Tools Consolidation for $225K Cost Savings and Faster Time to Market
Born from the merger of two companies, The Company, a privately-held enterprise company, empowers people and businesses with end-to-end, industry-specific solutions to address complex business challenges. The software applications and professional business services enable more than 9,000 customers across more than 100 countries, to satisfy their customers, operate most efficiently, and stay at the forefront of their industry. The Company has more than 5000 employees with offices in 18 countries.

Challenges and Opportunities
Disparate Tool Sets. Through a software engineering assessment by senior members of Crosslake, we determined that more than 20 work item management tools were in use across the company. Such a large number of tools made it difficult to manage and even more challenging to maintain consistent development and reporting across distributed teams. Additionally, a variety of tool sets were present for source control (Surround, SVN, Visual SourceSafe, ClearCase, PerForce, ad-hoc Microsoft Team Foundation Server (TFS) servers, home-grown), test case management (Excel, Word, Quality Center, TestComplete none), test automation implementation (ad-hoc, Quick Test Professional, TestComplete), and data gathering.

High License Costs. In addition to the inconsistency of tools, licensing costs were a significant chunk of the engineering budget. Legacy license agreements were maintained at high cost, with the value not realized from several of the tools.

Inconsistent Processes. The absence of common project management terminology created difficulties in communications across teams. During the assessment, we identified a priority to consolidate software development methodologies across the company and to share best practices. To accomplish this, it was important to move teams to a standardized tool set and development process to improve collaboration and decrease time-to-market of product and service deliveries.
Crosslake has been assisting since our acquisition and subsequent merger with another company resulting in a large product portfolio, broad range of engineering systems and tools. It was a significant effort to integrate the engineering teams, standardize our engineering processes and to rationalize our product portfolio. Crosslake was a tremendous help to us in all of those areas, with their recommendations and assistance in implementation, we were able to see immediate results and transformation within our organization.
Jenny P. - VP Engineering
The Company was already heavily invested in the .NET platform and possessed a large number of MSDN licenses. In fact, the company was oversubscribed with an inappropriate breakdown of license types. Crosslake helped rationalize their licenses and educated the team on the unused benefits they were already paying for. By leveraging TFS, which some teams were already using, areas like work item management, source control, and test case management could be integrated together for greater efficiency and consistency across teams.

We worked with the various teams to ensure their workflow requirements were met and put a thorough plan together for work item migrations, source migrations, and test case migrations from existing tool sets. Elements of the plan included:

  • Architecture and capacity planning for the TFS application server, SharePoint server, and SQL server
  • IT backup and disaster recovery
  • Customized work item data schemas and workflows (process templates)
  • Migration plans for existing work items (including bugs), source code, and test cases(1)
  • Automated build implementation plan(1)
  • SharePoint configuration and dashboard report portals roadmap and basic implementation
  • Administrator and end-user training and coaching on TFS and the associated development model
  • Associated milestone dates and metrics for the overall deployment
Significant Cost Savings. Forgoing renewal on some legacy tools (and reducing the number of licenses) produced cost savings in excess of $225K even considering the additional Visual Studio and Client Access Licenses that were purchased for TFS. Furthermore, IT processes on centralized servers produced greater data reliability and improved performance.

Improved Engineering Alignment. With a consistent tool set in place, the leadership teams and engineers communicate with a common vocabulary creating much more efficient collaboration and idea sharing. In addition, the company has moved engineers between teams with a much shallower learning curve since TFS is used pervasively.

Faster Time to Market. The consistency of the transformed development model(1) that is reinforced by the tools facilitated faster iteration and improved time-to-market by as much as 25% for some teams.

Improved Project Transparency. With a consistent reporting mechanism across the product portfolio, the leadership team can see the right data in real-time to monitor progress across all projects. Additionally, TFS and SharePoint removed manual gathering of metrics for status updates saving hours per week across all teams.
Crosslake's close collaboration through all levels of the organization, including C-Level leaders, VPs, Directors and the engineers doing hands-on work, identified gaps in the engineering process, and helped implement improvements, partly through the deployment of a consistent tool set across the enterprise.

(1)Details covered in another case study