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Press Release

Wales and West Utilities Chooses Original Software to Accelerate Testing

Ease of use for business users cited as main reason for choosing the solution suite

Wales & West Utilities (WWU), the regulated gas distribution business covering Wales and the South West of England, has selected the Application Quality Management (AQM) vendor, Original Software, for the management and ongoing testing of its business-critical SAP implementation. The full quality management, manual testing and test automation suite has been selected by the utility company to assist with its business-critical SAP application quality challenges.

Highly regarded in the industry, WWU was recently awarded the “Utility Company of the Year” at last month’s Utility Industry Achievement Awards 2010. The judges were impressed with how WWU has successfully rationalised a raft of different computer systems – without adversely affecting customers – and has built strong forward looking teams throughout the business since launching five years ago. It is this same forward looking thinking that led WWU to choose Original Software as the partner of choice for meeting its SAP quality challenges.

The Wales-based utility, which has its main offices in Newport, uses SAP across its operations, from back-office financials through to mission critical asset and work management on the front line. SAP provides coverage across many processes and business functions and integrates with other key solutions at the utility, such as Despatch and Mobile Application from Ventyx, and geographical information systems from ESRI. As such, any changes made to SAP and other key applications have to be tested thoroughly to ensure that WWU continues to provide a safe and efficient service to its customer base.

WWU does not have a permanent testing team but instead utilises its business subject matter experts to perform the vast majority of functional testing for any changes made to SAP and other business-critical applications.

“Our business resources are called upon to complete User Acceptance Testing as and when required,” says Craig Armstrong, IT Project Manager at Wales & West Utilities. “Since testing isn’t their primary role within the organisation, we needed a solution that offered our users an intuitive experience. We reviewed all the leading vendors in the market place, including HP, for a solution that would help ease the burden of our applications testing. The Original Software suite of testing solutions ticked the “ease of use” box like no other application suite we reviewed within the testing application market.”

Original Software offers a solution that is not code-driven and requires no programming skills by the users, empowering all users to define and execute their tests without the need to use any kind of code. “Not only is the technology easy to use, but we feel that our applications quality management process will become even more efficient, enabling the testers to complete a wider scope of testing during the delivery of our business critical SAP projects”, adds Armstrong.

Once implementation is complete, WWU will be using TestDrive-Assist and TestDrive, which are fully integrated solutions that allow companies to manage the journey to automation in a seamless and painless manner. TestDrive-Assist, discreetly captures tests while they are performed, including what is happening within the application. It also provides an audit trail and clear information for reproducing bugs. Its ability to automatically migrate these tests to an automated test script in TestDrive is a unique and powerful enabler for customers wanting to move to automation quickly and easily.

Qualify, which is a complete Application Quality Management (AQM) solution, has also been selected to replace the incumbent HP Quality Center. Qualify will help unite all aspects of the SAP software quality lifecycle from requirements through to deployment, providing an integrated approach to solving the utility company’s quality process and management challenges.

Armstrong concludes: “Our testing process has to be as seamless and pain free as possible, so integration of the tools was another key factor in our decision making. We were extremely impressed with the level at which Original Software’s solution suite was integrated. This will enhance the user experience and provide an end-to-end solution for our application quality strategy.”

About Wales & West Utilities: (www.wwutilities.co.uk)
Wales & West Utilities (WWU) – formerly part of National Grid Transco – was launched on 1st June 2005. Valued at £1.2 billion, it is a regulated gas distribution business with around 35,000 km of gas distribution pipelines located in Wales and the South West of England. With its main offices in Newport, South Wales and with around 1,500 staff, the company’s catchment area has a population of 7.5 million.

In addition to laying new gas pipes, making new gas connections and moving and replacing pipes and meters, it is Wales & West Utilities’ people who respond to gas emergency calls in its geographic area, by providing 24-hour 365 days a year service to ensure the safety of its customers and consumers.

More Stories By Tulin Pledger

A highly successful and ambitious CIM qualified marketing professional with 15 years experience within the software industry, Tulin Pledger has a solid background in managing both tactical and strategic marketing initiatives on a UK, EMEA and global scale.

Pledger's career began when the World Wide Web was just taking off in the early 1990s and, along with the industry in general, has experienced exponential growth and great successes.

Born and bred in London, UK, Pledger graduated in 1991 with a degree in Business. Her love for IT marketing started when she joined Macro 4 plc, a UK publically listed Systems Management Company, and has been nurtured over the years at companies such as Redwood Software, IXOS Software, Open Text, Mobius and ASG, with each of her achievements.

Her career has seen the scope of marketing expand in many directions from the days of fax mailers to the growth of the email marketing discipline. She has become an accomplished professional in all areas of the IT marketing mix, from direct mail right through to search marketing and social media.

Tulin's expertise lies in strategy, market positioning and brand awareness and she has a deep level of practical experience in working alongside sales teams and planning lead generation and awareness programs, telemarketing, events, webcasts and trade shows. With a proficiency in all areas of the communications mix, Pledger has an aptitude for managing successful PR, analyst relations, customer communication and channel partner campaigns.

As a career woman and devoted mother, Tulin leads a very active social life enjoying sport and movies with her two young teenage children as well as playing Netball for her local club and sitting on the committee of the regional netball league.

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