The Rise of Enterprise Application Testing

Digital disruption has fundamentally reshaped the business landscape over the past two decades, and in the past year the trend has accelerated in ways few could have foreseen, making existing digital transformation plans urgent. To meet the increase in digital demand, companies are accelerating their plans for cloud migration, DevOps transformation and enterprise application modernization. However, many organizations and CIOs realize how complicated modernization can be.

The highly integrated nature of most enterprise applications further complicates efforts. According to MuleSoft Connectivity Benchmark 2020 the average organization now uses over 900 applications, and a single enterprise workflow can touch dozens of these applications through microservices and APIs.

To ensure that business processes continue to work, testers should replicate the work done by users across multiple applications and ensure that none of these workflows are impacted when updating the one of the apps. This means that tests should work seamlessly across multiple applications, architectures, and interfaces. Whether your organization is adopting new technologies, gradually modernizing legacy systems, or both, leveraging automated software testing means there’s no balance between innovation and risk mitigation – you can go quickly, safely.

Align testing with DevOps and Agile models
In order to align innovation and testing, many organizations are shifting enterprise application delivery to Agile and DevOps models. While this is an invaluable approach to bringing new software updates and features, it also tightens the time frame to thoroughly test new code, which is often reported as the biggest delay in the process of delivery.

Therefore, software testing modernization represents the most significant opportunity to improve delivery times. The faster delivery teams can ship updates, the faster the organization can create innovations that streamline business processes and unlock new revenue streams.

Hypercare puts you at risk
To overcome testing challenges, some organizations have moved away from extensive pre-launch testing in favor of hypercare. This is a post-release period that can last weeks or months when an organization’s most talented (and usually most expensive) resources dedicate their time to fixing production defects quickly. Hypercare recognizes that professional users are unlikely to catch all flaws in pre-release testing, but this is not an adequate replacement: tied up resources means the innovation lag continues to grow, As costs increase, so do risks.

Organizations better learn to prioritize and deliberately test specific aspects of their software using a risk-based approach. However, designing an effective risk-based testing strategy requires collaboration between business users and IT, and that’s much easier said than done.

Use a risk-based approach
Risk-based testing improves quality and reduces production defects. It can also significantly reduce software testing effort. This approach shifts the focus from test coverage to risk coverage. While both metrics are important, incorporating risk coverage into the test strategy makes it easier to align testing activities with business goals.

Risk coverage tells you what percentage of business risk is covered by test cases. It often happens that 10% of a test suite covers 80% of the business risk. This approach greatly reduces the number of tests needed to deliver high-quality builds to production.

A risk-based approach is also useful in the event of a major upgrade or migration. Some enterprise application vendors offer readiness checks, but companies should consider requesting advanced assessments from third parties. These advanced assessments focus on identifying the impacts of the upgrade on development, testing, integration, and security. The result is a clear picture of the risk the upgrade poses, the tests that need to be run, and the test cases that are redundant or no longer needed in the new environment.

Scale Test Automation
The key to cost reduction lies in an organization’s ability to effectively scale test automation. With test automation, organizations can dramatically improve test coverage and catch defects much earlier in the release lifecycle when they are less expensive to fix.

Organizations can scale test automation both horizontally within applications and vertically within an application with low-code and no-code solutions. These solutions can be adopted and learned quickly by existing test resources, regardless of their technical skills. A model-based approach extends the benefits even further, by organizing test cases into reusable building blocks that can be reused across projects and teams. By increasing test resiliency, this approach eliminates the high maintenance costs associated with script-based tools.

As an infrastructure that supports the entire enterprise, enterprise applications are at the heart of both internal and customer-facing innovation. Modernizing this infrastructure gives companies a solid foundation for digital transformation, but only if they can do so without introducing business risk. The complex nature of these applications, coupled with misconceptions about the level of testing required, means that many companies face an uphill quality battle that could stall transformation efforts.

Companies that recognize the importance of a modern testing approach that is aligned with business goals, measures risk, and can effectively scale up, are expected to realize significant gains in 2021.