Discover Case Study: How IHG has deployed and benefited from increased apps testing

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: HP.

Welcome to a special BriefingsDirect podcast series coming to you from the HP Discover 2011 conference June 8 in Las Vegas. We explored some some major enterprise IT solutions, trends and innovations making news across HP’s ecosystem of customers, partners, and developers.

This enterprise case study discussion from the show floor focuses on InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). We’re going to be looking at what they are doing around automation and unification of applications, development and deployment, specifically looking at software as a service (SaaS) as a benefit, and how unification helps bring together performance, but also reduce complexity costs over time.

To help guide us through this use-case, we’re here with Brooks Solomon, Manager of Test Automation at InterContinental. The interview was moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Here are some excerpts:

Solomon: InterContinental Hotels Group is the largest hotel company by number of rooms. We have 645,000 rooms, 4,400 hotels, with seven different brands, and the largest and first hotel loyalty program with 58 million members.

The majority of the hotels, 3,500 or so, are in the US and the others are distributed around the world. We’re going to be expanding to China more and more over the next few years.

I couldn’t list the number of applications we have. The majority of the revenue comes from four major applications that are consumer-facing.

We use HP’s testing software all the way from Quality Center (QC), through Quick Test Professional (QTP), through LoadRunner, up into the Business Availability Center (BAC) tool. I’ve talked about how we get to the process of BAC and then how BAC benefits us from a global perspective.

The apps that we generate support the majority of IHG’s revenue and, if they’re not customer-facing, they’re a call-center application. If you call 1-800 Holiday Inn, that kind of thing, you’ll get a reservation agent somewhere around the world wherever you are. Then, that agent will actually tap into another application that we developed to generate the reservation from there.

SaaS monitors

We use SaaS and we have a private use of SaaS. Going back to our call-center applications, there are local centers around the world, and we’ve installed SaaS monitors at those facilities. Not only do we get a sense of how the agent’s response time and availability is from their centers, we also get a full global view from customers and how their experience is, wherever they maybe.

Right now the only SaaS-based tool we have is the BAC. The other HP tools that we use are in-house.

Without the automated suite of tools that we have, we couldn’t deliver our products in a timely fashion and with quality. We have an aggressive release schedule every two weeks, distributing new products, new applications, or bug fixes for things that have occurred. Without the automated regression suite of tools that we have, we couldn’t get those out in time. Having those tools in place allows us approximately a 75 percent reduction in cost.

I would say just to define the core functionality of your applications and automate those first. Then, once new enhancements come along and there are business-critical type transactions, I would include those in your automated suite of tools and tests.

We’re coming off of a mainframe reservation system and we are converting that into service oriented architecture (SOA). So, we’ve recently purchased HP service tests. We hope that acquisition would help us automate all of our services coming off the mainframe. We’re going to do that on a gradual basis. So, we’re going to be automating those as they come online.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Read a full transcript or download a copy. Sponsor: HP.

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About Dana Gardner

Dana Gardner is president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, an enterprise IT analysis, market research, and consulting firm. Gardner, a leading identifier of software and cloud productivity trends and new IT business growth opportunities, honed his skills and refined his insights as an industry analyst, pundit, and news editor covering the emerging software development and enterprise infrastructure arenas for the last 18 years. Gardner tracks and analyzes a critical set of enterprise software technologies and business development issues: Cloud computing, SOA, business process management, business intelligence, next-generation data centers, and application lifecycle optimization. His specific interests include Enterprise 2.0 and social media, cloud standards and security, as well as integrated marketing technologies and techniques. Gardner is a former senior analyst at Yankee Group and Aberdeen Group, and a former editor-at-large and founding online news editor at InfoWorld. He is a former news editor at IDG News Service, Digital News & Review, and Design News.
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