The Forestry Commission Reduces Testing Time for Online Services by 80% and Improves System Stability
 
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The Forestry Commission Reduces Testing Time for Online Services by 80% and Improves System Stability

The Forestry Commission is the British governmental department responsible for the protection and expansion of Britain’s forests and woodlands. The commission manages woodlands in Scotland, England, and Wales.

The Forestry Commission uses a Web-based service built on Oracle Database to administer forestry-related grant applications―from initial application through final grant payment. Applicants submit 2,500 grant applications per year, which include relevant maps presenting spatial details. The grant approval processes for Scotland, England, and Wales are slightly different, and the system accommodates these differences.

The software is updated quarterly, as well as when needed to accommodate ad hoc changes. The Forestry Commission carries out, thorough regression testing prior to each release, a process that was done manually and took up to two weeks to complete for each update. To accelerate this process, The Forestry Commission implemented Oracle Functional Testing, part of the Oracle Application Testing Suite. By automating regular testing with Oracle Functional Testing, regression testing time has been reduced by 80% to just two days per full regression test pack run.

 
 

 
 

Challenges

A word from The Forestry Commission

  • “With Oracle Functional Testing, we have reduced our online service’s regression testing time by 80% and enabled more regular, automated testing to further improve system reliability and stability.” – Rab Beck, Systems Test Manager, Forestry Commission

  • Ensure that the grant application system is available and working correctly to facilitate the smooth submission and accurate processing of woodland and forestry grant applications from individuals and organizations across England, Wales, and Scotland
  • Enable the Forestry Commission to make regular updates to the service without any detrimental effect to the system when there are changes, such as the European Union introducing new funding legislation or rulings
  • Gain the ability to test the application thoroughly for any problems in the software code before each quarterly and interim release goes live, with up to 3,000 regression tests per cycle
  • Enable efficient processing and administration of 28,000 grants and their accompanying licenses—some spanning 10-year to 40-year time periods―active at any given time

Solutions

Oracle Product and Services

  • Worked with Oracle Partner Scientific Computers Ltd to implement Oracle Functional Testing to automate regular online testing cycles, saving time and improving system reliability
  • Reduced by 80% the time required for regression testing, saving approximately eight worker-days per month by automating approximately 80% of all regression tests
  • Enabled the Forestry Commission to process grant and license applications for woodland improvement, regeneration, and environmental initiatives smoothly and accurately via the more streamlined system
  • Gained the ability to easily, rapidly, and accurately apply regular updates to funding rules, grants, and directives from the European Union, supporting compliance with government initiatives
  • Carried out automated functional testing earlier and allowed time for additional testing and troubleshooting to ensure a smooth go-live process
  • Reduced the number of software code issues, thanks to more extensive testing, gradually improving the functionality and reliability of the overall application
  • Freed up IT specialists for other priorities, such as improving functionality of various business applications

Why Oracle

“Oracle Functional testing has enabled us to run more regression tests, more often, resulting in improved functionality, reliability and time savings,” said Rab Beck, systems test manager, Forestry Commission.

Partner

Scientific Computers Ltd (SCL) has a long history of working with Oracle Application Testing Suite and is Oracle’s leading partner in Oracle Application Testing Suite within the United Kingdom.

The Forestry Commission engaged with SCL to assist with the implementation of Oracle Functional Testing. End-to-end grant processing is complex and involves many steps, such as the inclusion of spatial information and ensuring that data is in the correct state to move to the next step. SCL helped The Forestry Commission to split the automated tests into smaller, more manageable scripts that run from the master script. SCL also worked with The Forestry Commission to overcome some complicated issues related to digitizing GIS maps on the Welsh system.