British Heart Foundation (BHF) is one of the UK’s leading charities, with an extensive retail operation that supports its activities. BHF looked at a range of robotic testing systems to support the deployment of its new Microsoft Dynamics-based retail management system. After an extensive evaluation, it chose Servicetrace as the RPA-based solution best placed to deliver its demanding high volume and transactional load testing requirements.

British Heart Foundation
British Heart Foundation (BHF) funds millions of pounds worth of research projects each year into all heart and circulatory diseases and the factors that cause them – such as heart disease, strokes, vascular dementia and diabetes. The charity’s UK-wide network of hundreds of home stores, charity shops and concessions – backed by online and eBay shops – serves as a key funding source, particularly given the increased pressures on funding caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

BHF’s Retail Division has grown rapidly since it was founded over 30 years ago. The charity recently decided to deploy an updated retail IT infrastructure based on Microsoft Dynamics AX, and the next generation solution will equip the charity to embrace new retail opportunities. BHF’s retail system will also support the charity in onboarding donated products, enabling them to be managed as part of its stock.

british-heart-foundation-opening

Yes, we’re open: The British Heart Foundation’s retail management solution has to handle the end-of-day reconciliation for more than 1,250 stores.

Key Challenges
As part of this process, BHF needed to make sure that its retail solution had enough capacity to support end-of-day reconciliations with the charity’s network of retail stores and concessions. The organisation recognised that this was a business-critical function, so it was essential that these key processes worked, and that there was enough headroom to cope with high volume transaction levels.

“While we were able to conduct unit testing, we knew we would need additional support to carry out volume testing on this important project,” said Sarah Yates, BHF’s Program Manager. “We simply couldn’t risk our retail management system slowing down over a busy period such as Christmas, so we knew we needed a robotic test automation solution that could test our applications for function and performance before rollout – even under the heaviest loads.”

Our next generation Retail Management System is a business-critical enterprise software project for the British Heart Foundation, and the Servicetrace Test Automation solution was best placed to address our demanding volume and transactional software testing requirements.”

Sarah Yates, Project Manager at British Heart Foundation

Servicetrace selected for its ability to handle high-volume testing
After discussing the challenge with its IT partner, it decided to introduce Servicetrace to the project, based on the company’s success in working on an end-to-end load testing solution for another major Microsoft Dynamics project. British Heart Foundation looked at several Robotic Process Automation solutions for this project, with its key requirements for the solution including ease-of-use, the ability to rapidly automate testing, and also being able to handle its high-volume test needs. After an initial successful proof of concept where Servicetrace Test Automation demonstrated its ability to deliver against all these requirements, BHF selected Servicetrace for the project.

BHF’s requirements for its test automation solution:

  • High usability
  • Ability for fast test automation
  • Ability to handle high volume testing requirements

Simulating peak trading volumes for BHF
Using the Servicetrace solution, BHF successfully tested the performance of its Microsoft Dynamics solution. Servicetrace Test Automation simulated peak trading volumes to ensure that the charity’s retail network had the capacity to cope with high volume trading periods such as the pre-Christmas period. The solution went beyond basic volume testing to simulate actual transactional loads, and during the initial testing process BHF also increased its number of Servicetrace licences by a further 10%. This ensured that the team could take volumes even higher, generating user test levels for an equivalent of around 750 stores. Additionally, Servicetrace helped confirm to the BHF team that the Microsoft Dynamics interface to the charity’s AGR merchandising/forecasting solution worked as intended.

In addition to automating tests for Microsoft Dynamics AX end-of-day reconciliation testing, Servicetrace also deployed its Workflow Studio to enable Dynamics workflows to be created, tested and deployed. As part of this process, Servicetrace performance testing identified several potential Retail Management System processes within Dynamics that could benefit from further optimisation and automation.

Share this article