Success Story: Control Risks

Company Profile

Control Risks is a global independent risk consultancy. We differentiate ourselves from our competitors through our experience, independence and integrity. We are dedicated to resolving our client’s most complex problems with confidentiality, discretion and dedication to professional standards.

Founded in 1975 we are a global firm with 27 international offices, 1500 staff with an annual turnover of £138m. We provide a breadth of services covering political and security risk analysis, business intelligence and investigations, security consultancy and crisis management.

Challenges

After the initial phase of a three phase global ERP application (Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009) deployment we began experiencing serious performance problems in the web portal. Due to the complexity of the architecture and application it had proved difficult to identify where the bottlenecks were: infrastructure, network or application.

A decision was made by the programme steering committee to halt the phased deployment to any further countries until the performance problems had been identified and solved. We realised that we needed a reliable, easy to use, repeatable process to enable us to get dependable, consistent metrics on how the application was performing and not just rely on anecdotal and unscientific methods (as had been the case historically).

Application tested:
Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 Enterprise Portal – based on MOSS 2007

Protocols/technologies tested:
http, MOSS, Ajax

Solution

After looking at the marketplace for web application test tools we turned to NeoLoad as it allowed a relatively inexpensive entry into the test software market and provided all the necessary functionality needed to solve our requirements. In addition it had excellent visual and analytical tools which helped us identify those parts of the application that were not only performing slowly but point out those pages, objects that were causing bottlenecks and errors.

We began using the tool to undertake application load testing looking at different load scenarios reflecting current, future and excessive loads. We built a set of non intrusive and intrusive test cases which could be run from any place on our network and this provided excellent benchmarking reports.

The complexity of the web application (MOSS) meant that we had to build quite complex scripts and build generic parameters to best represent a single user “journey” through the application.

NeoLoad was chosen because of its usability, fully featured test measurements and excellent reporting and analytics, low TCO when compared with more traditional players in this space and strong local performance partners with knowledge of this tool.

A two phase performance testing approach was taken. Non-intrusive load tests were developed in order to allow testing of the live application and platform to measure performance and to place the environment under various levels of load in order to identify and understand problem areas.

Based on the results from this initial phase, a decision was made to conduct a full suite of intrusive load tests, configured to be representative of both current and future live operational volumes against a live like test environment, in order to allow detailed testing and tuning activities to take place.

Test Results and Added Value

Along with enabling us to configure the complex business scenarios required to enable effective testing of the Dynamics web portal and run these at the required volumes, NeoLoad’s greatest contribution was its excellent reporting and analytics capabilities which allowed us to quickly compare test cycles and identify areas for further attention.

The major benefits from using NeoLoad:

  • Repeatability and ability to quickly compare test run results
  • Flexibility
  • Analysis across both application and infrastructure
  • TCO low considering functionality and value

NeoLoad’s value to the business

  • Introduction of reliable measurements and metrics on application performance.
  • The ability to highlight areas for performance resolution and saving time by focusing on particular bottlenecks.
  • Risk reduction in delivery of web applications to our business.

As a part of our standard application build and deployment activities we will use NeoLoad to provide load and stress metrics. NeoLoad will enable us to measure performance response times for our core web applications from any of the offices in our company. We will be able to compare response times from L.A to Bogotá to Dubai to Sydney helping us understand our customer’s experience of the application and highlight problems proactively.