CLIENT CASE STUDY


DigitalGlobe: Using distributed resources to address vital software development commitments

DigitalGlobe and Accenture collaborated to solve system integration challenges through distributed resources for the aerospace and defense industry.

Overview

DigitalGlobe is a leading provider of commercial high-resolution earth observation and advanced geospatial solutions. The company had a need to complete a significant amount of development, testing and systems engineering in order to launch a new satellite by its target date in the summer of 2014. The joint DigitalGlobe and Accenture systems integration team delivered the development and testing for the satellite launch ahead of schedule, helping to deploy this significant investment on time.

Responding to the digital imperative is no longer an option for incumbents—it’s a necessity.

Opportunity
DigitalGlobe faced the need to complete a significant amount of development, testing and systems engineering in order to launch a new satellite by its target date in the summer of 2014. The company had just finished a significant acquisition and was in the midst of integrating processes and technology while concurrently working to complete the IT work in advance of the satellite launch date.

DigitalGlobe’s commitment to drive shareholder value and launch the next satellite as planned led executives to explore supplementing the team with outside resources to complete the work in the desired time frame. Given plans to continue its growth through acquisition, DigitalGlobe recognized it was quickly going to have to support a significant increase in software development and testing requirements. Executives were interested in exploring how a distributed model for software development and testing could be leveraged for ongoing capacity needs.

Having a strong management consulting relationship with Accenture, DigitalGlobe executives turned to Accenture for the additional IT capacity and flexibility they needed. Accenture was asked to assist with DigitalGlobe’s development and testing in advance of its satellite launch and, in so doing, enable DigitalGlobe to test a distributed development approach for ongoing systems integration efforts.

Solution

Accenture mobilized its resources quickly to support the satellite launch program by providing 30 percent of the required development resources. Skills provided spanned from systems engineering, requirements development and technical design to application development and testing. Accenture provided IT support with database administration, Linux, network and virtualization specialists and custom Java development, SAP, ETL and Oracle skills. Resources were split between DigitalGlobe’s headquarters and Accenture’s Delivery Center in San Antonio, Texas.

Accenture was the first systems integrator to support DigitalGlobe, and the engagement was the first distributed delivery model DigitalGlobe employed. Executive leadership undertook an effort to migrate from a waterfall to an agile development approach and establish consensus across the various organizations around processes, roles, deliverables and expectations with regards to the software development framework. While involved in supporting the satellite launch effort, Accenture also participated in this initiative, leading discussions on how to effectively bring together project management across both agile and non-agile development and create a comprehensive status reporting capability. The development framework along with Accenture offered a substantial first step toward standardizing DigitalGlobe’s large-scale global development. DigitalGlobe now has a development framework to support its future growth.

Results

The joint DigitalGlobe and Accenture systems integration team delivered the development and testing for the satellite launch ahead of schedule, helping to deploy this significant investment on time. The effort validated that staff capacity support through a distributed model can be both effective and efficient for DigitalGlobe, enabling the IT function to meet timelines it would otherwise not be able to address and offering a strong approach for addressing DigitalGlobe’s growing need for IT resources.

The joint DigitalGlobe and Accenture systems integration team delivered the development and testing for the satellite launch ahead of schedule, helping to deploy this significant investment on time. The effort validated that staff capacity support through a distributed model can be both effective and efficient for DigitalGlobe, enabling the IT function to meet timelines it would otherwise not be able to address and offering a strong approach for addressing DigitalGlobe’s growing need for IT resources.


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