Births, deaths and marriages… the Office for National Statistics streamlines app development with bespoke process configuration

The Office for National Statistics has developed a bespoke process configuration with software lifecycle specialist Automation Consultants to streamline application development using IBM’s Rational toolset, saving time and development resource.

With 15 or more concurrent projects at any one time, the ONS has to quickly configure IBM’s Rational tools, in particular the agile application lifecycle management solution, Rational Team Concert (RTC), to suit its workflow style and ensure its Rational support team doesn’t have to maintain dozens of different process configurations.

ONS head of test, Andy King, explains the benefits: “Instead of building a process configuration for every application, all we had to do was share the master process before starting a new project. This saved us considerable time and resource as we migrated with speed and efficiency.”

Automation Consultants director Francis Miers notes: “There is relatively little knowledge in the software community about RTC process configuration. After our early RTC customers had difficulty with this requirement we made a point of developing the knowledge in house. In this case our specialists built a master configuration that could then be used for every RTC development project.”

Automation Consultants has a workforce that is rare in the UK’s software community because of its process configuration knowledge. Miers continues: “Our close working relationship with IBM, which extends to proof of concept development, and our lifecycle product expertise, means we often find ourselves working with them on particularly complex assignments. In this instance the ONS had made a significant investment in the IBM Rational tools and we were able to help them with process configuration and migration challenges, before advising on other aspects of their collaborative lifecycle management.”

The ONS also used Automation Consultants to help them migrate data and workflows from legacy Rational tools to their CLM equivalents as it needed to maintain and update long-lived applications.

Miers says: “Our expertise meant we were able to help the ONS develop a business case, including return on investment calculations, for automating projects and managing and implementing test automation. Combining this with Rational knowledge transfer and onsite mentoring of ONS staff meant we were able to train their workforce quickly. Ultimately we want the ONS to automate as much of the software lifecycle as possible to ensure optimal return on investment and increase development and deployment speed. We’ll be making recommendations for continuous improvement based on these principles.”

King concludes: “Automation Consultants’ comprehensive knowledge of the whole IBM suite is impressive – and when the vendor themselves recommends the expertise of the consultancy you know you’re in capable hands!”