendations to clients. And of course, given the evolving nature of testing and analytics, TGSL will have to maintain its investment.

Finally, TGSL’s focus on cross-client shared services is unusual beyond non-functional testing (as Capgemini TGSL offers its clients the choice between using a client-dedicated testing approach and the cross-client shared service). Historically, offshore vendors have favored client-dedicated personnel for their clients and only those vendors with an onshore background have systematically focused on a flex approach. It is therefore interesting to see that TGSL, a testing practice now with the majority of its personnel in India, promoting this approach in an effort to combine best practices from the two worlds (offshore and onshore). The level of client adoption will determine whether this approach will have niche acceptance or wider appeal. For example, traditional reluctance from financial services may be an inhibitor, though further need for cost savings by large BFSI firms may overcome this barrier.

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