Case Study: Paychex Leverages HP Tools to Streamline and Automate Application Development
Case Study: Paychex Leverages HP Tools to Streamline andAutomate Application DevelopmentTranscript of a BreiﬁngsDirect podcast from the HP Discover 2011 show in Las Vegas on howpayroll and HR services provider Paychex gains beneﬁt from application development tools.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Sponsor: HPDana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a special BrieﬁngsDirect podcast series coming to youfrom the HP Discover 2011 conference in Las Vegas. Were here on the Discover show ﬂoor thisweek, the week of June 6, to explore some major enterprise IT solution trends and innovations making news across HP’s ecosystem of customers, partners, and developers. Im Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and Ill be your host throughout this series of HP-sponsored Discover live discussions. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BrieﬁngsDirect podcasts.] Our use case study today focuses on Paychex. It’s a large provider of services to small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and is growingrapidly around HR, payroll, and increased beneﬁts, tax payments, and quite a few others.Were here with Joel Karczewski, the Director of IT at Paychex, to learn about how automationand efﬁciency is changing the game in how they develop and deploy their applications.Welcome.Joel Karczewski: Good to be here today, Dana.Gardner: First, Joel, do you have a philosophy about application development, and has it shiftedover the past few years?Karczewski: Yes, we do. Over the past few years, IT has been asked to deliver more quickly, tobe more responsive to our business needs, and to help drive down costs in the way in which wedevelop, deploy, and deliver software and services to our end customers.To accomplish that, weve been focusing on automating many of the tasks in a traditionalsoftware development lifecycle as much as possible to help make sure that when theyreperformed manually, theyre not skipped.For example, automating from a source code check in, automating the process by which wewould close out defects, that source code was resolving, automating the testing that we do whenwe create a new service, automating the performance testing, automating the unit testing, thecode coverage, the security testing, to make sure that were not introducing key ﬂaws orvulnerabilities that might be exposed to our external customers.
Gardner: Tell us a bit more about Paychex. I probably didn’t do it justice, but tell me the extentof your business and also how many applications youre dealing with?Karczewski: That’s a great question. Applications are basically just a combination of integratedservices, and weve been moving forward with a strategic service-based delivery model forapproximately a year and a half now. We have hundreds of services that are reused and utilizedby our applications.Payroll providerPaychex is primarily an HR beneﬁts and payroll provider, and our key customers areapproximately 570,000 business owners and the employees that work for those business owners.Gardner: And are they typically small businesses? Karczewski: Small to medium. Weve been focusing on the small-business owner because we believe that’s where our specialty is. Gardner: And, automation for your customers is super important. In order for you to extend automation to them, you have to have applications that are perform well and are well-tested. Tell me why a services orientation and services delivery model is so important in your particular business. Karczewski: We used to have customers that existed on one end of the spectrum or the other. For example, there’s the customer who wants to cometo the website and do everything for himself or herself, a website with a minimal interaction witha specialist that we may have working at one of our 90-plus branches across the United States.On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the type of customer that wants Paychex to doeverything for them. They don’t want to do anything themselves.What we have been ﬁnding over time is that were developing a hybrid behavioral approach. Wehave clients who want Paychex to do some of the business tasks for them, but they want to stilldo some of the tasks themselves.In order to satisfy the one end of the spectrum or the other and everything in between, wevebeen moving towards a service-based strategy where we can package, bundle, price, roll out, anddeliver the set of services that ﬁt the needs of that client in a very highly personalized andcustomized fashion.Gardner: It also sounds like, being in the payroll business, youre dealing with integrationsacross multiple organizations and ﬁnancial institutions, and therefore your applications are notjust in a certain silo and operating inside your four walls, but you really have to interact acrossdynamic and extended environment. Therefore, I should think testing, regression testing, andperformance management is super important.
Karczewski: That’s correct. The more that we can automate, the more were able to test thoseservices in the various combinations and environments with which they need to perform, withwhich they need to be highly available, and with which they need to be consistent.Gardner: How about data? I should think that this is fairly sensitive data too. Were talkingabout people’s paychecks, their beneﬁts, and so forth.Personal informationKarczewski: We have an awful lot of information that is very personal and highly conﬁdential.For example, think about the employees that work for one of these 560,000-plus businessowners. We know when they are planning to retire. We know when they move, because they arechanging their addresses. We know when they get married. We know when they have a child. Weknow an awful lot of information about them, including where they bank, and it’s highly, highlyconﬁdential information. Gardner: I have a good sense now of some of your requirements, the fact that you have got many applications, youre services oriented, and youve got these important requirements around performance, security, privacy, and so forth. How did you come at the solution to being able to produce, deliver, and maintain applications with these requirements satisﬁed? Karczewski: We took a step back and took a look at our software deliverylifecycle. We looked at areas that are potentially not as value-add, areas of our software deliverylifecycle that would cause an individual developer, a tester, or a project manager, to be manuallytaking care of tasks with which they are not that familiar.For example, a developer knows how to write software. A developer doesn’t always know howto exercise our quality center or our defect tracking system, changing the ownership, changingstatuses, and updating multiple repositories just to get his or her work done.So, we took a look at tasks that cause latency in our software delivery lifecycle and we focusedon automating those tasks.Gardner: It sounds like youre also quite comfortable with software as a service (SaaS) and on-premises. Is that the case? Are you a hybrid consumer of application lifecycle managementservices?Karczewski: Yes, and were moving more into that space on a daily basis.Gardner: Tell me speciﬁcally what HP products youre using and which ones you have in yoursights for some future development and testing?
Karczewski: Were using a host of HP products today. For example, in order to achieveautomated functional testing, were utilizing Quality Center (QC) in combination with Quick TestProfessional (QTP). In order to do our performance testing, pre-production, we utilize. Post-production, were beginning to look an awful lot at Real Use Monitor (RUM), and were lookingto interface RUM with ArcSight, so that when we do have an availability issue, and it is aperformance issue for one of our users anywhere, utilizing our services, were able to identify itquickly and identify the root cause.Metrics of successGardner: Are there any metrics of success that you can point to in terms of moving into theseproducts and applying the automation, ways that you can measure the impact of these particularsolutions?Karczewski: Weve begun looking at that. For example, were looking at the number of testinghours that it takes a manual tester to spin through a regression suite and we compare that withliterally no time at all to schedule a regression test suite run. Were computing the number ofhours that were saving in the testing arena. Were computing the number of lines of software thata developer creates today in hopes that well be able to show the productivity gains that wererealizing from automation.Gardner: So, it does sound like youre interested in more visibility and grasping the metrics ofhow applications are performing throughout their life cycle.HP recently announced the IT Performance Suite and an Executive Scorecard to try to help folksmove towards that higher level of visibility. Any thoughts about whether thats something thatwould ﬁt into your needs and/or have you had a chance to look that over at all?Karczewski: Were very interested in looking at that. Were also very interested in tying thescorecard of the builds that were doing in the construction and the development arena. Werevery interested in tying those KPIs, those metrics, and those indicators together with theExecutive Scorecard. Theres a lot of interest there.Gardner: I always like to try to give examples. It’s one thing to tell, but it’s even nicer to show.Do you have any examples of an actual development activity recently that you can point to andwalk us through how youve done it, what the methodology is, using some of these products andservices and developing the efﬁciencies and the reliability that you require?Karczewski: Well, we did one thing, which is very new to us, but we hope to mainstream this inthe future,. For the very ﬁrst time, we employed an external organization from the cloud. Weutilized LoadRunner and did a performance test directly against our production systems.Why did we do that? Well, it’s a very huge challenge for us to build, support, and maintain manytesting environments. In order to get a very accurate read on performance and load and how our
production systems performed, we picked a peak off-time period, we got together with anexternal cloud testing ﬁrm and they utilized LoadRunner to do performance tests. We watchedthe capacity of our databases, the capacity of our servers, the capacity of our network, and thecapacity of our storage systems, as they throttled the volume forward.We plan to do more of that as a ﬁnal checkout, when we deliver new services into our productionenvironment.Gardner: Well, great. Weve been learning about how development and lifecycle management isimportant for Paychex. It’s a human resources and payroll services company based in Rochester,N.Y. I want to thank our guest. Weve been talking with Joel Karczewski. He is the Director ofIT at Paychex. Thank you.Karczewski: Thank you.Gardner: And thanks to our audience for joining this special BrieﬁngsDirect podcast coming toyou from the HP Discover 2011 Conference in Las Vegas. Were here on the show ﬂoor and weregoing to be talking about more HP news and ﬁnding more case studies to delve into.Im Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host for this series of userexperience discussions. Thanks again for listening, and come back next time.Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Sponsor: HPTranscript of a BreiﬁngsDirect podcast from the HP Discover 2011 show in Las Vegas on howpayroll and HR services provider Paychex gains beneﬁt from application development tools.Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.You may also be interested in: • Deep-Dive Discussion on HPs New Converged Infrastrcture, EcoPOD and AppSystem Releases at Discover • HP delivers applications appliance solutions that leverage converged infrastructure for virtualization, data management • HP takes plunge on dual cloud bursting: public and-or private apps support comes of age • HP rolls out EcoPOD modular data center, provides high-density converged infrastructure with extreme energy efﬁciency • HP at Discover releases converged infrastructure products and services aimed at helping IT migrate rapidly to the future • HPs IT Performance Suite empowers IT leaders with uniﬁed view into total operations, costs