Company: The Original Software GroupCustomer: Castrol (UK)Submitted by: The Original Software GroupDate: September 2001″When first given a demo of TestBench400Ô in 1998 I was told that over time the product would just get better and better and that testing would become more and more comprehensive. Usually claims made during the sales process are taken with a pinch of salt – this one was absolutely true.
As a long term investment I would recommend TestBench400 to any AS/400 development shop.” A bold statement, made by Peter Giles, IT project manager responsible for all pricing, invoicing and customer data systems for Castrol (UK).Since first installing TestBench400, from Original Software in 1998, Castrol’s IT environment has changed significantly. Peter continues: “TestBench400 has been an invaluable tool in moving new systems and processes forward. The product does not stand still either – continued enhancements have ensured the software has kept pace and have contributed to successful testing projects.
Search for automated testing solution
Castrol (UK), one of Britain’s largest suppliers of lubricants, is based in Swindon. The IT team realised that they needed a testing solution in 1998, when faced with the need to rapidly deliver the necessary system enhancements for Y2K compliance for its core AS/400 applications. Castrol’s IT department needed the capacity to rapidly deliver the necessary system enhancements in order to make this transition work. The task of manually checking complex systems thoroughly in the limited time available looked impossible, so Castrol decided to investigate the market for automated testing tools that would help solve the problem.The ability to test both batch and interactive programs was a key factor in Castrol’s decision making process.
So TestBench400, from Original Software was selected. The development team needed to test whole systems, so they used TestBench400 to build a substantial set of rules-based test cases against which to test complex batch systems.The new product fulfilled Castrol’s expectations completely and saved the company a great deal of time and money. Peter Giles said at the time, “My only regret is that we didn’t discover TestBench400 sooner. It really stood out from the crowd – it covered so much more than other tools on the market.
New Challenges for TestBench400
Two years later, Peter has even more reason to be grateful to TestBench400. Castrol (UK) was originally part of the Burmah Group and was taken over by BP in July 2000. This takeover involved re-organisation and consolidation of business practices, which inevitably affects many core processes and puts increasing pressure on the IT department to cope with system changes.Peter continues the story: “Data conversion and migration had to take place as a result of the takeover. TestBench400 was invaluable for testing this process, particularly as changes were very often requested at the last minute. Also BP’s consumer business systems are being taken on by the UK office with commercial going the other way.
The October 2001 go live deadline would have been difficult to achieve without TestBench400. The product ensures continued integrity of core systems whenever major and minor changes are made.”Castrol has used TestBench400 very extensively for Euro testing during 2001. This has covered both a suite of conversion programs and changes throughout pricing, invoicing, customer maintenance and ledger postings.
Greater coverage of systems in less time
The data protection facility within TestBench400 has meant that data is never corrupted and a test can be re-run with the minimum of preparation.
Peter continues: “TestBench400 means we can test critical areas of the systems to levels we just could not achieve manually. We were able to concentrate on adding power and coverage to the test scenarios and make them more and more intensive over the three years we have been using the product.”TestBench400 has a unique Data Rules facility that enables every single database update to be checked in the heart of Castrol’s systems – e.g. dates, currency calculations and VAT.”The great thing about TestBench400 is that we can rely on it to cover every detail, every time.
” continued Peter. “The testing gets more and more solid as the number of test runs increases. It means we have much greater coverage of all our systems, but it takes a fraction of the time. One of our test runs can now be completed in just five hours – the same task would have taken us 10 to 15 days without TestBench400.” TestBench400’s audit-ready reporting feature provides automatic and detailed confirmation of the tests performed and the test results.
Now Peter uses TestBench400 for batch runs which are performed overnight with full confidence that this will run smoothly every time.Peter keeps technical notes within TestBench400 itself so he has a record of the process and is building up a log. He finds the product excellent for regression testing – he could not easily identify problems before. Peter concludes: “Testing ensures much cleaner systems, avoids errors and those that emerge can be easily fixed.”
An Investment for the Future
The benefits provided by TestBench400 have been so great that Castrol feels totally confident that all testing functions will be carried out quickly and thoroughly and to the standards set internally.
“The process is now highly efficient; development staff can concentrate on development and we let TestBench400 do the testing for us. The IT department is vital to the continued growth of Castrol. The slightest inefficiency will impact greatly on our entire business operations. TestBench400 has enabled us to tie up the area of testing, allowing us to focus our attentions on more strategic business orientated issues” added Business Manager, Jonathan Davies, who was involved in the original purchase of the software.Throughout the three years, Peter has also valued Original Software’s services. “I always receive responsive support.
The team is always keen to get to the bottom of any problem not just make a quick fix. It also helps that TestBench400 is straightforward to use.”Peter now regards TestBench400 as a fundamental part of his IT operation and expects to be using the product for many years to come.