Given the very rapid evolution of business and technology requirements and increasingly tight financial controls, software development is under pressure. IT Departments have to constantly do things better, faster and cheaper… and that inevitably means automating and professionalizing their processes. But to do this, they need to equip themselves with an appropriate tool: hence the current, growing interest in software forges.
It was exactly this kind of challenge that led French co-operative bank BRED Banque Populaire to decide it is going to use NovaForgeTM, Bull’s software forge, to create its own toolset, and automate and formalize its entire software development process. For a bank that has to constantly update its services and is committed to the most advanced areas of technology and on-line service delivery, a resource like this is set to become a cornerstone of innovation.
Independence, professionalization and community engagement
For BRED, the choice of a software forge was driven on the one hand by the need to effectively manage the various components in the development chain and the pace at which they are changing, and on the other by the need to improve the whole software development process. Without the need for costly and restrictive migrations, and taking full advantage of a collaborative development environment, BRED has been able to embark on a truly industrial approach.
“We have over a hundred developers involved in all the different activities related to the banking business, all of them driven by the need to achieve the highest levels of software quality. Only a toolkit based around a software forge could enable us to establish a real multi-project software development factory, involving many teams. Now we have access to a powerful, flexible and coherent toolkit and processes, which support us from the initial design phase on our projects right through to ensuring that the components we develop can be effectively maintained,” explains Claudio Stefanelli, Project Director at BRED Banque Populaire.
Having defined a structure for technical consistency, ensuring that the development framework could be ported across to the new technical model, BRED then ported its tools to the new platform, which it calls ‘BREDForge’. Best practices and Open Source tools including Jboss, Eclipse, Junit, Check Style and Plone form the basis for the forge, which is built around the functions of software development, integration and continuous monitoring, reporting and code quality management. Some development work is given back to the community, which involves a new way of working and guarantees the long-term sustainability of the solution.
Bull has supported the bank throughout this project, defining the target platform and providing its NovaForge software development factory, migrating applications and development infrastructures to the new environment, and updating the architecture to ensure that it conforms with the new standards. Bull provides support for various standard and specific components, guaranteeing a very high level of responsiveness, working closely with the development teams.
“Our software forge is now fully implemented and is operating in industrial mode,” Claudio Stefanelli confirms. “After a year and a half, we have achieved much higher levels of productivity and integration, and have an in-depth understanding of our new environment. Allying ourselves with the Open Source world and Bull’s industrial-scale support is a model that allows us to provide a highly innovative and responsive resource. Now we have to carry on creating maximum value and bringing it to life, contributing to the community, customizing and enhancing the modules being developed, and continuing to optimize our processes.”
Almost 245 projects are currently being hosted in BREDForge.