The Xerox India Development Center (IDC) writes software for customers all over the world, including many Xerox groups. The geographical distance between IDC and its customers and the lack of modern development tools made it difficult for IDC
developers to deliver quality code and fix problems quickly. IDC upgraded to Microsoft Visual Studio Ultimate 2012 and Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012 to gain a modern development platform. It then upgraded to Windows Server 2012 and Microsoft System
Center 2012 Service Pack 1 to virtualize and replicate production environments and integrate workload monitoring with development tools. The result has been a dramatic improvement in developer efficiency, software quality, and problem resolution times. Because
developers are happier, staff attrition has dropped from 29 percent to 10 percent in two years.
Headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut, Xerox offers business process outsourcing and IT outsourcing services, including data processing, healthcare solutions, HR benefits management, finance support, transportation solutions, and customer relationship
management services for commercial and government organizations worldwide. The 140,000 people of Xerox serve clients in more than 160 countries.
||By using System Center 2012 SP1, our developers are far more effective and can get more done. This is improving efficiency and productivity by approximately 40 percent.
| Ashley Vail
Director of Engineering, India Development Center, Xerox
The Xerox India Development Center (IDC) has approximately 450 IT professionals that support software development, quality assurance, project management, and operations support for customers predominately in the United States, including many internal Xerox
customers. This geographic distance sometimes caused a communications gap between IDC and its customers.
The distance also caused problems between IDC and the US-based Xerox IT operations team that hosted the production applications that IDC developed and supported. “Because IDC developers had no visibility into these production systems, they spent hours and
sometimes days searching for code bugs,” says Muthukumaran Kandallu, Technical Project Manager at the Xerox India Development Center. “This slow response gave IDC a bad reputation with US colleagues and even jeopardized our future as a Xerox development organization.”
The problem culminated when the Xerox corporate payroll application, developed and maintained by IDC, failed under the stress of thousands of Xerox employees accessing it at once. The problem was caused by a single failed stored procedure, but it took the
IDC team several hours to identify the errant code and repair it. “This application had a great deal of visibility within Xerox, and its failure brought a lot of bad attention to IDC,” says Ashley Vail, Director of Engineering at the Xerox India Development
Center. “It also emphasized the need to improve our development platform. Our employees were doing a heroic job of addressing problems by sheer talent and hard work, but they simply did not have the tools they needed to succeed. The software development business
is very competitive, even within Xerox. We have to be at the top of our game or we lose business to other development groups.”
Also, software development lifecycles continue to shrink, from an average of one year just a few years ago to about five months today, and IDC developers needed to work ever faster without sacrificing quality. This, too, required tools that developers could
learn quickly and be productive with immediately.
In August 2011, IDC deployed the Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate development system and Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 as its development environment. IDC liked the new integrated development environment (IDE) from Microsoft
for all aspects of software development and application lifecycle management. “With this solution, IDC teams could store project information in a unified repository and manage database development more efficiently,” says Prasad Thiruneelakandan, Infrastructure
Manager at the Xerox India Development Center. IDC achieved a 30 percent reduction in costs by retiring other development tools and also increased developer productivity by 40 percent by using the IDE.
While the new development tools provided huge benefits, there were still unsolved problems. “We still had a communication gap between our developers and our client project owners,” explains Raman Padmanabhan, Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer
for Commercial Business Process Outsourcing at Xerox Commercial Solutions. “We were getting requirements and feedback through email and using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets to report on the backlog, but they were quickly outdated.”
Upgrade Development Tools
||The software development business is very competitive, even within Xerox. We have to be at the top of our game or we lose business to other development groups.
| Ashley Vail
Director of Engineering, India Development Center, Xerox
In early 2012, Xerox upgraded to Microsoft Visual Studio Ultimate 2012 and Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012 to further improve developer communication. By using Team Foundation Server 2012, the Xerox IDC development team can communicate much
more easily with customers and US colleagues. The project owner now manages the backlog and item prioritization directly within Team Foundation Server. Requirements are attached to work items on the backlog, so stakeholders can easily access them during the
application development process. Developers have access to the requirements when writing the code, testers can develop a better set of tests, and project managers can access the requirements when assessing feedback from the project owner.
Replicate Production Environment
A key piece of the development platform was still missing: a way to replicate the US-based production environment to India so that IDC developers had near real-time visibility into the problems they were fixing. IDC used the Hyper-V technology in the
Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system to virtualize this production environment. It also deployed Microsoft System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2 and used that software to provision virtual machines and perform rudimentary monitoring.
In 2012, IDC upgraded to the Windows Server 2012 Datacenter operating system and to Microsoft System Center 2012, implemented the key components of the Microsoft cloud operating system, and created a private cloud at IDC. With its private cloud, IDC had
a fluid pool of virtualized compute, storage, and networking resources that developers could use to flexibly create development and test resources when needed.
Windows Server 2012 includes Hyper-V Replica, a feature that provides asynchronous replication of virtual machines between storage systems, clusters, and data centers over two sites. This enabled IDC to replicate the US-based production workload to the IDC
data center for faster testing and problem solving. “As soon as an application build is released, our testers can do everything they need to in the replicated environment, including automation, load, and regression testing,” says Kiran Kumar, Program Manager
at the Xerox India Development Center.
Integrate Development and IT Operations for DevOps Efficiency, Agility
The situation improved further for IDC when Microsoft released System Center 2012 Service Pack 1 (SP1). This service pack includes the ability to integrate the Operations Manager component of System Center 2012 with Team Foundation Server and Visual
Studio. Providing software linkage between development and IT operations teams is known in the industry as DevOps and both eliminates walls between these two organizations and delivers more agility to the business. The DevOps linkage between System Center
and Team Foundation Server enables deep troubleshooting and provides greater efficiency between development and IT operations teams at Xerox.
“The DevOps integration between System Center and Team Foundation Server is huge for us,” says Padmanabhan. “Our India developers now have access to the production environment, and they have a better way to communicate with US team members by using Team
IDC uses System Center 2012 to create a virtual machine, replicate the latest build of an application, and preview it under a heavy user load in a test environment. “Developers can now debug applications by collecting IntelliTrace snapshots directly from
Operations Manager and have them automatically attached to Team Foundation Server work items,” says Kandallu. “They also have real-time visibility into the health of the Team Foundation Server development environment from within Operations Manager.”
By adopting Windows Server 2012, System Center 2012, Visual Studio 2012, and Team Foundation Server 2012, Xerox IDC greatly improved its developer staff efficiency and software quality. Xerox saves money because developers are more productive and flexible.
As a result of DevOps efficiencies, developers are happier—IDC employee attrition has dropped from 29 percent to less than 10 percent in the last two years.
Improve Software Quality and Division Reputation
||The capabilities that we have gained are ones that developers and development managers dream about.
| Raman Padmanabhan
Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer, Commercial Business Process Outsourcing, Xerox Commercial Solutions
By giving IDC developers the right tools, Xerox has dramatically improved both the efficiency of its staff and the quality of its code. “More than the time savings that these tools deliver is the fact that they restored our reputation,” says Vail. “All
Xerox engineering divisions are competing against one another for business. If we produce software that is not of the highest quality, we lose business and even face elimination. We have to be able to demonstrate that our software works well, is scalable,
and can perform under high loads. All these accomplishments require the latest platforms, which we now have in Microsoft cloud software.”
Adds Padmanabhan, “It’s a huge win for IDC to show that the problems we faced were not the fault of our people but our systems. We have great people, and now we have great systems to support them. A year ago, the entire IDC organization took a reputational
hit because of a single failed stored procedure. With System Center 2012 SP1, we are no longer dependent on heroes to solve problems. Our systems tell us exactly where code problems such as stored procedures are and the specific lines of code that are causing
The improvements at IDC have been so marked that other development teams across Xerox are looking into Microsoft private cloud software. “The capabilities that we have gained are ones that developers and development managers dream about,” Padmanabhan says.
“Our chief information officer is looking to extend IDC tools and practices across the company.”
Enhance Developer Productivity Through Greater Flexibility
IDC is solving development problems faster, but Vail says that this time savings pales compared to the savings that Xerox is reaping in resource usage. With a flexible, powerful, easy-to-use development and test environment, developers can come up to
speed quickly on new projects and work on multiple projects simultaneously with greater efficiency.
“The outsourcing business moves too fast to have developer resources dedicated to a single project,” says Vail. “We want our developers to be able to work across multiple development projects and sites with ease. By using System Center 2012 SP1, our developers
are far more effective and can get more done. This is improving efficiency and productivity by approximately 40 percent.”
With a more powerful development environment, Xerox can also better meet customer requirements for shorter development cycles. IDC developers now have the tools they need to dramatically accelerate the ever-shrinking write-test-debug cycle.
Significantly Reduce Staff Attrition
Because India is a major outsourcing center, competition for developer talent is fierce. Having state-of-the-art development tools helps Xerox attract and retain top talent. “The IDC attrition rate has dropped from 29 percent in 2010 to less than 10
percent in 2012, predominately due to fact that developers are no longer working nights and weekends to track down and fix elusive code problems,” Vail says. “When we gave our people the right tools, they did amazing things. The right tools make our employees
more productive and happier, which keeps them at Xerox and helps Xerox continue growing and winning new business.”
Windows Server 2012
Windows Server drives many of the world’s largest data centers, empowers small businesses around the world, and delivers value to organizations of all sizes in between. Building on this legacy, Windows Server 2012 redefines the category, delivering hundreds
of new features and enhancements that span virtualization, networking, storage, user experience, cloud computing, automation, and more. Simply put, Windows Server 2012 helps you transform your IT operations to reduce costs and deliver a whole new level of
For more information, visit:
For More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing
can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
For more information about Xerox products and services, visit the website at: