Guardian transforms QA to streamline AWS + API migration

Company overview

The QA team at Guardian exemplifies the company’s long-standing commitment: “We hold ourselves to very high standards.” They’re continuously optimizing the way they test all the new software and enterprise applications that 27M customers and 9,500 employees rely on. A few years ago, they undertook an extensive QA transformation to eliminate “pockets of poor quality” which led to unpredictable schedules and instability in production. This initiative combined five disparate QA teams—each with their own policies, procedures, processes, tools, and metrics– into a shared service known as Enterprise Software Quality Assurance(ESQA). This standardized all QA activities into a reliable, repeatable, scalable center of excellence.

Upon learning that a major application modernization effort was on the horizon, Robina Laughlin (Assistant Vice President, IT Quality Management) immediately recognized the risks. They faced a massive shift to AWS and APIs alongside a transition to SAFe. ESQA’s people were up for the challenge, but their existing tooling wasn’t fit for the task. They needed to equip their best-in-class QA team with the flexibility of a best-in-breed testing toolchain built for modern application delivery. They needed to move faster while supporting more (and more complex) projects—and do it all without driving up costs.

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    Industry: Insurance
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    Organization size: 12,200 employees
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    Location: Global
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  • Ambitious AWS cloud migration (200+ applications in 12 months)
  • Extensive API development to support digital roadmap and products
  • Mix of agile and waterfall processes (60%/40%)
  • SAFe adoption initiative: 2,500+ employees trained
  • 100+ active engagements monthly, 400+ projects annually
  • 140+ application/infrastructure updates to check monthly
  • Geographically-distributed team of ~200 testers
  • Existing OpenText ALM testing solution was slow and costly
  • Wanted flexibility to adopt best-in-class tooling
  • Needed to extend testing without increasing costs


With the problem defined and an open mind, Laughlin went out in search of a solution. She decided on Tricentis qTest because it would 1) enhance the team’s existing processes and tool stack and 2) grow with them as they adopted new tools and testing strategies to support ongoing digital transformation initiatives. “If you have dedicated QA testers that take pride in their craft, qTest will be seamless for them,” Laughlin noted. “It integrates well and provides good guardrails while giving teams some flexibility to find their own workflow.”

Laughlin charted out a 6-month roadmap to full adoption, including migrating test assets, integrating with Jira, establishing new standards and metrics, centralizing test management for security and compliance, and getting everyone up to speed on all the changes. With this successfully completed, they are now focusing on shifting from QA testing to QA engineering—not only shifting testing left, but also adopting new practices to reduce the number of defects introduced into the product.


  • 29% fewer defects
  • 30% faster testing cycles
  • 31% cost reduction
  • 38% increase in project capacity
  • Defects exposed earlier via “shift left” focus
  • Centralized management of best of breed toolset (Selenium, Neotys, AppDynamics…)
  • Real-time metrics at program, project, and enterprise level
  • Visibility into test coverage, blocked test cases, daily activities, etc.
  • Clear test organization across iterations, packages, levels (CI/CD vs full regression)
  • Cross-referencing of test assets for reuse and extension
  • Ability to create Jira defects and monitor status from a central testing environment