COVID-19 has hit the world like a storm, and as we write, continues to spread rapidly across the globe. The pandemic is affecting hundreds of thousands of people and is a major calamity to human life. Almost every country has reported cases, but the burden is disproportionately disseminated. No one can predict precisely the economic mutilation arising out of the current situation. Economists commonly agree that it will have severe negative impacts on the global economy.
As a result, Digitalization is on the rise in every industry. DMEXCO study1 has revealed that 70% of respondents expect the coronavirus pandemic to accelerate the pace of the digital transformation. It has forced everyone to adopt new style of working and emphasized the need to carry out activities digitally over the internet. The pandemic has put tremendous pressure on even the world’s richest and most powerful nations and their healthcare systems. Clinicians have been conducting clinics remotely and providing medical advises to patients using tools like AccuRX, Attendanywhere etc., Health insurance organisations on one hand, find themselves in dreadful situation trying to cope with an increased volume of claims and customer requests. On the other hand, they are finding new ways to sell insurance policies. Organisations have encouraged employees to work from home and education institutions have been conducting on-line classes using conference and streaming tools. People have been purchasing essential grocery items using online portals. Stores, be it small local kirana stores or super-markets, are now leveraging online networks to deliver essential items to people in need. Every organisation has had to reinvent their approaches to serve the end customers in these different times and develop a different ethos of delivery.
Changing times calls for a change in approaches too. With the digitization surge, it is now important to ensure that software applications deliver the functionalities to customers without issues, considering the evolving business needs and dynamic changes to software. Along with keeping software error-free, it has also become important to test software applications rapidly and ensure that any defects are resolved quickly, so that customers have a seamless experience. Faster time to-market with no compromise on quality & reliability, at a lower cost, is the need of the hour in the essential services segments. The challenges have increased many folds with non-availability of resources due to the lockdown.
Needless to mention that along with mighty challenge of dynamism, businesses continue to also face the typical testing challenges such as incomplete coverage, inaccurate test cases, inability to test on multiple devices and browsers using the same tools, and poor data. Manual testing and Time & Material payment models have proven inadequate than ever before, considering the unprecedented economic challenges. This is the time to push ahead with automation of testing.
Finalize your test automation platform strategy
Businesses are at the threshold of having to take decisions on the way forward in test automation. Whether to build it in-house or to look for a 3rd party platform to support the testing and test automation needs, has become a critical question to answer.
Building it in-house can come with its own challenges of time and costs, both of which are currently required to be kept to the minimum. While choosing a 3rd party testing tool may sound like entering unchartered waters, the choice allows organisations to increase their testing capacity without expensive internal hires. Using the right automation tool is essential to deliver high-quality test automation. With technological advancements, test automation tools can now merge with relative ease into an organisation’s existing development cycle and help quickly run thousands of tests at once.
When deciding on in-house or 3rd party, organisations have to assess their current, pressing needs and also keep in mind the future strategy.
To help you, we have listed out essential points that have to be considered while selecting a 3rd party platform to help you reduce product cycle time and carry out testing rapidly.
- Ensure that the platform has the capability to support Web applications, mobile apps, desktop applications, hybrid applications, chatbots and Robotics Process Automation. It should also extend the capability to test legacy applications as it consumes huge efforts in terms of testing and test maintenance.
- The platform should support UI testing, API testing and ETL testing. While UI changes occur rapidly owing to UX requirements, testing functionality using only the UI is not sufficient. So, testing at the API level is important. When it comes to predictive maintenance of devices, for example, testing the last mile using UI will be of limited value, and the platform should be able to help with ETL testing as well.
- The platform should offer uniform test model and processes across different types of testing as it will make test maintenance, training, and adoption easier.
- The platform should provide easier test authoring with the feature to have English-like test cases as it helps non-technical people interpret the test cases. This is another critical consideration. There are many platforms that only reduce the skill-requirement; however, they still require a lot of people who have to feed the platform with user story level details. Such tools will improve the situation a bit but will not support dramatic transformation. IDEs will enable automation engineers, but the productivity improvement is abysmal.
- The platforms should not monopolise and should work in a federated environment. Users should be able to integrate it with their organization’s ALM, should be able to use their choice of execution environment, should be able to connect to CI/CD environment, should still be able to generate reports in the formats that you have standardised on.
- The platform must align with the current 5th generational test automation framework that leverages machine learning. Let me hasten to add that it’s not about technology for the sake of it. It must ultimately help with specific business goals. Look for platforms that help with regression suite optimisation, execution time reduction, and that supports analysis of results.
- The platform should help users to keep pace with the changes in the software application. Software being the business differentiator in the digital economy, goes through faster refreshes. Testing cannot be a bottleneck.
- The platform should support test driven development and behaviour driven development. This is where record and play based tools fail.
- The platform must be easy to use for a domain user without much training and without needing much technical background. Business Analysts, Subject Matter Experts, Product Owners, Test Engineers and Automation Engineers should all be able to use. Bandwidth constraints must go away.
- Last but not the least, the platform must be price sensitive.
There were times when every company would have invested in an automation framework but struggled to productize and could never achieve appreciation in automation. In the past five years or so there has been a lot of innovation in the space of testing and test automation. Today, there are players including in the start-up ecosystem, that are focused on testing and test automation platforms leveraging cutting edge technologies. It is time for businesses to embrace third party platforms than having to build one so that they can achieve scaled test automation. This will enable organisations to focus on their core business and allow them to free up bandwidth and dollars at the same time. Collaboration and agility are the need of the hour!!