View from India: Test automation helps businesses stay agile

As businesses are becoming more agile, there’s a growing demand for comprehensive, almost error-free testing in order to scale up the overall development of products. Since new technologies like Internet of Things (IoT) and big data analytics help businesses stay agile, test automation is becoming integral to the ecosystem.

Take the case of Internet of Things (IoT), which connects devices. “IoT is already there, but IoT testing is now catching up. The need for testing arises because IoT has a complex hardware-software interface. The presence of more than one device means there are protocols and platforms that require a strategic approach to risk and this is where test automation fits in as it eliminates the risk factor when devices connect in a seamless manner,” said Rajesh Kannan, independent testing professional, speaking at Test Con 2018, a conference for test-automation professionals organised by Clavent.

There are many tech trends like pervasive technology and predictive analysis that are increasingly relying on test automation. “Mobile wallets are examples of pervasive technology and predictive analysis. M-wallets require test automation as the data that it generates poses a threat to financial security,” explained Renu Rajani, VP, Infosys. Payment gateways in mobile devices give rise to numerous aspects related to security risk, performance, network availability and connectivity.

Generally, this is how it works. Testers code the test and tweak the code as and when required. Continuous testing happens in order to maintain consistent quality of the software. Continuous testing results in saving time and cost, besides achieving a near error-free state. Naturally, it gives scope to focus on business requirements like customer needs, functionality and fine-tuning the product. Thereby, return on investment (RoI) isn’t difficult to achieve.

Test automation is being sought after because the need for speed and scale has encouraged IT projects to automate much more than before. Applications are moving to the cloud more rapidly, because of which cloud infrastructure testing is also on the rise.

Against this background, testing teams can no longer work in silos. Many organisations want testing teams to co-locate with the development teams. That’s because testing in agile iterations requires a ‘shift left’ approach, whereby testing starts much earlier in the application lifecycle. Consequently, the responsibility of testing lies with the developers, due to which they co-ordinate with testers for test automation. Together they work towards creating an end-to-end automation across testing phases.

Test automation - previously just a ‘nice to have’ - has become a necessity for a number of technologies including cognitive computing. Going by the very nature of cognitive intelligence, it analyses and gleans structured and unstructured data in a precise way. It can recognise terms and draw connections between them wherever required. Cognitive intelligence is represented by connected autonomous vehicles (CAV) among other industries. CAVs use different technologies to communicate with the driver, other cars on the road (V2V) and roadside infrastructure (V2I). CAVs are well-connected, they send out notifications and many times the passenger has an inherent fear of the CAV colliding with another vehicle. “The job of a tester is not just confined to the machine, but it’s also necessary to ensure that the product [CAV] integrates with the environment,” observed Rajani.   

Typically, test automation is required in places where a large amount of data is generated. It’s also suited for situations when applications have common functionalities. “Tests can be automated at any layer and this includes the unit, application programme interface (API) and graphical user interface (GUI), as each layer serves a different purpose. It’s good to automate stable applications, apart from data-dependent scenarios and multi devices. However, it’s difficult to automate dynamic web pages,” said Ganesh Muralidharan, director, Capgemini.

Technology in digital businesses comprises chat, fintech, analytics and big data, 3D printing, IoT, smart machines and cloud computing. The speed at which digital businesses adapt, transform and scale brings along new threats related to security and resilience and hence newer opportunities - in this case, it’s test automation.  

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