DriveTime - Microsoft Corporation

By Aaron Payne,2014-05-16 02:58
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DriveTime - Microsoft Corporation

     Car Dealer Triples Development Speed with

    Agile Methods and Visual Studio Team System

    “Visual Studio Team System and its Team Foundation Overview Country or Region: United States Server proved a perfect match in supporting our agile Industry: RetailAutomotive and finance

     application development.” Customer Profile Brad Beebe, Corporate Systems Director, DriveTime Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, DriveTime, with more than U.S$1 billion

    in assets and revenues, is the largest

    integrated used-car sales and finance DriveTime, a used-car and finance company for people with less-company in the United States, focusing on

    people with credit problems. than-perfect credit, has more than 100 dealerships in the United States. Because the company finances more than 99 percent of the Business Situation

    DriveTime needed to create a more scal-cars that it sells, and many of its customers don’t have complete able and easier-to-use solution to replace financial records, DriveTime created its own software for helping the application that its dealerships used to

    match customers with potential cars. match customers with the best vehicles and financing plans for their situations. When the company needed to update its Solution

    DriveTime developed a new application application to provide a better customer experience and scalability, using Microsoftit moved its development efforts to the Microsoft? Visual Studio? Team ? Application System, including Visual Studio 2005 Team Platform, using Microsoft Visual Studio? Team System to create Foundation Server.

     the new application, and Microsoft SQL Server? 2000 Enterprise Benefits

    Edition as the data store. The DriveTime development team com-? Better user experience

    pleted the project within four months, an estimated three times ? Agility to meet internal customer needs ? Enhanced collaboration faster than with its old development tools and methods. ? Tripled development speed

    Situation available from other DriveTime dealerships “The development team, DriveTime is the nation's leading used-car within the same city or metropolitan market. using the Scrum method dealership and finance company for people with less-than-perfect credit. By offering DriveTime internally developed its DeskIt and Visual Studio Team customers innovative credit solutions, quality application, which helps sales managers

    System, continually vehicles, and outstanding customer service, match a customer with the best solution for DriveTime prides itself in providing options to automobiles, down payments, and other showed the key people who've been turned away by others. factors according to the internal credit score.

     DeskIt was created using early versions of business stakeholders The company, headquartered in Phoenix, Microsoft? Office Excel? spreadsheet soft-what they were doing, Arizona, owns and operates more than 100 ware. The application had served the com-dealerships in 17 U.S. metropolitan areas, which enabled real-time pany well, but as the company enjoyed with more than 2,900 employees. DriveTime continued growth, it needed a new appli-design changes that in has sold more than 400,000 cars and issued cation that could scale better, while providing loans totaling more than U.S.$4 billion. the end resulted in an a friendlier user interface. Scaling was Because the company forms a long-term needed because response times had grown relationship with the customerfrom finding application that our as more dealerships made use of the solution the right car, to arranging financing, to ser-and as additional functionality was added to dealers enjoy using.” vicing the loanDriveTime has developed its the application. The company also wanted to own business intelligence tools to help it go beyond a spreadsheet format to provide Brendon Birdoes, Distributed Applications make the best decisions for its customers. Manager, DriveTime the sales force with a more scalable, better performing, and user-friendly solution. “Many of our customers don’t have a tradi- tional credit score that can be accessed, and we’ve found that even for those who have Solution credit scores, we can make better decisions DriveTime created a new solution, DeskIt Plus, using our own risk models that we’ve devel-using Microsoft Visual Studio? Team System, oped over the years based upon our experi-

    a set of tools that helped the company’s ence,” says Mark Sauder, Executive Vice

    software team collaborate and communicate President and Chief Financial Officer at

    more efficiently. Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 DriveTime. “We use our internally generated

    Team Foundation Server, a core component credit score to help us find the best match for

    of Visual Studio Team System, is a collabora-our customers in terms of vehicle, down pay-

    tion server that offers a number of functions ment, interest rate, loan term, and other

    including source code control, work-item and variables.”

    issue tracking, integrated process guidance,

    project health, and status reporting. The team The company’s proprietary software that is

    also used the Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0. used in generating the internal credit score is

     hosted on the same IBM AS/400 computer

    The data store, which had been loaded into system that hosts the company’s point-of-sale

    an Excel spreadsheet from the AS/400, was application. However, generating the com-

    upgraded to Microsoft SQL Serverpany’s internal credit score for a customer is

    just a first step in the sales process. Sales ? 2000

    associates use the score to search a data-Enterprise Edition database software running base of all the cars that are available on the Windows Server? 2003 Enterprise throughout the company’s inventory, so that Edition operating system. Team Foundation customers can consider automobiles that are Server was used to create the Windows?

    SharePoint? Services portal to support


    “With our old

    development tools and

    waterfall development The development team, which included a DriveTime developers understand best database developer, a Windows Forms practices and improve future code. methods we might have

    developer, and a business analyst, created a spent 12 months smart client application with a rich user The schema compare feature was also interface and functionality to provide a helpful. “Our developers used the Schema creating the DeskIt Plus compelling user experience across the Compare feature to compare two database

    application that we just company’s more than 100 dealerships. schemastypically from Development to Test,

     from Test to Production, and from Production completed within 4 Creating the Solution back to Developmentand to synchronize two

    The DriveTime development team’s agility databases across environments,” says months. The faster was enhanced through the use of a Scrum Shripathi Krishnan, Database Technologies development time development approach. Scrum is an agile Manager at DriveTime. “Schema Compare project management practice that employs was also used to highlight changed, new, and makes a big difference short iterations and continuous improvement, missing objects for further research.”

    to our business.” combined with frequent face-to-face commu- nication among team members and stake-In a similar way, DriveTime developers used Brendon Birdoes, Distributed Applications holders. The ability to shorten development the Data Compare feature to compare data in Manager, DriveTime time while staying close to its internal cus-two tables and to highlight differences. tomers was a key factor in choosing Visual Krishnan notes that the Data Create feature Studio Team System. was appreciated because it simplified the populating of development environment “We had previously developed using a tradi-tables with sample data. tional waterfall methodology [a hierarchical approach that sequentially moves, like a Testing the Solution waterfall, from needs analysis to design to The DriveTime development team used Visual coding to testing to deployment] but found Studio Team System unit testing and auto-that we needed a more agile approach to mated Web tests to improve quality in the development to match our corporate style,” application, as well as to provide a clear path says Brad Beebe, Corporate Systems Director to continuous integration, with the potential at DriveTime. “With the old system, by the to run unit tests on check-in. The Load time we deployed a solution, the business Testing feature also proved useful. needs may have changed.”

     “Load testing helped us uncover scalability To stay close to the customer while expe-issues in one of our key inventory services diting product development, the DriveTime and verify that the resulting changes development team used sprints (rapid peri-increased performance,” says Brendon ods of development) that were then reviewed Birdoes, Distributed Applications Manager with internal stakeholders. The DriveTime at DriveTime. “Load testing also validated team used four-week sprints, taking advan-another inventory service that implemented tage of the source control feature of Visual a new architecture, so that the team could Studio Team System to coordinate versioning. deliver the product to production with confi-

     dence that it could handle necessary loads.”

    Developers used the static code analysis feature extensively, especially on Managing the Project infrastructure-related components, which Developer collaboration and team man-helped improve reliability and the quality of agement was enhanced through the use code. The static code analysis feature helped of project portals supported by Windows

    factors, while matching the customer to the

    car they desire, can get complex at times.

    The application we created provides a very SharePoint Services. A new portal is friendly front end for the user experience, automatically created for each team project while integrating with our powerful analytics that is created in Visual Studio Team on the back end.” Foundation Server. These portals enable everyone to access project information, which The earlier version of the application used an in turn encourages discussion, debate, and Excel spreadsheet for the customer interface. further improvement. The team project Office Excel provided all the information portals also serve as a central repository for required for structuring a sale, but DriveTime document-based work products, such as required faster performance as well as easier requirements and architecture documents. integration with back-end systems. Having these resources available to everyone helps foster common understanding across “Using Windows Forms to create a rich client projects and resources, and helps centrally Benefits application, our customers can see the detail maintain version control. Using Visual Studio 2005 Team System and on any vehicle they like, whether it is in the the Scrum methodology to create its DeskIt same lot or located across town,” says Plus solution provided DriveTime with a num-Birdoes. “The development team, using the ber of benefits, including a better customer Scrum method and Visual Studio Team experience, agility to meet internal customer System, continually showed the key business needs, enhanced collaboration, and tripled stakeholders what they were doing, which development speed. enabled real-time design changes that in the

     end resulted in an application that our Better Customer Experience dealers enjoy using.”

    DriveTime has built its business on providing an exceptional experience for its customers. Birdoes also noted that integrating the “All our vehicles are inspected, passed solution with SQL Server provided the through our reconditioning center, and company with the scalability it needed to subjected to a computerized title search to grow well into the future. ensure that they haven’t been damaged in the past,” says Sauder. “Then we offer Agility to Meet Internal Customer Needs straightforward, no-haggle pricing that As DriveTime prepared to create the next ver-includes a warranty. Perhaps just as sion of its business-critical DeskIt application, important, we provide our own financing, it changed its development direction from which means we don’t want to sell customers Web-based applications to Windows Forms

    a car they can’t afford.” based applications using Visual Studio Team

     System. Microsoft development tools pro-“More than 99 percent of our sales are vided an ideal match with its corporate need finance sales, so our customers are really for agility. shopping for financing as much as they are shopping for a car,” says Sauder. “This “We wanted agility; we wanted to involve our means that an integral part of our service is stakeholders with our developers throughout getting the customer into the right car as it the process with a Scrum approach of rapid relates both to the sales price and what they prototyping and continually fine-tuning to can afford in terms of down payment, interest meet the needs of our internal customers,” rate, and financing term. Balancing all these says Beebe. “Visual Studio Team System and

    “Visual Studio makes it

    easy to debug, and easy

    to rapidly prototype. its Team Foundation Server proved a perfect Tripled Development Speed match in supporting our agile application DriveTime estimates that it can create new With our old approach, development.” applications three times faster since moving

    bugs would remain to developing solutions with the Scrum The agility of the Scrum approach to devel-method using Visual Studio Team System, hidden longer and were opment saved the company a lot of time that including Team Foundation Server, to create would otherwise have been spent creating solutions for the Microsoft Application more difficult to resolve specifications and eliminated the problem of Platform. because we lacked the business needs changing during what used to be a longer development period. “With our old development tools and waterfall frequent touch points development methods we might have spent

    that we now have with We used a four-week sprint approach to our 12 months creating the DeskIt Plus applica-Scrum development,” says Birdoes. “Every 20 tion that we just completed within 4 months,” our internal customers.” business days the product was demonstrated says Birdoes. “The faster development time to our business users. They became partners makes a big difference to our business.” Shripathi Krishnan, Database Technologies in the development process and helped us Manager, DriveTime make a better, more relevant application. The new development environment and the This was so much better than the waterfall company’s Scrum approach to rapid devel-

    approach we used to use. When we released opment have made it easier to identify and our product this time, it was absolutely cur-fix bugs, contributing to faster overall rent to the business needs, and our users development. knew that they had helped create it. We couldn’t develop with this kind of immediate “Our emphasis on early prototyping and agility without Visual Studio Team System.” frequent demonstrations to our analysts

     reveals bugs earlier in the development Enhanced Collaboration process,” says Krishnan. “Visual Studio DriveTime enhanced collaboration among makes it easy to debug and easy to rapidly developers, analysts, and other stakeholders prototype. With our old approach, bugs would by using Visual Studio Team System. remain hidden longer and were more difficult

     to resolve because we lacked the frequent “One of the key tenets of our Scrum approach touch points that we now have with our to development was to maximize communica-internal customers.”

    tion,” says Beebe. “We wanted to get away from people isolated in cubicles writing The Schema Compare feature of Visual documents and code. We needed to have Studio Team System has also proven to be a open communication between the teams, time saver. “It used to be difficult to keep and high visibility for everyone to see what track of which database objects had been was happening at any point in time.” Birdoes changed between builds,” Krishnan says. adds, “The combination of Visual Studio “The Schema Compare tool enables you to Team System and its Team Foundation check for changes at any point to ensure that Server provided a rich collaboration envi-your code is up to date. And Visual Studio has ronment. We had a central portal for any reduced build time for code releases from document that the team created, any links days to just a few hours.”

    that they wanted to share, and all the code. All this combined to support the process of The monthly demonstrations with internal collaboration between the developers and customers has sped development by the analysts.” ensuring that product development tracks

    For More Information Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 For more information about Microsoft Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 is the world’s products and services, call the Microsoft most popular development environment for Sales Information Center at (800) 426-designing, developing, and testing next-with customer needs. “With our four-week 9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft generation Windows-based solutions and sprints and in-progress demonstrations to our Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-Web applications and services. By improving business users, the worst you could do would 2495. Customers who are deaf or hard-of-the development experience for Windows, the be to lose four weeks because you’d gone in hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone Web, mobile devices, and Microsoft Office, a wrong direction,” says Krishnan. “If that (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234 in Visual Studio 2005 helps organizations were to happen, you’d know you’d lost four the United States or (905) 568-9641 in deliver a variety of solutions more weeksnot the eight months or two years Canada. Outside the 50 United States and productively than ever before. Visual Studio that might have been wasted with our old Canada, please contact your local Team System expands the product line with waterfall approach to development.” Microsoft subsidiary. To access information new software tools that enable greater using the World Wide Web, go to: communication and collaboration throughout the development life cycle. With Visual Studio

     2005, businesses can deliver modern For more information about DriveTime service-oriented solutions more efficiently. products and services, call (888) 418-

    1212 or visit the Web site at: For more information about Visual Studio 2005, go to:

     Software and Services ? Technologies

    ? Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 ? Microsoft Visual Studio Team System

    ? Windows SharePoint Services ? Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team

     Foundation Server

    ? Microsoft Servers Hardware

    ? Windows Server 2003 Enterprise ? AMD-based server computers


    ? Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Enterprise


    This case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY. Document published September 2007

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