How MB&A is accelerating growth, cutting defects in half and reducing time spent testing by 45% with Provar

Published by Stephanie Sargent, September 28, 2021
Case Studies
Millsapps, Ballinger & Associates (MB&A) is a Salesforce Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Partner, ISVforce Partner and a registered Salesforce Consulting Services Partner. MB&A offers enterprise-class applications on the Salesforce AppExchange and provides management consulting services helping innovators launch new products.

“Why is Provar worth my investment? We can focus on innovation instead of firefighting.”

Joshua Millsapps, Founder, CEO, Millsapps, Ballinger & Associates

ABOUT MILLSAPPS, BALLINGER & ASSOCIATES (MB&A) 

MB&A offers a comprehensive suite of services centered around their core mission – helping organizations deliver world-class products and services that enable customers to gather data, evaluate that data and use it to support business processes in Salesforce.

As an expert in the Salesforce ecosystem, MB&A is a Salesforce Independent Software Vendor (ISV) Partner, ISVforce Partner, a registered Salesforce Consulting Services Partner and offers four solutions in the Salesforce AppExchange. 

MB&A provides solutions and services for many federal entities including the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Los Angeles Unified Public School District, the District of Columbia and several privately-held companies. 

  • Established in 2011
  • Headquarters: Arlington, Virginia
  • Industry: Software and strategic consulting 
  • Provar tests: ~200
  • Environments tested with Provar: Sandbox and Production

Provar helps me sleep well at night. I don’t want to start a conversation with a customer and talk about what broke in the last release.”

Joshua Millsapps, Founder, CEO, Millsapps, Ballinger & Associates

SALESFORCE AND MB&A

Understanding the technical functionality of Salesforce is vitally important for the MB&A team. They offer a wide range of specialized services designed to help clients architect, manage and govern complex Salesforce environments to help them maximize this critical investment. 

In addition to these services, MB&A also offers four apps which are listed on the Salesforce AppExchange:

  • ExAM – Inspection, Audit, Compliance & Data Collection helps organizations perform inspections, assessments and complex surveys. With ExAM, users can move their inspections, data collections, surveys and compliance process into the field and onto mobile devices.
  • ExAM4Assets allows you to manage physical assets and inventory to support new and existing business processes.
  • ExAM Achieve leverages the ExAM managed package to provide a learning management tool set.
  • ExAM Connect syncs data between Salesforce orgs or with third-party data using a REST API.

CHALLENGES: BROKEN APP FUNCTIONALITY & DELAYED GROWTH

“If people are constantly going into firefighting mode from a bad release, it’s a ripple effect throughout the company. Everyone has to stop what they’re doing.”

Joshua Millsapps, Founder, CEO, Millsapps, Ballinger & Associates

As with any piece of software, there is an inherent risk that bugs and defects can delay a release, or worse, shift focus from delivering new features to fixing issues in production, both of which may have impact on customer expansion and retention.

To help reduce the risk of introducing errors with new releases, MB&A initially relied on a manual approach to test their apps. The product development team would split their workload – carving out a portion of their time to manually test new functionality before it was released. 

With a small team it was virtually impossible to cover all of the necessary scenarios while still keeping pace with their release schedule. 

After realizing the limitations of manual testing and how it was hindering their plans for growth and product development, the management team at MB&A decided to adopt test automation. 

“Before Provar, we were limited in our ability to launch releases quickly. Our customers need new functionality rapidly and they are looking to us for help.”

Joshua Millsapps, Founder, CEO, Millsapps, Ballinger & Associates

THE MOVE TO PROVAR

“Moving to test automation has been a strategic goal of mine since I joined MB&A. I’ve seen companies use it as a competitive differentiator. You can outpace the competition and bring new ideas to market so much more quickly and reliably.”

Sean Parker, ExAM Product Owner, MB&A

After the decision was made to shift to test automation, the team at MB&A researched the options available and consulted with peers in the industry. A common recommendation immediately became apparent. Find a test automation solution that specializes in Salesforce to reduce test maintenance. One source cited a bad experience where the QA team was forced to update each and every test after major Salesforce releases because the test automation vendor did not specialize in Salesforce.

Armed with that information, the MB&A team evaluated Provar and was impressed with the unique benefits offered by the solution. Most notably, the team could build unbreakable tests that don’t require excessive test maintenance since Provar works with the underlying data model of Salesforce. Another key factor in their decision to select Provar is the ability to easily extend the functionality of the solution. Out-of-the-box, testers without any coding experience can start building tests and more advanced users can also optionally use JavaScript to customize those tests.  

After a demo, the team signed a contract with Provar and accelerated the onboarding process by also purchasing Jumpstart Implementation services, which offers personalized training and help building out an initial suite of tests. 

“Provar was the clear choice from the get-go. We needed a test automation solution that specializes in Salesforce, and those aren’t easy to find.”

Sean Parker, ExAM Product Owner, MB&A

HOW MB&A USES PROVAR

With Provar you can catch things early. Things that you could never do with manual testing alone.”

Joshua Millsapps, Founder, CEO, Millsapps, Ballinger & Associates

Today, MB&A uses Provar to test their core product offering, ExAM, building approximately 20 tests for each new release while continuing to expand the scope of their existing library of 200 tests. 

While the vast majority of manual testing has been eliminated, it is still part of the organization’s overall testing strategy. New features are initially tested manually and after they have been verified as working correctly, that test scenario is folded into the existing suite of regression tests. 

Testing responsibilities have also shifted to a single resource dedicated to testing – freeing developers to devote all of their time to product development. 

MB&A has also been able to take advantage of Provar for end-to-end testing to verify that emails with test results are delivered to end-users correctly which is a key feature of ExAM.

To close the loop with the development team and provide a long-term view of testing progress, test results are saved and then attached to an internal system that can be shared with the development team to address as needed. 

“Overall, we’ve been able to reduce the amount of time spent testing Salesforce releases by 60% and accelerate our release schedule by two weeks per release. And, the number of customer support tickets we typically see is down by more than 80%. That’s huge for us.”

Ryan Moore, Quality Assurance Lead, MB&A

THE IMPRESSIVE RESULTS

After using Provar for three years, MB&A has achieved impressive results – they have been able to substantially improve quality, save time and boost productivity. Today, MB&A is well-poised to support their plans for growth as a company while also improving the quality of the solutions and services they provide for their customer community. 

“After switching to Provar, we’ve definitely seen a reduction in bugs and have produced exceptionally clean releases as a result of using Provar’s test automation instead of relying on manual testing alone. It’s been a complete game-changer for us in terms of delivering quality products for the Salesforce AppExchange. We’ve seen a 50% reduction in defects and a 45% reduction in time spent testing across the board.”

Sean Parker, Product Owner, Millsapps, Ballinger & Associates

The following includes some of MB&A’s key success metrics:

INCREASED QUALITY

  • Fewer bugs: 50% reduction in bugs/defects on average per each release
  • Increased scope: 70% increase in the scope of use cases/scenarios/test coverage 
  • Impact on customer support: 80% reduction in the number of customer support tickets

“If you are trying to rapidly evolve your product, manual testing alone isn’t fast enough. We need to be sure that when we launch something new, it doesn’t break something that customers already depend on and Provar helps us do just that.”

Joshua Millsapps, Founder, CEO, Millsapps, Ballinger & Associates

TIME SAVINGS: SALESFORCE RELEASES

  • Testing Salesforce releases: 60% reduction in time testing major Salesforce updates/releases
  • Maintenance for Salesforce releases: 60% reduction in time maintaining tests related to Salesforce updates/releases

“A lot of our growth opportunities are with existing customers. We need to be responsive to their needs from a product perspective and Provar helps us deliver on those promises.”

Joshua Millsapps, Founder, CEO, Millsapps, Ballinger & Associates

TIME SAVINGS: GENERAL

  • Overall time savings: 45% reduction in time spent testing across the board
  • Testing internal applications/internally-driven customizations: 40% reduction in time testing changes made to internal applications (e.g. Salesforce org customizations, etc.)
  • Maintaining tests for internal applications/internally-driven customizations: 50% reduction in time maintaining tests related to changes made to internal applications (e.g. Salesforce org customizations, etc.)

INCREASED PRODUCTIVITY

  • Reallocation of hours: The QA team has been able to reallocate 8 hours to work on other projects per release (which equates to one extra day per release for the dedicated QA resource)
  • Release schedules: Accelerated release schedules by 2 weeks on average per each release
  • Shift-left: Shifted 30% of tests earlier in the software development lifecycle (e.g. in comparison to focusing on regression testing)
  • New builds: 30% increase in time spent building new tests as a result of reduced test maintenance 

“Provar has been a complete game changer for us.”

Sean Parker, Product Owner, Millsapps, Ballinger & Associates

To learn more about how Provar can deliver unbreakable, polymorphic, intuitive, E2E test automation coverage for your teams, contact us today.

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