Insurance provider Aviva is using development testing software from Coverity to improve the quality of its online services and enhance customer experience.

Ben Riches, head of application design and delivery at Aviva UK's General Insurance (GI) division, said the consumerisation of IT means that consumers now expect a clean, efficient customer service online, so digital companies need to take proactive measures to ensure they can deliver this.

He said that investing in a development testing solution allows digital businesses to find and eliminate defects early in the software quality lifecycle, and improve the quality of the code overall.

Aviva initially considered implementing a more wide-ranging tool that would cover a broader set of programming languages and technologies. However, the company eventually decided to opt for Coverity, because it was “a best in class tool for the three core languages it focuses on,” (C/C++, C# and Java).

“We thought we could get much more value from adopting a strategy that was more focused,” said Riches. “One of the key things that distinguished Coverity from some of the other tools that we were looking at was the low false positive rate.

“Other tools would detect problems in the code, but a number of those would be erroneous, whereas Coverity had a really good hit rate in terms of identifying real problems,” he added.

Coverity's development testing platform currently integrates with Aviva's Git distributed version control system and its Jenkins continuous integration platform. The company is also planning to integrate it with HP Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) via the cloud in the coming months.

The HP integration will provide Aviva with greater visibility into development by incorporating code quality into the overall definition of application quality. This will ultimately help reduce the risk of application quality issues in production, without increasing development or QA time, cost or agility, according to Coverity.

“It's a natural reaction to leave quality issues to a QA department, but by adopting development testing, you're saving a lot of time and money in the rework of code, and being much more precise and accurate with your identification of defects earlier on in the development cycle,” said Chris Adlard, senior manager of global communications and customer advocacy at Coverity.

“What that means is that you're able to spend more time and effort on innovating new features in the product, which will give Aviva a competitive advantage in the market place.”

So far, Aviva has only used Coverity to address some fairly low-level performance issues, which could have potentially driven increased consumption costs. However, Riches said that the value of development testing was not just in detecting flaws, but in proving that the quality assurance work done to date has been effective.