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Software QA managers welcome HP Quality Center updates

HP announced updates to its HP Quality Center software that will make the product easier to manage and provision.

At HP Software Universe 2008 in Vienna, Austria, last week, Hewlett-Packard (HP) announced updates to its testing and automation software, HP Quality Center, that will make management and provisioning easier in heterogeneous data centers.

HP Quality Center is used by quality control (QC) to organize testing and centralize the QA process across different groups within a data center. It is also a big help with tasks like test management, functional and security testing, and defect management, said Ramin Sayar, senior director of HP's business service management, software and technology solutions group.

Attesting to this, Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal Financial Group, which provides financial and banking products including 401k plans and life insurance, has been using HP Quality Center since 2007, when it was still a Mercury product, and it has saved the QC team countless hours.

"Up until a couple of years ago, it was every business unit and department for themselves; every unit had a different tool for quality assurance, or no tools. We wanted to get everyone on the same page, reduce redundancy and create an enterprise-wide effort for QA practices with one set of tools," said Mark Ford, Principal's senior IT system analyst.

Jennifer Moberg, an IT quality control analyst with Principal, said the homegrown tools she used weren't unified; test cases and metrics were stored in separate tools that she couldn't tie together. "When a case failed, it would have to be reported using a separate tool, and you would have to do a lot of extra documentation," she said.

So the company started looking at management tools from vendors like IBM, with Rational software, and Borland Software Corp. "Quality Center was by far the best option. It was easiest to use and had more extensive features than the others," Ford said.

"We also liked that it was Web-based so we could use it from a browser, and it was easy to install," Ford said. "It was also well laid out in terms of using it, and we could customize it to our needs."

Of course, those nifty features came at a price, and the biggest problem for Ford was justifying the cost of new management software -- but in the end, it was worth the price, he said. "By getting everyone across the enterprise to use Quality Center … we eliminated the redundant tools, so it ended up being the most cost-effective option," Ford said.

Moberg said training people on HP Quality Center was also much simpler, because it's a widely used tool that many administrators are already familiar with. "A lot of our offshore consultants use this tool already, so it eliminated us having to train them," she said.

Principal recently upgraded to Quality Center version 9.2 and plans to upgrade again to version 10, which they beta tested. Ford said the enhancements in version 10 are better in terms of administration and usage. "It is obvious HP is listening to customer pain points [surrounding Quality Center] and addressed them in this new version," Ford said.

HP Quality Center version 10 includes integration with HP Project and Portfolio Management software to prioritize projects, and the new version can serve in the application delivery process by incorporating requirements management, test management, functional and security testing, and defect management all in a single platform, according to HP.

HP Quality Center will be available in January, and pricing starts at $3,000.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Bridget Botelho, News Writer.

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