Gordon Cullum, CTO at Mastek looks at what it takes to drive a successful and evolving digital transformation strategy.
Within today’s digital era, robust and high-quality software testing is key to an organisation’s success – especially since practices such as Agile and DevOps often take centre stage.
Yet, as software projects increase in size and complexity, users often become demanding when there is a need to reduce costs and release on time. In turn, this poses a challenge when it comes to effectively testing software.
Test automation can separate the winners from the losers. Developing a best practice testing process is fundamental for any business. It is the clarion call of the digital age and it is imperative for businesses today – refreshing weak digital transformation projects and kick starting new ones. As digital technologies continue to evolve, organisations of all sizes need to look towards established test automation strategies to aid in the reduction of manual efforts whilst providing faster feedback and a reduced time to market for products and services.
Testing is a time-intensive process. By relying solely on manual tests, businesses put themselves at risk of defect leakage, reduced quality, increased costs and slower time-to-market. This in turn can result in a loss of revenue, customers and sometimes even market share. Businesses can eliminate the human error and mistakes caused by manual tasks by implementing an automated business process, and as a result, have greater confidence in rapid shipping of product changes.
A good place to start is by identifying any risks to the performance of an application. It’s also important to look at risk factors that include the user population, application type, application technology and changes to the application features and function. Adequate planning is essential when creating a testing automation framework that incurs low maintenance costs whilst delivering a higher return on investment.
In fact, taking an improvisational approach to testing summons risk — the very thing testing is intended to reduce. However, if businesses deploy a comprehensive approach to testing, it can identify problems earlier, which in turn reduces time to fix, time to market, and overall cost. While the strategy can change and develop during the project, taking the time to plan pays additional dividends, reducing rework, testing gaps, and communication friction.
Today, the pressure is on for organisations to be more efficient, get to market first and give customers a better, more personalised service. Whether it’s business transformation, digital transformation or planning for further growth, businesses need to understand the benefits of developing the best testing process, and how taking the right steps are fundamental for long-term success. To make sure they’re getting it right first time, every time, businesses should centre their testing plans around the following factors:
Measuring the user journey and experience
Businesses should be incorporating test methodologies and metrics that allow them to track the user experience. By doing so, they are ensuring that the product or application is omni-channel and consistent throughout. It’s important that teams design innovative test cases that can accommodate a wide variety of customer journeys.
Testing teams must focus on optimising functional testing activities across all channels when demonstrating the value of software testing to the business. They must also ensure that their product or service is consistent throughout, while being omni-channel. In doing so, digital enterprise customers benefit from an enriched end user experience through reliable software testing and quality assurance services – backed by innovative solutions.
Manual testing of new features along with regression testing of existing functionality is a tedious effort, which increases as new features are added at every iteration. Teams often struggle to align all test activities within short iterations by relying solely on manual testing, which leads to inadequate test coverage and poor software quality. To resolve this, businesses need to develop robust automation frameworks, to allow for quicker test cycles, and the development community needs to be trained and invested in using and contributing to the framework. Quality assurance is not just the testers’ jobs.
Though the adoption of test automation is an imperative for increasing the effectiveness, efficiency and coverage of software testing, it is important to understand that test automation has an initial cost associated with it. Therefore, when implemented poorly, test automation can hurt project budgets without providing the expected benefits. Test automation must be thought out and therefore be implemented to increase the overall software efficiency that delivers better quality software, which can be released earlier with less effort, utilising fewer resources.
With the recently implemented GDPR regulations, issues surrounding protection of data for testing teams are more important than ever. Ensuring that customers’ private data and information are secured is a priority in many aspects of business – and this is no exception when it comes to testing.
Security testing should be appropriately prioritised to identify threats in the system while measuring any potential vulnerabilities. If done correctly, businesses will successfully reduce the risk of the system being exploited or damaged. Overall, businesses can rest assured that their systems are water-tight, and that company data and its integrity is protected, to reduce financial and reputational impact on the business.
A clear digital assurance plan
Businesses must implement a complete digital assurance platform. This platform will allow for the creation of an effective strategy for digital assurance; providing much-needed metrics to enable a top-class customer experience. While organisations should focus on embarking on a digital transformation programme, they should also be looking to align these technologies with a well-defined digital-assurance approach.
With enterprises embarking on digital transformation programmes, there is now an enormous pressure to release software faster to provide better, more efficient services. While deploying an effective software testing process is a prerequisite for developing software that’s fit for purpose and delivers on business objectives, if performed haphazardly, it can also jeopardise success.
With the era of standalone applications being merely a thing of the past, testing must now increasingly cover the end-to-end user journey while crossing both traditional physical and digital limitations.
By: Gordon Cullum, CTO at Mastek