Freshfields Boosts IT Productivity With Eggplant Functional

Multinational law firm cuts testing time by over 80%; shortens time to release for core application updates.



Founded in 1743, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a global law firm with around 5,000 employees spread across the world. The primary focus of Freshfields’ IT infrastructure is to support the management of documents and information across the whole organisation.

“Like many firms, we use standard core productivity applications such as Microsoft Outlook and Word, but these are extensively customised, using business-specific plugins such as auto-numbering and change comparison,” said Tim Wistow, Test Manager at Freshfields. “As a large legal organisation, it is vital that everyone is using the same version of any application, and we typically roll out any updates or changes on a six-week basis.”

Every time Freshfields prepared to roll out an application update, the company had to ensure every application was fully tested to prevent post-roll-out issues. Until 2014, this testing was conducted manually.

Bottlenecked by testing

“We were bottlenecked by our testing process, which typically took 5–7 weeks for each release,” said Wistow. “We first looked at using other products to automate testing, but we ran into issues with this as we operate on a Citrix infrastructure and object-based test tools don’t work well on this.”

Freshfields then looked at Eggplant Functional, which uses a patented, image-based approach to GUI testing that allows it to interact with any device by looking at the screen, in the same way a user does. This means it is not affected by the same challenges as object-based systems when it comes to testing in environments like Citrix.

Following a successful proof of concept, the firm fully embraced Eggplant and has adopted it extensively in its testing program.

“With its SenseTalk language, Eggplant is very easy to learn and use, especially for people who don’t have much automation experience, making it easy to bring new people into automation and improving handovers,” said Wistow.“ And the support that we had from Eggplant throughout the implementation was phenomenal — the speed of response and level of personal contact we had was excellent, and the support team showed real willingness to understand the specific challenges of our business in order to help us.”

Decreased testing time; increased productivity

Since implementation, Freshfields has experienced significant benefits.

“We have been using Eggplant Functional for about a year and a half and have managed to automate over 80% of our testing using the product,” said Wistow. “As a result, we have managed to cut our 5–7 week testing timeframe to just one week for each release, six or seven times a year. This has had a massive impact on our productivity, both in the test team, where we can now allocate resources to higher-value activities, but also to the wider IT organisation, which is now able to move releases into production much faster.”

Beyond testing its core productivity applications prior to their release, Freshfields is also now using Eggplant Functional in its production environment.

“We use Eggplant to handle problem management in our live environment,” said Wistow. “Problems can sometimes be very intermittent and hard to recreate, so we are able to use Eggplant to force an issue and discover the root cause of errors.”

The future is performance

Looking ahead, Freshfields intends to expand its use of Eggplant products to support additional areas of the company’s business. The firm is currently engaged in a proof of concept for Eggplant Performance.

“We are looking at using Eggplant Performance to test the performance of our applications at different locations around the world, which will help us get a better picture of the user experience at our global offices,” said Wistow. “And we also intend to use Eggplant Performance to replace our current Citrix load-testing service.”
Case StudyJay Branscomb