Quality ‘assured’ for a biopharmaceutical giant in Healthcare | ValueLabs

Business Snapshot

49 million

monthly visitors

1800+

employees

650,000+

A network of active physicians

Overview

In 2005, ValueLabs was brought in to support QA Service delivery within a subsidiary of the US’ most prominent health and wellbeing information platform. Since then our team has expanded across the customer’s entire organization—helping the company embrace agile development and DevSecOps, enabling stronger QA processes that improve user and developer experiences, and supporting the creation of new offshore development, BI and marketing execution teams.

Today, the work we’ve done together helps the company consistently serve more than 49 million monthly visitors, and respond to customer, market, and technological changes incredibly quickly—ensuring it can maintain its market-leading position.

Our client is one of the largest and most highly regarded publishers and providers of digital health and wellbeing news and information. Serving more than 49 million unique visitors every month, it’s a platform and brand people around the world depend on for reassurance, education, and life-saving insight.

The company was established in 1996, and ValueLabs’ first engagement with the platform and its subsidiaries began in 2005. Over the last 15 years, ValueLabs has grown alongside the company—helping it drive proactive transformation, evolve its processes and development methodologies, and become one of the most visited health and wellbeing information platforms in the world. Since first coming on board as a QA Services vendor, our experts have consistently acted as an extension of the client’s own team. Through a strong belief in our OneCompany ethos, we’ve been able to act as a strategic advisor, helping the organization adopt best practices and new values that span end-to-end product development, platform modernization, DevSecOps, Data Engineering, BI & Analytics, Marketing & BizOps.

Today, we’re proud to help the company serve more than 49 million monthly visitors, and maintain its position as the leading healthcare and wellbeing information platform in the US.

Services Involved

Software
Development
DevSecOps
Modernisation
Quality
Engineering
Data services
Marketing
Transformation

Business Impact

DevSecOps: Enabling rapid delivery of new and updated content and services


ValueLabs enabled the company to adopt DevSecOps best practices and implement processes that helped ensure that rapid development

Zero
environmental discrepancies

99%
production uptime

Accelerated time
to market turnaround times for hotfixes

In the medical world, guidance and recommendations are constantly changing in line with new research, emerging issues, and the development of new approaches to patient care. As a result, our client is tasked with constantly updating and adding to its platform.

Before working with us, the company’s product development model was hindered by limited platform scalability, high testing costs, and dependencies on operations teams – all of which added up to significant delays in time to market.

This included the development of a robust and secure custom-built platform with a container-based architecture, deployment of new CMS applications to accelerate content creation, and adding support for high platform scalability.

By adding new front and back-end tools, ValueLabs enabled the company to adopt DevSecOps best practices and implement processes that helped ensure that rapid development and rollout of new services, updates, and new products and content as soon as they’re required.

Today, teams are empowered to work together quickly and flexibly – following agile methodologies. So, whenever a change or new product is required, our client can deliver it quickly, ensuring its information and services always meet current customer needs in the best and most accurate way possible.

Software Development: Establishing a compliant, cost-effective offshore delivery model


ValueLabs helped ensure that offshore teams aren’t just an extension of onshore operations

3 Agile delivery teams
built within six months

Offshore teams’
velocity matched onshore Agile teams

Ensured a seamless
communication and collaboration model

Our most recent major transformation project with the client involved setting up an offshore delivery model that could support Web Content Accessibility compliance, and enable distributed teams to collaborate on both content and the technical backend with ease. The client was initially sceptical of this approach, but in just a few months we had onboarded three agile offshore teams that were completely aligned with onshore teams, demonstrating the same delivery velocity.

Today, the client has fully-functional offshore teams in place, all qualified to meet WCAG standards. By building communication and collaboration plans into the scoped delivery model, ValueLabs helped ensure that offshore teams aren’t just an extension of onshore operations—they’re able to work alongside the rest of the business in tandem, without being impacted by time zone differences. Now, offshore teams play a vital role in the customer’s content development strategy—and are delivering content and page optimizations that continue to improve user experiences and strengthen the client’s core brands.

Software Development: Enabling entirely test-driven development


We helped implement an optimised engineering delivery model by adopting Test Driven Development (TDD).

Zero investment
in QA/Testing teams

Increased number
of production releases every quarter

Product Release
Quality Index of 98%

With such a large footprint of services, information and pages to curate, the company was very interested in exploring new ways to keep development quality high, without overinvesting in QA and testing teams.

To support that goal, we helped implement an optimised engineering delivery model by adopting Test Driven Development (TDD). TDD ensures very high code quality through unit and integration tests, resulting in a significantly lower number of errors thanks to early defect detection.

To implement and support this approach, we applied a number of tools and frameworks, all aligned to the team’s skills and capabilities, including:

  • Local integration that validates the system is working together seamlessly and the dependencies between the services are present as expected
  • E2E Tests (CICD) that help us understand how well process flows are working, and that all integrations are meeting planned requirements
  • Unit Testing to ensure all individual units are fit for purpose and use
  • UI and Functional Testing that rigorously checks the system is ready for end-user use, and it meets end-user demands
  • Omniture Testing to ensure that pages are delivering the best user experiences possible

Together, those tools and frameworks have helped a faster, more reliable, and more efficient approach to software development, where errors are actively identified and resolved as part of the development process. Practically, that means new services and pages can be deployed faster, and with lower risk of errors that negatively impact user experiences.

Quality Engineering: Weaving automated testing into development sprints


We embedded processes and ways of working that helped bring development and QA closer together to accelerate outputs and improve quality.

80% of defects
identified through automation

Just 1% of defects
leaked to production environment

Attained 97%
Production Release Quality Index

Following the initial success of our QA transformation, the client’s engineering lead began working with us to push the benefits of QA automation even further, and adopt an engineering-based approach to Quality Assurance, called Quality Engineering.

This involved bringing engineers into the QA team, rather than Software Development Engineers in Test (SDETs), to form a Quality Engineering approach. Using this approach, we embedded processes and ways of working that helped bring development and QA closer together to accelerate outputs and improve quality.

Implementing this solution involved:

  • Training the most technically strong QA team members on the development technology stack and transitioning them into Quality Engineer roles
  • Adapting Test Driven Development (TDD) to help improve unit and integration test coverage
  • Adopting a wide range of new technologies, frameworks and tools that are better aligned with the company’s new Quality Engineering strategy
  • Making automation coverage mandatory for every user story as part of a revised Definition of Done (DoD)

By supporting the development and implementation of a Quality Engineering strategy, we were able to help the client:

  • Align 90% of its team to the Quality Engineering model in just 15 months
  • Adopt CI/CD and DevOps in 80% of scrum teams
  • Achieve zero defect leakage in 98% of project releases
  • Boost automated defect identification rates to 60%

Modernization: Migrating from a monolith to microservices architecture


A complex web of interdependencies made it both incredibly hard to understand, and even harder to make changes to at speed.

Reduced release cycles
from 2 months to 1 week

Improved testability
and better scalability

Improved resilience
and delivered 99.9% availability

Another major barrier preventing the company from rolling out new and updated products and content quickly was the monolithic architecture it previously had in place. A complex web of interdependencies made it both incredibly hard to understand, and even harder to make changes to at speed.

Working with the client team, we helped implement a microservices approach instead—breaking the monolith down into an ecosystem of independent services, each encapsulating a different business capability.

This approach enables those capabilities to be managed and changed independently of one another—supporting an agile approach to development, and making it far simpler to test and build each individual architecture element the company depends on.

Data services: Supporting the outsourcing of vital training, onboarding and Business Intelligence gathering


For the company, that means high-quality BI services, applications and outputs, delivered at a lower cost, and higher speed.

46% of dashboard
integration is done by offshore team

Created a robust
automated test suit using Selenium tools

Extended support
team to handle hot-listed and priority tasks

Business Intelligence plays a significant role in the customer’s operations today, and the company is constantly seeking new ways to apply and gain value from BI. However, this can be a costly process, and one that demands significant input from internal subject matter experts.

This involved training and onboarding overseas teams on three core streams: Analytics Platform Systems (APS), dashboards, and infrastructure. To achieve this while meeting the customer’s demands, we had to prepare a detailed transition plan, carefully select new teams, and capture and prepare all relevant SME input and guidance to ensure onboard was a success.

By building a 5-month training plan, complete with important milestones at every stage, we’ve been able to successfully bring these new teams on board, hitting every goal set out, and helping them improve performance against key metrics to ensure they can deliver the maximum long-term value to the organisation. For the company, that means high-quality BI services, applications and outputs, delivered at a lower cost, and higher speed.

Marketing transformation: Transitioning campaign and marketing operations to an offshore model


Selected an offshore team, and shared all relevant knowledge transfer information with them to ensure they were onboarded successfully

60% of all campaign
Campaign deliverables created offshore

18% of BI infrastructure
deliverables now created offshore

100% of Analytics
Platform Services now provided from offshore

As our client has grown, its marketing needs and capabilities have scaled significantly. When we started working with them on this marketing offshoring project, they were looking to extend their team on incremental basis by building an offshore team that could build, integrate, publish, and market their campaigns.

Then, we carefully selected an offshore team, and shared all relevant knowledge transfer information with them to ensure they were onboarded successfully, and able to deliver positive results almost immediately.

By planning and implementing change incrementally, we’ve been able to track the offshore team’s progress and development and resolve issues proactively. The result has been the creation of a strong, productive offshore marketing team that can take complete ownership of campaigns and operations at a lower overall cost to the business.



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