As the sole provider of U.S. Navy Aircraft Carriers and one of two providers of nuclear submarines, Newport News Shipbuilding (NNS) demands rapid innovation, high quality, and accurate compliance reporting processes. With 35,000 employees globally, the enterprise needs to manage a complex enterprise landscape with variations in business processes – and complete a mission where technology failure is not an option! The company must also document their complex processes for SOX compliance, which requires a large volume of time and effort. That is, until they leveraged automation for high speed business process testing.

Business Objectives. When NNS decided to implement automation, they knew they needed to support business process testing of SAP (including modules for HR, Payroll, Finance, Planning, Scheduling, Materials Management, EH&S) and much more including .Net, Mainframe, C#, Teamcenter®, and Windows. They also needed to streamline functional testing, regression testing, and compliance documentation.  With that in mind, they created a list of goals to be met:

  • Validate critical business processes to avoid business disruption
  • Reduce production defects; Improve the quality of testing
  • Quickly build and maintain complex end-to-end tests
  • Maintain the integrity of existing systems
  • Reduce testing cycles
  • Save time and money
  • Replicate tests the same way every time for greater confidence
  • Efficiently create a test portfolio without coding or the need for programmers

Deborah Rogers, the QA & Automated Test Lead at NNS recently discussed the journey to automation in a presentation at SAP TechEd 2016. You can find her full presentation below.

Efficiency in Compliance Documentation. Today, NNS has successfully used automation to meet all of their initial goals, while continuing to expand their use of automation. Worksoft solutions allow for an expansive level of detail, automatically generating documents that capture each process step and every screen shot in the business process. Today, automated documentation at NNS covers audit for SOX compliance, Goods Receipts, Time Entry, Planning Runs, MRP Lists, and execution logs for each of those processes. This documentation has also helped to create a central knowledge base containing a highly accurate view of all of existing processes. Moving forward, the team plans to create more custom SOX documentation thanks to the success and time saved in their automation work to-date.

80% Time Savings with Every Regression Test Cycle. Beyond documentation, NNS is saving time and improving quality with test automation for a range of business functions. Test coverage is high and the team is 90% complete in building tests for critical business processes, covering 47 core workstreams. Over 200 regression tests are run every other month - 6 times a year. This extensive use of automation has led to reduced testing time from 177 hours to less than 40 hours with automation, including fixes and repairs.  Regression test time has been reduced from 4 weeks to 1 week! NNS is now seeing higher quality, improved defect removal efficiency - meaning fewer defects reach production. Maybe most importantly, people are getting their time back and NNS has been able to shift system engineers to higher value-added projects as automation takes over. The team plans to continue to expand automation in testing beyond SAP, including C#, .Net, Mainframe applications, and Teamcenter.

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