Digital transformation is necessary for businesses to grow, to increase revenue and to reduce costs. However, when it comes to enterprise applications, there are additional challenges around customisations, updates and upgrades that IT teams must keep up with in addition to maintaining business-as-usual. Cost, speed, quality and risk are at the top of the agenda for safe and efficient releases of enterprise application updates, integrations and customisations.
So, how can businesses minimise the risk of enterprise application integrations? Tricentis sat down with DevOps experts to discuss the importance of de-risking enterprise application integrations by using end-to-end test automation tools.
Chris Trueman, SVP LiveCompare and Packaged Applications at Tricentis, set the scene. Testing is a vital part of the software development cycle, but it is increasingly the key business users who test enterprise applications after they go live rather than professional software testing experts. Although these key users best understand the requirements of the application, it requires the most expensive software talent to come in and fix the problem after a defect has been found - a process known as “hypercare”.
Identified defects are hugely expensive for a company, so the importance of cutting the “process tax” of a costly and low-quality hypercare approach cannot be undervalued. By eliminating hypercare, releases are sped up, testing time is reduced, and high-quality outcomes are delivered. However, just testing the end-to-end process is not enough; there is also a necessity to test the data integrity to maintain quality.
In addition to this, technology is constantly changing with the rise of low code and no-code development tools, which will result in an increase in the number of applications in organisations with more interface points. End-to-end enterprise application testing allows for data integrity issues to be tackled early on, subsequently, this increases data confidence, reduces business risk, and most importantly, business cost.
Chris then sat down for a fireside chat with Chandan Narkar (Global Head of Test at HSBC Global Services), Reg Wilkinson (Z DevOps Centre of Excellence Engineering Lead at Lloyds Banking Group), and Luke Barfield (Senior Director, Quality and Test at Calyx) to discuss the challenges of testing enterprise applications, as well as their respective end-to-end testing automation journeys.
The key challenge of enterprise application integrations was identified to be the speed versus quality dilemma. Organisations frequently struggle with the decision of “doing it fast versus doing it right”, as argued by Chandan. Operational timelines are always challenging, so there is little appetite for exhaustive testing. Therefore, without automation testing solutions, organisations must decide what is excluded in the testing process and weigh this against the risks of this decision. Some of the risks that organisations must consider during updates are: regulatory risk, business risk (if something goes wrong) and the risk of excluding continuous testing on customer quality. So how can organisations utilise end-to-end testing automation to tackle these challenges? Key conclusions were as such:
- Organisations need to understand their business needs better: By understanding what makes a business tick, organisations understand where to divert investment. End-to-end test automation enables more data-driven decision making. The comfort of old tools and legacy technology needs to be challenged with a new approach that includes programmers and engineers, but also everyone within an organisation, by utilising codeless tooling for a more democratised approach to testing.
- Defining the business requirements of the application, and picking the right tool: “Trusting the contract” of new software and updates is no longer good enough. Regardless if it is a customer-focused or internal application, the requirements of the application need to be defined. There is “no silver bullet” testing automation solution, therefore, specific criteria needs to be based on business needs and development processes have to be established before embarking on the automation journey and selecting the right testing tool. Businesses need to specify what they are trying to achieve from adopting the tool. Whether the focus is on the speed of delivery, a cost-benefit analysis, or whether it makes sense for their operational needs, pre-defined selection criteria should be generated before assessing the market tools. The stages were identified as analysing the people, processes, and then the tooling. The final stage of adopting an automation tool was simply summarised as “pick something, start small and then make a start”.
- Focusing on business value: Organisations need to adopt a cultural change. This can be done by evidencing the lack of value from only testing something once, and illustrating how continuous end-to-end test automation resolves and addresses software defects without the need for repeated testing. This value should be evidenced through metrics to get everyone within an organisation onboard to demonstrate continuous improvement. By making the value visible at all levels of the organisation, you demonstrate that the investment provides dividends, as well as improving the day to day job of everyone on the team. By focusing on operational value chains, you create a strong foundation for the operations lifecycle and justify the investment.
This event was in partnership with Tricentis, a software testing solution provider.