In 2005, the Government of Ontario, Canada announced E-Ontario, a strategy to help them consolidate IT resources in order to save $100 million dollars. Modernization is the goal -- to meet the increasing demand for health, education, employment and many other services that local constituents expect from their government. By consolidating resources, E-Ontario is now able to deliver social and economic benefits more efficiently and directly to the citizens of Ontario. The program will pool Ontario’s hard and soft assets, allowing the government to decrease costs and prevent the duplication of services.
As a result of E-Ontario, the various ministries of the Government of Ontario, in Toronto, Canada, such as the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Government Services, have grouped IT services by common functions. Enterprise Business Solutions (EBS), a branch of the Central Agencies Cluster (CAC), is responsible for Notes development and support (8 developers), in Finance, Ministry of Government Services, Public Infrastructure Renewal, and Cabinet Office. EBS supports four out of the top five public facing applications used by Ontario’s government, three of which are Domino, including:
SSB Forms – makes government forms available to public through downloads (PDF, HTML, etc.).
GoJobs – Government of Ontario job board for government jobs, including internships for university students. Applicants can apply on line and managers can add performance reports to an intern’s profile.
Translation Tracking System (TTS) – securely sends government documents to outside vendors for translation between English and French.
MyOPS – internal employee services portal system that links to systems that track attendance provides leave/vacation forms, tightly integrated with Entrust to provide data security.
These applications are mission-critical for the Government of Ontario. Any software problems with them generate a high level of negative visibility with officials as well as the tax-paying citizens. Under pressure to perform, EBS was spending an inordinate amount of valuable administration time on application builds to accommodate frequent design changes; while the departmental budget remained fixed. EBS’s management saw build automation as a way to save time and redirect valuable administrator resources to more critical projects, a fundamental tenet of E-Ontario.
EBS provides extensive development and support services to its client areas. While budget constraints continue, resource demands on EBS have increased dramatically. With the advent of the Internet, government agencies are finding numerous ways to use technology to increase services not only internally, but also to the general public.
Struggling within the bounds of a flat budget, EBS management felt that too much Notes administration time was spent on application promotion. Developers were producing numerous application changes on a daily basis; yet the changes were not reaching end users because the primary Notes Administrator was too busy firefighting the numerous build issues. The organization had developed their own build process for approval and promotion; but it required administrator-level involvement every step of the way and was fraught with the potential for human errors—an expensive and time-consuming prospect that counted on a particular individual being available.
The Teamstudio Solution
EBS turned to Teamstudio Build Manager as a time-saving solution. With Teamstudio Build Manager, their Notes Administrator’s time was effectively multiplied by automating the more mundane aspects of build and promotion. EBS management estimates that 25 percent of the Notes administrator’s time is now free for application development support, eliminating the need to hire an additional person. Including the time required to setup promotion scripts, EBS expects a payback on their investment in Build Manager to occur in less than a year.
Build Manager made the administrator’s life at EBS a whole lot easier. Following the startup time to write scripts, the administrator, or any of the developers, now promotes applications from Development to QA with the click of a button. This is a huge time saving for the administrator, considering that three-quarters of all promotions are from development to QA, while the remainder is from QA to production. This is because most development activity—QA finding bugs and developers adding new features—occurs within the development organization over the course of a project.
Only when an application is free of show-stopping or functional errors is it promoted from QA to production. Using Build Manager, EBS is now experiencing reduced build errors. Once a script is set up, the process doesn’t change. Thus there are fewer incidents of problems due to bad builds or individuals forgetting steps. Consistency is ensured; build problems are eliminated.
With Build Manager installed, EBS’s application integrity has greatly improved. The Notes Administrator is now more involved in improving application quality. The new process makes it is easier for EBS to keep the production systems up to date on bug fixes, new features, Notes version updates and patches, raising EBS’s credibility with clients. When the Notes Administrator is out of the office; it is easy for someone else to do a promotion, allowing EBS, as an organization, to provide a better and more consistent level of service.
EBS chose Teamstudio Build Manager because it worked well in the Notes environment, allowing them to automate their build process, ensuring error free and consistent builds. Unlike their manual build process, Teamstudio Build Manager allowed them to move applications from one stage of development to the next, while providing a secure gateway between development, QA and production—at the push of a button.
The Risk of Human Error and Application Quality
An erratic build process can directly affect production data integrity and security. Various inadvertent errors can occur—forgotten steps, steps out of sequence—causing an application to malfunction in production. Teamstudio Build Manager automates the steps in the build process, eliminating time-consuming and costly build errors caused by human errors, and improving overall application integrity.
Improve Development Turnaround Time
With a manual build process, application changes are less frequent, because builds tend to take a long time and are error-prone. By automating the steps for building and promoting an application to the next level, Teamstudio Build Manager enables EBS to turn application changes around quickly, dramatically reducing process completion time.
Increase Productivity and Process Control
Following design changes, Notes professionals spend valuable time preparing applications for migration to the next environment. Teamstudio Build Manager significantly reduces preparation time, because it automates the steps that the administrator needs to complete, freeing this valuable Notes professional for more critical projects.
With Build Manager, 25% of the Notes administrator’s time has been freed to perform more complicated and mission-critical projects, saving EBS from hiring another person. Even with script setup time included, the return on investment is less than a year.