• MSSBTA Staff

Case Study: System Performance Upgrade Passes with High Marks

Client Detail:

The client is a higher education institution. For more than seven years MSS Business Transformation Advisory (MSSBTA) has worked with their Information Technology department to support their systems and infrastructure.


The Challenge:

The client was operating unsupported legacy versions of their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to operate their organization. To avoid losing maintenance and support from their software vendor, the client embarked on a major upgrade to their mission critical student application. This application is primarily responsible for the management of all student and faculty data including, but not limited to, class scheduling, integrations to payroll, and academic financial aid. This was a full-scale upgrade that would require multiple changes and would significantly impact the organization.


The goal of the update was to increase connectivity speeds for student-teacher interactions and allow more users to log in to the system simultaneously. This upgrade needed to withstand system peak loads: 2 weeks of class registration and scheduling for each Spring and Fall semester.


Our Solution:

MSSBTA was responsible for successfully implementing projects, creating process improvements, and providing advisory and mentoring to the Information Technology (IT) team.

Through Leadership, Governance, and Accountability (LGA), vendor management, and project management, MSSBTA conducted thorough testing of the new system upgrade. The system testing covered two overarching categories: functionality and performance.


Functionality testing included walkthroughs of the software platform where testers performed daily tasks using teacher and student personas. This effort also included testing of 50 concurrent working connections to the in-scope software platforms. For example, to make a payment, students would need to use the financial services system. This meant the integration connection to and from the financial services system needed to operate at full capacity for testing to be successful.


Performance testing also measured the bandwidth that the applications could hold during hours of heavy usage. MSSBTA conducted testing by placing a load on the system to see how the application would perform. When performance testing failed, MSSBTA worked closely with the ERP vendor, handle escalations, and implement major changes. Performance testing indicated the response time was unacceptable, and the ERP vendor needed to make major changes to ensure the system performance could handle the peak load. These performance issues had to be rectified prior to going into production.


This engagement involved daily meetings managing the ERP vendor and continuous daily testing until the ERP vendor added enough hardware to ensure the software passed the testing with successful results. Due to the oversight (Leadership, Governance and Accountability) MSSBTA provided, the client was able to go live within two weeks of the original projected go live date but with the acceptable required performance results.

Their Results:

Leveraging MSSBTA, the client aligned the vendor to their goals, objectives, and system performance expectations. The result was the deployment of a system with significantly improved speed/load times and an increase in the number of simultaneous system users. The system upgrade was deployed successfully at the next peak load time for Spring and Fall semesters and supported the organization as expected.


Deliverables:

  • Project Implementation

  • Process Improvements

  • Vendor Management

  • Functionality Testing

  • Performance Testing

  • Advisory Services

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