Bocoup is helping Boston College modernize their IT systems in order to increase application build predictability, decrease overhead expenses, and reduce years of technical debt without sacrificing services for students and faculty.
Deployment Predictability for College IT
Operationalizing a University IT Department
Boston College's Information Technology Services department serves over 10,000 students and faculty, in addition to supporting IT departments at its sister schools in the jesuit community. CTO Peter Salvetti is driven by a service-oriented mandate to support all kinds of IT initiatives and strategies that are important to the University, from individual department websites and applications to university-wide student management systems and infrastructure. As a result, BC ITS has built a solid reputation for providing great customer service and a helpful mindset.
Peter realized that the cost of providing this level of service meant that his budget and staff sizes were increasing in an untenable way, and because of the scope and scale of support, it was hard to determine where those resources were being overspent. He needed to find a way to increase ITS efficiency without sacrificing their standard of service.
Together with our Technical Partnerships team, BC and Bocoup worked out a plan to operationalize application development services, modernize their development processes, and get a better handle of the state of key ITS projects in order to drive more consistent and cost-effective results for the university.
Bocoup started by tackling EagleApps, BC's monolithic application driving everything from curriculum management to enrollment and financial aid. Project code was spread across numerous repositories, with no clear documentation about how they were combined. Additionally, the development team didn't understand how to use version control software. This meant that building the software was incredibly slow-going and extremely hard to follow. Bocoup consolidated EagleApps code to a single repository and updated automation to interact with this new single source of truth. We also trained the Development team to leverage git effectively. As a result of this work, onboarding for new developers can now occur in just a few days.
EagleApps dependencies were also not fully defined, which meant that there was no repeatable way to produce a build “cleanly.” Building and running the software for the first time could take weeks - it was impossible without repeated interventions from the development team to provide workarounds for fundamental flaws in the build process. To top it off, the software relied servers that BC didn't control and could disappear at any point. Using Maven and Artifactory, Bocoup mirrored the servers internally and refactored the build process so that the entire project can now be built with a single command - no more frustrations and costly interventions from the development team.
EagleApps is Boston College's biggest, most important piece of software. With the technical partnership provided by Bocoup, it's now also one of the easiest projects to contribute to. Developers can onboard, contribute, build and deploy code in just a few days, which means enhancements and fixes are going out at a faster rate than ever before. Now that's good service!
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