Until recently, the India Development Center (IDC) of ACS, A Xerox Company, used a mix of tools to support various aspects of software development, to improve productivity, communication, and visibility. In 2011, IDC enhanced its development environment by implementing Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate, Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, and the Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 and Project Server Integration Feature Pack, which connects Team Foundation Server with Microsoft Project Server 2010. The integrated solution gives teams unified tools to simplify project management and streamline product lifecycle processes. Other benefits include reduced costs, increased productivity and collaboration, and deep, real-time visibility into project status.
||…Today, we have a single, tightly integrated development environment on Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010, which is extremely cost-effective for us to adopt. As a result, we expect to reduce our overall IT administration and 3rd party licensing costs for project development and maintenance by 30 percent.
VP Technology & Innovation
ACS, A Xerox Company, is a global leader in business process and information technology services. The company covers a lot of ground, from finance and accounting and transaction processing to IT outsourcing, human resource services and customer care.
The India Development Center (IDC) of ACS was established in 2002 and has approximately 400 IT professionals supporting software development, quality assurance, project management and operations support across Bangalore, Kochi, and Chennai. The purpose behind establishing IDC was to provide high quality, cost competitive application development and maintenance support towards commercial and government horizontal services. IDC has the functional expertise and technical skills to offer clients a variety of services in various industry verticals including: education, finance and accounting, government healthcare, and payer and insurance.
Since IDC caters to a diversified services portfolio, it supports both Waterfall and Agile software development methodologies.
With multiple lines of business (LOB) units, IDC had built a highly heterogeneous development environment. Until recently, all LOB units used a mix of stand-alone tools for various aspects of application lifecycle management. For example, Microsoft Visual SourceSafe version control software was used for source code control, JIRA for bug tracking and Excel spreadsheets for various other tasks. The mix of tools used for other aspects of application lifecycle management was just as extensive.
For the development teams, having a mixed tool set presented several problems. One of the largest issues was lack of visibility into project status. It was hard to gather information across so many different silos of data. As a result, it was difficult to prioritize projects or allocate resources.
“Project status visibility was needed to help us know exactly how much work remained, and how close we were to meeting a deadline,” says Ashley Vail, Program Manager, ACS. “This visibility would in turn help us with resource planning.”
Collaboration among the different teams was also an issue as developers, quality assurance, and project managers all used different tools. Lack of a consistent tool set created an overall drag on productivity and the speed of development.
Development teams had no way to capture software-testing workflows. As a result, software issues were not always easy to reproduce, which delayed resolution and time-to-market.
“There was a desperate need for a tool set, which would help us reduce costs and administrative complexity, and overall enhance collaboration,” says Prasad Thiruneelakandan, Information Management Specialist, ACS. “What we needed was an effective and consistent tool set to aid in the application building and management processes.”
IDC began to consider investing in a new development environment that would help address these issues. It wanted a solution that would improve workflow management, provide project’s development status, support cross-discipline collaboration, make it easier to eliminate bugs, and reduce the time its developers spend on repetitive, non-creative tasks. It needed one solution that could handle almost everything.
||With everyone using the same tools, fewer issues fall through the cracks, code rework is reduced, and reporting is more efficient, all of which help increase team output. We’re seeing a 40 percent productivity gain.
IDC decided to build its solution on the Microsoft platform. The team deployed the Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate development system and the enhanced Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010. “What really caught our attention was the fact that this integrated solution would give us the capabilities we needed to bridge the gap between our teams,” says Kiran Kuchibotla, IT Director, ACS. “We wanted to standardize the entire application lifecycle management (ALM) process.”
Microsoft India DPE- Developer Tools Strategist helped IDC to conceive the solution using their SEED strategy initiative, which meant to Strategically Engage, Enhance, and Deploy. SEED provided the right information, tools and processes in place to utilize the ultimate potential of ALM in an explicit time. Improved organization agility, better cross-functional synchronization, better accountability, and improved net promotable scores were some of the features offered by this strategy. “With SEED we were able to create a strategic plan and achieve the flexibility needed to react to market and business dynamics faster,” says Raman Padmanabhan, Vice President, ACS. “We knew we had made the right choice.”
Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate offers integrated development tools such as Intellitrace debugging, static code analysis and enhanced profiling while being fully integrated with Team Foundation Server 2010.
The solution provides a broad set of tools and functionality, and also offers a rich development environment for thorough testing, database development, debugging and diagnostics, and architecture and modeling. It includes integrated tools not only for general-purpose developers but also for database developers, making it easier for team members in those roles to collaborate. Team members have out-of-the-box access to rich project metrics through expanded reports and dashboards.
Team Foundation Server 2010 presented the best option for implementing a comprehensive application lifecycle management strategy across IDC’s environment. The collaboration environment which includes new work item tracking, reporting, and source code management features helped connect the organization’s geographically dispersed development employees.
“We really liked how well Team Foundation Server integrated with Visual Studio desktop tools, enabling developers to eliminate manually intensive processes that are costly and time-consuming,” says Prithviraj Mukherjee, Technical Project Manager, ACS. “Overall, the solution makes the development process transparent while delivering end-to-end visibility across the organization.”
With help from Microsoft Services consultants, IDC implemented the solution in August 2011. The solution will be available to approximately 75 developers throughout IDC.
To standardize project management, IDC used the Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010 and Microsoft Project Server Integration Feature Pack. This feature pack links data stored in Team Foundation Server with Project Server by bridging the gap between project portfolio management and application development. Project managers use Project Server to access up-to-date project status and resource availability with development teams working in Team Foundation Server. Developers could continue to use familiar tools and development methodologies. This integration enables data to flow from work items in Team Foundation Server to tasks in enterprise project plans in Project Server. “Everything is very tightly coupled,” says Bala Srinivasamurthy, Program Manager, ACS. “The feature pack further strengthens our solution by enabling teams to collaborate, communicate, and work together more effectively.”
IDC is pleased with the new integrated development environment for all aspects of application lifecycle management. With this solution, teams are able to store all of their product information in a unified repository and manage database development more efficiently. Reports, dashboards, and planning worksheets all support employees to move steadily towards the development goals and hence provide clear visibility across the business, development, and operation capabilities.Benefits
Through its adoption of Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate and Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010, IDC is moving from multiple stand-alone tools for various aspects of application lifecycle management to a single, integrated solution. The efforts are leading to reduced costs, increased productivity and collaboration, improved software quality, and deep, real-time visibility into project status and health for all stakeholders.Reduces Costs by 30 Percent
With its new solution, engineers can perform software builds, manage software versioning, and execute tests in less time and with fewer errors. Greater efficiency means less money spent. The consistent and consolidated tool stack is helping IDC to significantly reduce costs. “In the past, we paid to license and support dozens of different tools,” says RG Conlee, VP Technology & Innovation, ACS. “Today, we have a single, tightly integrated development environment on Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010, which is extremely cost-effective for us to adopt. As a result, we expect to reduce our overall IT administration and 3rd party licensing costs for project development and maintenance by 30 percent.”
Increases Productivity and Collaboration
Today, IDC teams have an integrated tool set to help them more efficiently develop and maintain projects across multiple locations. The move toward a single solution for all aspects of application lifecycle management has improved productivity and collaboration. With the integrated environment, testers, analysts, and developers are collaborating and capturing all work and issues in one place. This gives clarity into what’s going on with the project and helps to quickly pinpoint issues. As a result, traceability is much easier.
“With everyone using the same tools, fewer issues fall through the cracks, code rework is reduced, and reporting is more efficient, all of which help increase team output,” says Raman Padmanabhan. “We’re seeing a 40 percent productivity gain.”Encourages Accountability
IDC is noticing changes in the way people work. The transparency offered by the solution means that developers have more control of the project lifecycle and a better understanding of how their work affects it. “Team members are now more aware about the quality of their work because they can see how it influences the overall project,” says Kiran Kumar, Manager – SQA and Operations Support, ACS. “Working in an agile environment encourages accountability.”Simplifies Processes, Improves Workflow
The integrated tool set of Visual Studio 2010 has streamlined development processes. Instead of using multiple solutions for tasks such as deployment and source control, IDC has simplified its workflow with a unified solution. As a result, employees can focus better on tasks and respond quicker to business needs.
Also, by connecting Project Server 2010 with Team Foundation Server, management personnel can work more efficiently and gain better control of projects. The solution connects with various applications and also integrates more easily into employees’ workflow. Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 is an integrated development system that helps simplify the entire development process from design to deployment. Unleash your creativity with powerful prototyping, modeling, and design tools that help you bring your vision to life. Work within a personalized environment that helps accelerate the coding process and supports the use of your existing skills, and target a growing number of platforms, including Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 and cloud services. Also, work more efficiently thanks to integrated testing and debugging tools that you can use to find and fix bugs quickly and easily to help ensure high-quality solutions.
For more information about Visual Studio 2010, go to
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