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Stabilizing and Streamlining Application Development

A Healthcare System uses WWT Application Services to build a platform for a flagship application while adopting development best practices.

Challenge

An award winning, not-for-profit, integrated Healthcare System wanted to completely transform patient experience as part of their digital strategy. To do so, the Organization needed an innovative patient-facing application and a platform to support it. At the same time, they wanted to use the opportunity to adopt improved application development capabilities throughout their organization. 

With a development staff accustomed to releasing software using a waterfall methodology, and an operations team unfamiliar with implementing modern, containerized solutions, the Organization turned to WWT. 

Solution

WWT worked with the Organization to set the technical direction for the engineering and design of the application, as well as architecting and implementing a modern software platform. WWT provided the Organization with two platform engineers, two developer contractors and a UX design contractor. These resources were experts in product management, engineering best practices, user experience design, platform engineering and Lean/Agile practices

Application Development 

Solution Highlights

  • Up-skilling of contractor talent via the XP practice of pair programming, Test Driven Development (TDD) and CI/CD .
  • Creation of an early adopter program to shorten essential feedback loops necessary for developing end-user driven applications.
  • Business enablement via demonstrating Lean/Agile practices of Kanban (continuous flow), product ownership and Agile rituals (stand-ups, retrospectives, and pivot/perseveres).

The core development team met with eight key stakeholders in the Organization for a three-day kickoff where expectations, working agreements and high-level objectives were set. Once complete, the product development team began speaking with users of the proposed application and framed a simple minimum viable product to develop against. 

Lean Application Development Model
Lean Application Development Model

From there, WWT used React Native and Kotlin to build a fully featured, white labeled solution that would allow the Organization to drive deep and rewarding patient engagement. 

Because React Native closely resembles JavaScript, it will be easier for the Organization to find developers in the future. React Native also allows developers to code natively for iOS and Android from a single code repository. If the Organization decides to maintain a native code base down the road, React Native can easily be split into native Java/Kotlin and Objective-C/Swift code.

Kotlin allows for quick back-end development with minimal boilerplate code while still allowing the Organization’s engineering team to leverage the power of SpringBoot and access the full array of features and functionalities that come purpose built in Tanzu Application Service (TAS), the platform selected for the application.

Platform Acceleration

Solution Highlights

  • Platform enablement via iteratively creating and maintaining a Tanzu Application Service (TAS) Platform.
  • Up/re-skilling of existing talent via the best-in-class practices of DevOps, pairing, mob programming and testing.
  • Value demonstrations via regularly scheduled review sessions.

Because the Organization’s underlying infrastructure was Microsoft Azure, WWT platform engineers were expected to not only be experts in TAS installation and configuration, but also proficient in Microsoft Azure’s service offerings and architecture. 

WWT held a two-day kickoff between the core development team and the Organization’s four main stakeholders. The team followed the doctrine, “I do, we do, you do.” WWT’s platform team manually built an instance of TAS before showing the Organization’s development team how to automate the various functions and services necessary for a robust, automated TAS platform.

TAS instance

TAS will allow the Organizations’ engineers to develop against a singular, seamless experience regardless of underlying infrastructure. TAS also provides strong scalability, security and self-healing benefits to applications that run on the platform. Because TAS is a subscription service offered by VMware, engineers can easily obtain OEM support if needed.

Results

The TAS platform was stood up in 12 weeks. The Organization’s application developers can seamlessly deploy software to any of three major environments in minutes, where it had previously taken them weeks. And, because the platform has been deployed as infrastructure as code, the entire environment can be destroyed and recreated exactly as it should be in hours as opposed to previous months-long timetables. 

The Organization is benefiting from cultural change and growth in how they develop applications. They have adopted XP practices such as pair programming and test-driven development, which has dramatically improved the quality and maintainability of their patient experience application. Developers can automate their delivery pipelines, which helps reduce manual deployment into production environments and maintain the sterility of the environment. 

WWT is currently working with the Organization on Mulesoft integration engineering and EPIC EHR development. WWT also helped the Organization build an internal nurse scheduling application following the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Having matured tremendously in development and engineering practices, the Organization can continue its vision of revolutionizing patient care through digital experiences. 

Create Digital Experiences that Matter
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