Application development efficiencies drive Agile payoffs for healthcare tech provider TriZetto

Healthcare technology provider TriZetto has been improving its development processes and modernizing its ability to speed the applications lifecycle process, using quality and Agile methods tools to better support a lifecycle approach to software
Written by Dana Gardner, Contributor

The next edition of the HP Discover Performance Podcast Series highlights how healthcare technology provider TriZetto has been improving its development processes and modernizing its ability to speed the applications lifecycle process.

To learn more about how quality and Agile methods tools better support a lifecycle approach to software, we sat down with Rubina Ansari, Associate Vice President of Automation and Software Development Lifecycle Tools at TriZetto.

The discussion, which took place at the recent HP Discover 2013 Conference in Las Vegas, is moderated by Dana Gardner, principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Below are some excerpts.

Leaner and faster

Where you are in terms of moving to Agile processes?

TriZetto currently is going through an evolution. We’re going through a structured waterfall-to-scaled-Agile methodology. As you mentioned, that's one of the innovative ways that we're looking at getting our releases out faster with better quality, and be able to respond to our customers. We realize that Agile, as a methodology, is the way to go when it comes to all those three things I just mentioned.

We're currently in the midst of evolving how we work. We’re going through a major transformation within our development centers throughout the country.

TriZetto is a healthcare software provider. We have the software for all areas of healthcare. Our mission is to integrate different healthcare systems to make sure our customers have seamless information. Over 50 percent of the American insured population goes through our software for their claims processing. So, we have a big market and we want to stay there.

Our software is very important to us, just as it is to our customers. We're always looking for ways of making sure we’re leaner, faster, and keeping up with our quality in order to keep up with all the healthcare changes that are happening.

You've been working with HP Software and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) products for some time. Tell us a little bit about what you have in place, and then let's learn a bit more about the Asset Manager capabilities that you're pioneering?

Rubina Ansari
Image: LinkedIn

We've been using HP tools for our testing area, such as the QTP Products Performance Center and Quality Center. We’ve recently went ahead with ALM 11.5, it has a lot of cross-project abilities. As for agile, we're now using HP Agile Manager.

This has helped us move forward fairly quickly into scaled agile using HP Agile Manager, while integrating with our current HP tools. We wanted to make sure that our tools were integrated and that we didn’t lose that traceability and the effectiveness of having a single vendor to get all our data.

HP Agile Manager is very important to us. It's a software-as-a-service (SaaS) model, and it was very easy for us to implement within our company. There was no concept of installing, and the response that we get from HP has been very fast, as this is the first experience we’ve had with a SaaS deliverable from HP.

They're following agile, so we get releases every three months. Actually, every few weeks, we get enhancements for defects we may find within their product. It's worked out very well. It's very lightweight, it's web-based SaaS and it integrates with their current tool suite, which was vital to us.

We have between 500 and 1,000 individuals that make up development teams throughout United States. For Agile Manager, the last time we checked, it was approximately 400. We're hoping to get up to 1,000 by end of this year, so that way everyone is using Agile Manager for all their agile/scrum teams and their backlogs and development.

Working together

Do you have any sense of how much faster you're able to develop? What are the paybacks in terms of quality, traceability, and tracking defects? What's the payback from doing this in the way you have?

We’ve seen some, but I think the most is yet to come in rolling this out. One of the things that Agile Manager promotes is collaboration and working together in a scrum team. Agile Manager, having the software work all around the agile processes, makes it very easy for us to roll an agile methodology.

This has helped us collaborate better between testers and developers, and we're finding those defects earlier, before they even happen. We’ll have more hard metrics around this as we roll this out further. One of the major reasons we went with HP Agile Manager is that it has very good integration with the development tools we use.

They integrate with several development tools, allowing our testers to be able to see what changes occurred, what piece of code has changed for each defect enhancement that the tester would be testing. So that tight integration with other development tools was a very pivotal factor in our decision of going forward with that HP Agile Manager.

So Rubina, not only are you progressing from waterfall to agile and adopting more up-to-date tools, but you’ve made this leap to a SaaS-based delivery for this. If that's working out well as you’ve said, do you think this is going to lead to doing more with other SaaS tools and tests and capabilities and maybe even look at cloud platform as a service opportunity?

Absolutely. This was our first experience and it is going very well. Of course, there were some learning curves and some learning pains. Being able to get these changes so quickly and not having it do it ourselves was kind of a mind shift change for us. We're reaping the benefits from it obviously, but we did have to have a little more scheduled conversations, release notes, and documentation about changes from HP.

We're not new to SaaS. We're also looking at offering some of our products in a SaaS model. So we realize what's involved in it. It was great to be on the receiving end of a SaaS product, knowing that TriZetto themselves are playing that space as well.

There's always so much more to improve. What we’re looking for is how to quickly respond to our customers. That means also integrating HP Service Manager and any other tools that may be part of this software testing lifecycle or part of our ability to release or offer something to our clients.

We'll continue doing this until there is no more space for efficiency. But, there are always places where we can be even more effective.

The technologies that we’re advancing toward as well will allow us to easily go into the mobile space once we plan and do that.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes. Read a full transcript or download a copy.

Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.

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