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Perfecting a digital transformation strategy

(Image credit: Image Credit: Chombosan / Shutterstock)

In today’s digital world, Agile and DevOps are just some of the practices which are increasingly taking centre stage. This robust, high quality software testing is vital to success. However, as the complexity and size of these software projects increase, customers and users alike tend to get demanding when there is a requirement to contain costs and release on time. As a result, it can be become a challenge to effectively carry out software testing.

Test automation is the clarion call of the digital age and not only that, it is imperative for businesses today. It can give flagging digital transformation projects a new lease of life and provide new ones with a head start.

To put it simply – test automation distinguishes the winners from the losers and developing a best practice testing process for any business is fundamental. As digital technologies pick up speed, businesses need to begin to consider mature test automation practices in order to minimise manual efforts whilst simultaneously providing quicker feedback and reducing the time to market for services and products.

It goes without saying that testing is a time-consuming task. Solely relying on manual tests can not only increase defect leakage, but compromise quality, escalate costs and increase time-to-market. As a knock-on effect, this can lead to customer churn, as well as loss of revenue and reduced market share. By automating the end-to-end business process with test automation, businesses can eradicate defects and human errors due to the monotony of repetitive manual tasks. As an end result, businesses will have greater confidence in the rapid shipping of product changes.

Identifying risks to the performance of an application is a good way to start. It’s 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, make it up as you go along approach to testing is a risky game to play. This is needless when you consider this is the very thing testing is intended to reduce. However, if businesses deploy a comprehensive approach to testing, it can diagnose flaws 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.

In today’s digital age, the pressure is on for businesses to innovate, 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 get it right first time, businesses should centre their testing plans around the following factors:

Weighing up the customer experience and journeys

Businesses should be looking towards incorporating test methodologies and metrics that track customer experience parameters, ensuring that the product or application is omni-channel and consistent throughout. Testing teams must also be innovative in designing test cases that cover a wide variety of customer journeys for the application or product.

Business pledge

In demonstrating the value of software testing to the business, testing teams must focus on optimising functional testing activities across channels. Digital enterprise customers benefit from an enriched end user experience through reliable software testing and quality assurance services, which are backed by innovative solutions ­­– so businesses must ensure that the product or application is omni-channel and consistent throughout.

Consider data

With the recently implemented GDPR regulations that have come into play, the issues surrounding security for testing teams are more important than ever. Ensuring that customers’ assets and personal data is secured is a priority in many aspects of business – this is something that is no different when it comes to testing.

Security testing should be considered as a priority when it comes to identifying 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. The bottom line is 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.

Automation vs manual

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, robust automation frameworks should be set in place, to ensure quicker test cycles, and the development community needs to be trained and invested in using and contributing to the framework. Quality assurance no longer just the testers’ jobs.

Though the adoption of test automation there is a growing need for increasing the effectiveness, efficiency and coverage of software testing. It is important to comprehend that test automation has an initial cost associated with it. If this is 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.

Digital assurance platform

It is imperative that the testing service organisation has a robust and comprehensive digital assurance platform. This platform will aid in creating a digital assurance strategy. The strategy will achieve a multitude of essential aims providing the correct tools, reusable assets, methodologies, and measurement metrics to create a superior customer experience. Enterprises that embark on a digital transformation programme must align the adoption of digital technologies with a clear digital assurance strategy.

For us, it is undeniable that test automation in digital transformation sets the winners apart from the losers. With more and more enterprises embarking on these programmes, there is an enormous pressure to release software faster to provide better, more efficient services. While deploying an effective software testing process is a precondition for developing software that’s fit for purpose and delivers on business objectives. If these processes are performed haphazardly, it can jeopardise success.

With the day of the standalone application all but gone, mounting pressures are justified. Testing must increasingly cover end-to-end user journeys that cross traditional digital and physical boundaries.

Gordon Cullum, CTO, Mastek
Image Credit: Chombosan / Shutterstock

Gordon Cullum is the CTO at Mastek, an agile digital transformation solutions business engineering excellence within the UK, US and India.