How a DevOps revolution supercharged IT at Brazilian telecom giant OI

Brazilian telecom giant OI revolutionized its IT process by moving to a DevOps model and adopting Service Virtualization.

Brazilian telecom giant OI revolutionized its IT process by moving to a DevOps model and adopting Service Virtualization.

Large companies are sometimes last to adopt change. Perhaps it’s because big operations have so much more at risk, or maybe it’s because the old adage is true about the difficulty of turning large ships.

Whatever the case, Brazilian telecom giant OI is proving the adage wrong, at least when it comes to IT.

Alcino Vieira, OI’s quality assurance and IT manager, described at the recent CA World gathering how OI used Service Virtualization, test data management and other techniques to completely transform its IT process. Over time, OI was able to speed time to market for its apps while driving up quality and reducing cost.

Profile of a telecom giant

First, a few details about OI. It’s one of Brazil’s biggest companies, with more than 147,000 direct and contract employees and some 72 million customers. It was started nearly 20 years ago when Brazil’s telecom sector was privatized. Today, the company reaches nearly all of the country’s 5,570 cities with diverse telecom services, from broadband to mobile to fixed-line telephone to pay TV services.

A business of that size, no doubt, puts huge demand on its IT staff. This will give you an idea: some 1,500 IT projects in progress and more than 550 applications to support. In addition to supporting that burden, OI leaders wanted IT to achieve higher quality, quicker rollouts and increased test coverage in its QA chain. Something had to give.

As Vieira described, the only solution was to reinvent the company’s modus operandi when it came to software. It needed complete digital transformation, including a turn toward DevOps methodology and integration of continuous delivery and service virtualization to ease the way.

Here are some of the steps they took:

  • To address OI’s operation at a macro level, DevOps structures were put into place. Vieira says a QA leader was assigned to work with a business analyst and customer during the requirements phase to draw up requirements, using CA Technologies’ Agile Requirements Designer.
  • To reduce time and cost and raise quality, the team adopted CA’s Service Virtualization tool and assigned a team and a dedicated contractor to develop and maintain virtual services.
  • To increase test coverage, OI automated integration and regression tests.
  • To speed up releases, OI integrated its Waterfall and Agile pipelines and automated the release process. They also defined scrum teams to work specific issues and established a cross-functional structure to enhance DevOps collaboration.

The sweeping changes paid off big-time:

  • Automation of test cases saved OI some $300,000 in 2016.
  • The new Service Virtualization team (just two analysts) already oversees some 300 virtual services. That means dev teams now have the ability to test from early in development without tying up — or endangering — valuable production systems.
  • Integration and regression testing is now largely automated (regression tests are 90 percent automated), saving the company more than $400,000.
  • The SDLC now has greater accountability and business orientation.

Vieira says those improvements are just the start for OI, which is now planning even greater integration along its SDLC.