Blackstone Case Study- Citizen and Immigration Services

Background

The U.S. Government receives a significant amount of immigration-related applications each year, most notably benefits requests and petitions for individuals to become U.S. Citizens. Since this process occurs across the country, the information and processes utilized by the Government in adjudicating each immigration case were developed separately and between disparate locations, document repositories and information systems and were largely paper-based. The layering of information management was such that a system was necessary just to track the physical location of each hardcopy case-file through the adjudication process. Due to the non-integrated nature of this structure, it was not possible to access a consolidated view of data across the Government’s immigration services

The Challenge

To streamline the case adjudication process, Blackstone was contract to assist the Government with the modernization of their systems by creating a single, integrationed, person-centric system to manage all immigration processing. This system will provide an open, scalable and flexible platform based on best-in-breed commercial off the shelf (COTS) technologies. This integrated solution will operate on open, scalable, and maintainable technologies. The evolution from the current stovepipe information systems into a consolidated person-centric enterprise requires a transfer of legacy business logic and case data.

Integration of the legacy stovepipe system with the evolving new Government infrastructure mandates the need for interoperability, streamlined data access, and deployment of data synchronization mechanisms. To support this necessary logical and physical connectivity, the Government intends to deploy an Enterpise Service Bus (ESB) that both physically and logically connects legacy systems with a future ‘To Be’ consolidated architecture. This integration layer is the ESB: it will include all the necessary hardware, software, and network infrastructure to interconnect Government immigration adjudication systems and support the migration toward a consolidated and modernized Government infrastructure.

Integrating and modernizing legacy systems in tandem with ever-changing human processes is always a unique challenge. Blackstone will call upon its extensive experience in the delivery of integration solutions to take the Government’s immigration adjudication infrastructure into the 21st century.

Performance

The Enterprise Service Bus hosts multiple services. Each service implements distinct business logic and integrates with one or many subsystems. This business logic originates from a set of complex functional and non-functional requirements which renders testing of these services difficult. Specifically, evaluating the impact of a code change on existing logic (regression testing) is time consuming and as a result costly. This challenge is compounded by the fact that existing business rules are embedded in legacy applications (which services interface with) and communication with these teams that maintain these systems is limited. Thus requirements are revised and code must be refactored throughout the system development lifecycle. To mitigate the risk associated with these requirement changes the Blackstone team proposed the implementation of the Automated Regression Testing Framework (ARTF). This framework encapsulates service requirements as programmatic test suites that offer automated and repeatable test execution.

Results

ARTF had an immediate impact on the project. Some of the key results were:

  • Accelerated defect detection and resolution – The Verification Service was officially branded as a rapid development effort. This service was deployed on time to the ESB.
  • Facilitated quality project delivery – Only one defect was logged during the Independent Testing of the Verification Service.
  • Reduced regression unit testing timeframe from 4 hours to less than 2 minutes
  • Mitigated risk of change introduced by new requirements – As requirements were changed or clarified during the rapid development effort, developers could quickly evaluate the impact on existing test functionality.
  • Provided management metrics to gauge deployment readiness – Management had a clear picture of the state of builds prior to handoff to testing teams.