Helzberg Diamonds Expands Use of Original Testing Tools
July 12, 2011 Alex Woodie
Helzberg Diamond Shops has been using testing tools from Original Software since Y2K. More recently, the Kansas City-based chain of jewelry stores has expanded its use of the tools to help ensure the smooth operation of additional applications, including a new ERP system, a point of sale (POS) system, and an ecommerce website.
With the iconic “I Am Loved” buttons that accompany each piece of jewelry, Helzberg has become one of the most recognized chains of jewelry stores in the country. The company, which was founded 96 years ago, is now owned by Berkshire Hathaway, and counts 234 stores in its network.
While love surrounds each diamond engagement ring sale, Helzberg’s has shown its back office applications a little love with the expansion of its use of Original’s application quality management (AQM) tools.
Helzberg once used an AS/400-based JD Edwards ERP system to manage many parts of its business. A few years back, the company introduced a new Windows-based ERP system to handle core business processes, such as inventory, purchase order management, and invoicing, leaving only the financials and accounting on JDE.
According to Original, the new SQL Server-based ERP system is updated up to 12 times per year. The frequency of these updates was testing Helzberg’s quality control processes, which were primarily done using spreadsheets and word processing documents.
Helzberg had experience with Original’s TestBench/400 from the Y2K days, and still maintained a relationship with the U.K.-based software company for its JDE system, although it didn’t change much. That existing relationship, on top of the well-recognized work that Original has continued to do in the field of testing, provided Original with a chance to win the new deal to manage testing for Helzberg’s ERP, POS, and ecommerce apps.
Steve DeMott, Helzberg’s director of application development and support, says he was impressed with Original’s willingness to work to meet his company’s specific needs. “Our applications are quite complex and Original Software was the only vendor reviewed that could work with all mission critical systems,” DeMott states in a press release. “Other software solutions evaluated couldn’t give us the level of integration we required for testing our critical applications.”
Original’s flagship AQM product, called Qualify, forms the heart of Helzberg’s testing regime. Qualify manages a central repository of testing data, and measures the test results against requirements.
Surrounding Qualify in the Helzberg deployment will be several other Original products, including TestDrive-Assist, TestDrive, and TestBench. The TestDrive products are designed to automate the test management process by capturing the results of tests and their effect on applications. TestBench will help monitor the impacts that tests have on the underlying database.
If all goes as planned, Helzberg will be able to roll out updates and changes to core ERP, POS, and ecommerce applications with confidence, but without requiring an army of quality assurance (QA) testers to make it happen.
“We have embraced the code-free approach of the solution and I’m certain that our entire QA team will be empowered as a result,” DeMott says. “The bottom line will be in the customer experience, as it’s the quality of our supporting systems and self-service applications that is fundamental for a positive experience and repeat business.”