Microsoft India - Cognizant Technology Case Study for Visual Studio


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Cognizant, a leading provider of IT, consulting, and business process outsourcing was outgrowing its existing IT infrastructure. Cognizant’s consistent track record of being the fastest growing company amongst the tier 1 IT services players is a result of its consistency in adopting best-in-class technology and tools to deliver greater value to its customers. In its endeavour to make the development processes much quicker and more efficient, Cognizant built a customized Application Lifecycle Management solution, called SPECTA, on Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2008 and Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server. Armed with this solution that addressed every facet of the development lifecycle, Cognizant’s army of Microsoft technology professionals have been able to increase productivity, manage the application lifecycle, and improve software quality.

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Microsoft India - Cognizant Technology Case Study for Visual Studio

  1. 1. Microsoft Visual Studio Customer Solution Case Study Cognizant Accelerates Enterprise Application Development Cycle-time by 10 Percent Overview “With all the information at our fingertips, we’ve Country or Region: India Industry: IT Consulting and Technology witnessed cycle-time improvements of around 10 Services/Outsourcing Services percent. This enables us to keep up with the needs of Customer Profile our business. Additionally, we are able to solve our Cognizant Technology Solutions is a customer’s business problems faster and with less leading provider of information technology, consulting, and business outsourcing effort.” services. Based in Teaneck, New Jersey, Rajashree Natarajan, Asst Vice President, Process and Tools Group, Cognizant Technology Solutions the company has more than 50 global delivery centers and more than 63000 employees servicing over 500 clients. Cognizant, a leading provider of IT, consulting, and business process outsourcing services, was outgrowing its existing IT Business Situation To support the company’s rapid growth and infrastructure. Cognizant’s consistent track record of being the business needs, Cognizant required a more sophisticated IT architecture. It needed to fastest growing company amongst the tier 1 IT services players is a streamline its development process and result of its consistency in adopting best-in-class technology and boost its developers’ productivity. tools to deliver greater value to its customers. In its constant Solution endeavour to make the development processes much quicker and Cognizant deployed Microsoft® Visual Studio® Team System 2008 and Microsoft more efficient, Cognizant built a customized Application Lifecycle Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Management solution, called SPECTA, on Microsoft® Visual Studio® Foundation Server, helping developers to work together effectively. Team System 2008 and Microsoft® Visual Studio® Team System Benefits 2008 Team Foundation Server. Armed with this comprehensive Enhances communication and solution that addressed every facet of the development lifecycle, collaboration Accelerates cycle-time by 10 percent Cognizant’s army of Microsoft technology professionals have been Reduces cost of software quality able to increase productivity, better manage the application Improves process integration and management lifecycle, and improve software quality.
  2. 2. “Cognizant’s SPECTA Situation rated high by analysts and customers for its Cognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH) is a leading customer intimacy and industry domain built on Microsoft Visual provider of application technology, business knowledge. Studio Team System consulting, IT infrastructure and business process outsourcing services to its Cognizant has been a pioneer in using agile provides an integrated, customers. It was founded in 1994 as an IT development methodologies effectively optimal delivery development and maintenance services arm across distributed teams. In the past, of The Dun & Bradstreet Corporation. The Cognizant used a mix of tools to support the environment that company was spun-off as an independent development process, including Visual Studio increases productivity, organization two years later. Since 1996, Professional 2005 for development, Cognizant has worked closely with large Microsoft Visual Source Safe for source code for all roles, by organizations to help them build stronger, control, and other open-source and home- eliminating or reducing more efficient, and more agile businesses. grown tools for managing business Cognizant was listed on the NASDAQ in 1998, requirements, tasks, changes and defects. switches between and is a member of the NASDAQ-100 Index The mixed tool set, however, did little to multiple applications, and S&P 500 Index. It is also a Forbes Global support and streamline adherence to agile 2000 company and a member of the Fortune development principles. Instead, it hampered tools and activities.” 1000 and is ranked among the top team output, consumed additional time and Rajashree Natarajan, Asst Vice President, information technology companies in impeded communication. Specific problem Process and Tools Group, Cognizant Business Week’s Hot Growth and Top 50 areas included: offline traceability of artifacts, Technology Solutions Performers listings. frequent transitions between multiple tools used for design, testing, reviews and task Cognizant is widely recognized by leading tracking, and excessive time spent on analyst firms including Gartner and Forrester creating reports. as a Global Tier 1 supplier. The company is “Our company was experiencing continued Key Parts of Visual Studio Team System used by Cognizant and significant growth. To keep pace, it was Microsoft Visual Studio Team Provides the ultimate set of tools for every team discipline important for us to increase the productivity System 2008 Team Suite engaged in the project: architecture, design, development, of our employees with optimized business database and testing solutions,” explains Rajashree Natarajan, Microsoft Visual Studio Team Provides developers with an advanced set of tools to Asst Vice President, Process and Tools Group, System 2008 Development identify inefficient, insecure or poor-quality code, specify Cognizant. “We needed a comprehensive, Edition coding best practices and automate software unit testing enterprise-class solution for managing all Microsoft Visual Studio Team Provides advanced tools for database change management aspects of the development process and we System 2008 Database and testing and offers functionality to enable database were eager to find a solution.” Edition developers and administrators to be more productive Microsoft Visual Studio Team Focuses on improving the design and validation of Cognizant anticipated the need to streamline System 2008 Architecture distributed systems the company’s development process and Edition build a more integrated and extensible Microsoft Visual Studio Team Provides a comprehensive suite of testing tools for Web system architecture to keep pace with the System 2008 Test Edition applications and services that are integrated into the Visual company’s growth rate. The company aimed Studio environment to strengthen its entire IT infrastructure with Microsoft Visual Studio Team Combines team portal, version control, work-item tracking, the ultimate goal of boosting productivity and System 2008 Team build management, process guidance and business accelerating cycle-time. Foundation Server intelligence into a unified server
  3. 3. development, database development and testing of applications. Team members can continuously collaborate and utilize a Solution complete set of tools and guidance at every To optimize its Microsoft solution step of the application life cycle. development environment, Cognizant implemented a comprehensive ALM solution “The integration between the integrated based on Microsoft Visual Studio® Team development environment (IDE), source System, which extends the Visual Studio control, build tools, team portal and work- integrated development experience from the items like features, tasks, bugs and changes individual developer to the entire and the easy extensibility points provided by development team by delivering powerful Team Foundation Server were the key new role-based tools for all development- deciding factors for the solution,” comments related users, along with a centralized Sai Krupa Sagar, Chief Architect, Cognizant. repository for project data. “The new technology contained many significant features that helped us optimize Cognizant’s ALM solution called “SPECTA” is our development process using the built on Visual Studio Team System and Team extensible ALM platform.” Foundation Server. It provides multi- disciplined teams with an integrated toolset Architecture Overview for requirements management, task SPECTA comprises of a customized TFS Architecture: Team Foundation management, defect management, change process template and a set of extensions as Server Integration with Cognizant management, build management, version illustrated in the figure. The TFS process Enterprise Project Management management, architecture, design, template supports the best practices of Feature-driven Development (FDD) and Scrum agile methodologies. The extensions included new work-items, reports, check-in policies and plug-ins that support standard engineering practices like Build Verification Tests, Continuous Integration and Contextual Guidance. It also includes a synchronization engine that integrates with Cognizant’s Intelligent Delivery Ecosystem – Cognizant 2.0. The ecosystem is an enterprise-wide collaborative platform for workflow automation, process orchestration, and seamless knowledge management. One of the widely used SPECTA plug-ins provides integration between Microsoft Outlook and Team Foundation Server. Project planning and initial setup is enabled through the advanced framework provided by Cognizant 2.0. When this information is
  4. 4. synched with SPECTA, an equivalent team Custom workflows are implemented to project is created on Team Foundation Server automate the usually offline processes of and work-items are automatically populated. reviews, change, test and defect Thereafter, developers use Visual Studio management. Building all this on enterprise- Team System to perform all their tasks class server products like Microsoft Team including using the Team Portal, Build, and Foundation Server and Microsoft SQL Server Version Control. helped Cognizant to deploy the solution faster. The Project Manager uses the multi- dimensional reports provided by Team “Team Foundation Server gave us the Foundation Server to track status and flexibility to customize work item types and manage risks. The synch-engine periodically other project artifacts to support our own way synchs up work-item data between Team of working,” explains Sai Krupa Sagar. “It Foundation Server and Cognizant 2.0. This integrates all aspects of software enables different stakeholders to access the development—item tracking, version control, advanced planning, reporting and knowledge builds, and reporting—into a single management capabilities of Cognizant 2.0 collaboration environment.” while the development and testing teams access the integrated toolset and engineering Implementation Overview capabilities provided by SPECTA extensions The initial version of the solution was a result on Team Foundation Server. Several Visual of Cognizant’s early involvement in the Studio plug-ins make data entry easier and adoption program of Team Foundation Server intuitive. 2005 even before its commercial availability. Since then, there have been five major Business Analysts can create and manage releases of SPECTA, each with new, requirements through the familiar interface of additional features and customizations to Microsoft Outlook 2007. Project Managers address several customer requirements. can manage work-items through multiple Actually, the agile process promoted by channels using Microsoft Outlook 2007 or SPECTA, was followed to build the SPECTA through Microsoft Project or Microsoft Excel solution using distributed teams. The actual or through a browser interface. Additionally, implementation involved modifying XML files, stakeholders can view multi-dimensional writing custom code in .NET, building reports reports instantaneously through a Silverlight in SQL Server Reporting Services and powered dashboard. customizing the SharePoint portal. “The adaptable architecture of Team Fast Facts Foundation Server and the generous extensibility mechanisms provided by the Size of the Software Development 1 architect architecture helped us extend and customize Team for VSTS Implementation 3 developers TFS behavior with minimum effort and 2 testers shorter cycle time,” adds Sai Krupa Sagar. Duration 1 release every 6 months Developer Tools Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2008 Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Team Foundation Server Benefits Microsoft Office 2007 Tools
  5. 5. With the new solution, Cognizant has communication between developers, testers improved its ability to successfully follow agile and other stakeholders enabling all project methodologies even in a distributed delivery members to work in concert toward a model. Development groups are now more common goal. productive; and communication and collaboration are stronger, and the agile Accelerates Cycle-time by 10 Percent methods accommodate change more The new solution provides multiple areas and efficiently. All this has increased customer opportunities for collaboration among the satisfaction and is becoming a strong development team. Features such as, a competitive advantage for Cognizant. Several shared team portal, integrated change of Cognizant’s customers are using variants management, and a common data repository of the SPECTA solution within their boost collaboration among developers, enterprises. Cognizant has helped build consequently cutting the time and cost of custom extensions and reports as needed. application lifecycle management and putting applications into production more quickly and “Cognizant’s SPECTA built on Microsoft Visual cost-effectively. The availability of information Studio Team System provides an integrated, across the application lifecycle has created a optimal delivery environment that increases more unified work environment. productivity, for all roles, by eliminating or reducing switches between multiple “With all the information at our fingertip and applications, tools and activities,” says the integrated environment we are seeing Rajashree Natarajan. cycle-time improvements of around 10 percent,” says Rajashree Natarajan. “This Enhances Communication and enables us to keep up with the needs of our Collaboration business. Additionally, we are able to solve By implementing SPECTA with Visual Studio our customer’s business problems faster and Team System on Visual Studio Team System with less effort.” Team Foundation Server, Cognizant has a tightly integrated environment along with the The company’s software projects involve tools required to facilitate a more many individuals with different roles and collaborative development process. responsibilities at various stages of the A central repository for all project data helps development cycle. To aid in the distribution improve team collaboration by keeping of work, the SPECTA process includes a everyone informed of the project status. series of out-of-the-box roles, such as Adopting Microsoft Visual Studio Team business analyst, architect, developer, tester, System has allowed the development team to scrum master, feature owner and project significantly improve its ability to collaborate manager, and a set of tools and practices between geographies and time zones. Real specific to each role. The SPECTA extensions time integration with Cognizant 2.0 vastly on Team Foundation Server, monitors and increased the collaboration quotient by fusing integrates these roles. Visual Studio based developer environment into the enterprise wide collaboration “The less number of switches we have, platform of Cognizant 2.0. Together, this between different tools and applications, the integrated environment enables seamless less room there is for errors and shorter the
  6. 6. time required to complete most activities,” necessary to improve control of code, project states Sai Krupa Sagar. artifacts, and processes. Reduces Cost of Software Quality Managers have greater visibility into the true Software quality has improved because the state of the project, helping them to make new development environment helps team better decisions, align with best practices, members to detect potential errors earlier in and help developers generate higher-quality the project life cycle. The customized code. methodology imbedded into Team Foundation Server guarantees quality “The multi-dimensional reports provided by throughout the software development Team Foundation Server and the ability to lifecycle and ensures that all steps in the export the reports and analyze them using workflow are followed and completed Microsoft Excel has helped immensely in correctly. tracking the status and managing project risks,” says Gaurav Varshney, Senior Project The team-oriented features of Visual Studio Manager, Cognizant who lead the Team System help the team to ensure that management of the project for a Life defects are not introduced while developing. Sciences customer. “Along with a consistent Centralized source code repository helps the development process, we now have real-time team to maintain a daily build and ensure visibility into key performance and quality code quality and tested software. metrics,” adds Gaurav. “With SPECTA on Visual Studio Team System, we’ve been able to increase the quality of our development process and enable more control and transparency,” says Kishore Kumar, Delivery Director, Cognizant who has overseen the use of SPECTA, VSTS and TFS solution on a large globally distributed project for a Life Sciences customer. Improves Process Integration and Management The SPECTA solution built on Visual Studio Team System 2008 Team Foundation Server has helped Cognizant to better manage every aspect of development and production processes, including requirements, source code, build schedules, task tracking, bug tracking and change management. Integrated process workflows, version control, work-item tracking, and other features in Team Foundation Server provide the transparency
  7. 7. For More Information Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 For more information about Microsoft Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 is the world's products and services, call the Microsoft most popular development environment for Sales Information Center at (800) designing, developing, and testing next 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft generation Windows®-based solutions and Canada Information Centre at (877) Web applications and services. By improving 568-2495. Customers who are deaf or the development experience for Windows, the hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text Web, mobile devices, and Microsoft Office, telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) Visual Studio 2008 helps organizations 892-5234 in the United States or (905) deliver a variety of solutions more 568-9641 in Canada. Outside the 50 productively than ever before. Visual Studio United States and Canada, please contact Team System expands the product line with your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access new software tools that enable greater information using the World Wide Web, go communication and collaboration throughout to: the development life cycle. Interaction between developers and designers is For more information about Cognizant enhanced with Visual Studio 2008 and the Technology Solutions services, visit the Microsoft Expression® Suite. With Visual Web site at: Studio 2008, businesses can deliver modern service-oriented solutions more efficiently. For more information about Visual Studio 2008, go to: Software and Services Developer Tools Microsoft Visual Studio Team System 2008 Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2008 This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published June 2009