Test Automation in Agile Product Development

The ongoing demand for user-friendly, cutting-edge technology business applications has compelled software companies to deliver stable, cost-effective products in shorter time frames. Aiming for extraordinary product speed without compromising product quality is often a challenge for most companies. As a consequence, when it comes to product development, businesses understand the value of test automation in achieving both product quality and a faster time to market. With an inevitable arbitrate between quality and time-to-market, test automation often outperforms conventional testing methods and helps businesses stay ahead of the competition.

Need for Automation Testing

Product creation is a time-consuming process. When it comes to software development, we absolutely cannot ignore testing because it is such an essential part of the process. Though the agile method of product development is a quicker, less expensive, and better approach, it is vital to automate the testing processes, which saves time and offers insight into errors that manual testing methods might not be able to detect. Automation has more tremendous advantages than conventional testing methods, enabling businesses to develop high-quality products faster and with fewer defects. Companies that use agile development methods employ automation testing to handle continuous development and deployment.

Automation Testing Benefits in Agile Development

Automation testing serves as the basis of Agile software development methodology because of the benefits that it offers. Automation enhances the revenue, brand recognition and retention of customers.It aids companies in meeting industry standards, establishing market authority, and ensuring the timely delivery of high-quality software or applications.

Here are some substantial benefits of implementing automation in agile development.

Quicker Go To Market

Automation enhances the overall efficiency of the product development. Since testing is performed at each stage of the agile process, any issues or bugs detected are corrected early. This saves significant time and reduces the software’s time to market. Automated tests are quick to complete and can be repeated any number of times. Automation testing allows for more frequent updates, faster app improvements and enhancements, a shorter product development cycle, and faster time-to-market delivery.

Accelerated Speed & Accuracy

Test automation reduces human errors dramatically, resulting in more accurate test outcomes. Automated test cases are reusable, meaning they can be run several times in the same or different ways. Automation allows test practitioners to focus on more complex, case-specific assessments while automated software performs routine, often redundant, and time-consuming tests. Automation thus reduces time and effort by delivering results more quickly.

Higher Test Coverage & Performance

Automated software tests vastly increase software quality by increasing the scope and depth of testing. It allows for more detailed analysis and evaluation of various software components, which is rarely possible through a manual testing approach. With automated testing, you can quickly build a large number of test cases, even complicated and lengthy ones. It enables you to execute hundreds of automated test cases at once, allowing you to quickly test the app across various platforms and devices. This is something you can’t do if you decide to test the application manually. Furthermore, automatic tests can be performed with little human intervention, resulting in greater resource efficiency.

Cost Reduction

In the long run, automated testing is less expensive because once you’ve developed the test scripts, you can reuse them at any time without incurring extra costs. Although automated agile testing is often seen as an expensive endeavor, the initial investment in automation will pay off quickly. The return on investment is measured by the number of automated tests; the higher the count, the higher the ROI. Furthermore, defect documentation in each sprint and routine repository maintenance contribute to early defect identification, which decreases post-production failures and, as a result, project costs.

Test Automation Challenges

Despite the numerous advantages of an automation framework, implementing test automation is not easy. While there are multiple advantages to product engineering automation, there are numerous challenges when it comes to implementing automation testing in an agile environment. The most significant barrier is the upfront expense, which includes training, tooling, configuring, automating, and so on. Also, legacy applications may not be compatible with newer DevOps and Test Automation tools. Since Open Source tools are widely used for automation, a number of security concerns are raised. As a result, a well-organized test automation process may help mitigate these issues.

Agile practices lead companies to better and more advanced software development. The approach to automation testing in an agile environment is determined by the project’s requirements, as different projects need different automation tools. To get the most out of agile automation testing, we suggest that businesses looking to automate should find a strategic partner with prior experience in product engineering automation to increase their chances of success. One can find many IT service providers who excel in automation testing services, and Estuate is one among them. Consult our experts to learn how to increase efficiency and productivity with a well-thought-out automation strategy.

Another Mega Data Breach. This Time It’s Quora

Quora says 100 million users hit by a malicious attack. Here are the facts.

2018 was the year of massive technology advancements. From where we started this year to where we have come, the progress has been phenomenal. We saw some of the most breakthrough technology trends, such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Natural Language Processing and Internet of Things making it big in the business world. But at the same time, 2018 has also been a year of some of the most shocking and alarming cybercrimes.

Although the Facebook data breach made the most news, there were bigger cyber security incidents at several other top business houses including Panera, Under Armour and even Aadhar and Marriott International to name a few. These data breaches are believed to have compromised personal information of hundreds of millions of users and customers. And now, the hackers are back with a major data breach; this time at Quora.

Launched in 2010, Quora is an online community where people can post questions related to over 400,000 topics and get answers/advice from others. Over the years, Quora has grown to become the biggest online Q&A portal with at least 300 million monthly users and 300 million unique monthly visitors.

The company recently disclosed a mega data breach stating that nearly 100 million users were affected by unauthorized access to one of its systems by a malicious third party. The breach is said to have occurred on 30th November, 2018. Soon after the incident was confirmed, the Quora team notified its potentially affected users through an email.

“On Friday we discovered that some user data was compromised by a third party who gained unauthorized access to our systems. We’re still investigating the precise causes and in addition to the work being conducted by our internal security teams, we have retained a leading digital forensics and security firm to assist us. We have also notified law enforcement officials”, the email stated.

According to the initial investigation, the hackers could have possibly gained access to the following information.

  • Account and user information including name, email address, IP, user ID, encrypted password, user account settings, personalization data

  • Public actions and content including drafts, such as questions, answers, comments, blog posts, upvotes

  • Data imported from linked networks like contacts, demographic information, interests, access tokens

  • Non-public actions, such as answer requests, downvotes, thanks, etc.

“It is our responsibility to make sure things like this don’t happen, and we failed to meet that responsibility. We are continuing to work very hard to remedy the situation, and we hope over time to prove that we are worthy of your trust”, the email further stated.

Quora hasn’t disclosed any information about who the hackers might be. However, as an immediate corrective action, Quora invalidated the accounts of all the affected users and suggested them to reset their passwords.’

What does it teach us?

With each incident we’re reminded that we’re not completely secure. Every data breach is an alarm; a signal to never let your guard down. There are hidden lessons for us in every major data breach. They teach us that

  • Implementing modern technology comes with potential risks and these risks should be acknowledged with appropriate measures.

  • Cyber-attacks can have huge repercussions and can lead to major reputational loss. Building cyber resilience is not a good practice anymore, it is a must-have.

  • Insider threats and minor negligences can lead to huge information leakages; hence every data privacy practice must be followed with due diligence.

In conclusion, data breaches can occur anytime, anywhere, regardless of the information security measures we take. The best probable way to prevent cyber-crime or contain the impact of an attack at your enterprise is to keep your data privacy software updated, employ multi-layered, more reliable cybersecurity solutions and remain extra-vigilant, more than ever before!

How to avoid a data breach at your enterprise?

Data breaches can happen anytime, anywhere. How well are you prepared to fight one?
As technology continues to drive businesses, it also continues to make them vulnerable to cybercrime. Data breaches at huge business groups such as Equifax and Facebook literally shook the IT world. Now, Equifax is the third largest credit reporting organization in the US, and Facebook needs no introduction. Who would have expected a mega-breach at such reputable enterprises?

But that’s what has startled companies across the globe. Little negligence is all it takes to cause a security incident and to shatter your brand name in the market. The aftermaths of a security breach can be devastating. They can bring down your reputation awfully, put a dent on your finances, and leave you juggling with legal actions and lawsuits.

CEOs and CXOs are realizing that data breaches can happen in any organization, big or small; and feeling totally secure about their data could be a huge mistake. Here are some measures that can help you avoid a data breach at your enterprise.

Internal Awareness

First things first, ensure that your management and employees are totally aware of the potential cybersecurity risks that your industry and company is vulnerable to, and the repercussions that a data breach can have. Building internal awareness includes developing standard security guidelines, clear BYOD policies, and ensuring that all employees are making prudent use of sensitive business data.

Secure Networking and Updated Software

We just cannot deny the significance of a strong and secure enterprise network. Invest in a trusted corporate VPN that ensures safe encryption of sensitive data at source. Another key concern is that data driven organizations are subject to constant software and technology advances. The older your software, the more vulnerable it is to data breaches. Keeping up with software updates through strong data security solutions will keep you fairly outside the radius of a data breach.

Using Cloud Based Technology

Cloud servers tend to have an extremely high level of security, and are encrypted and monitored by expert teams which can inspect and identify malicious attacks immediately. Top companies around the globe are moving to cloud software solutions to safeguard their businesses from security breaches. Using cloud based technology to save your firm’s sensitive data and client information will give you a better control over your enterprise data and back you up in times of emergency.

Vulnerability assessments and Regular Security Audits

It is important to keep a check on vulnerability of your business data and regularly monitor areas which may be exposed to malicious activities. A regular security audit brings out the clear picture of your data and acts as a checklist to work towards data protection. It highlights the areas where real problems exist, and helps you take the correct measures to prevent cybersecurity attacks.

Information security is a highly sensitive area for all businesses because it has a massive impact on what matters the most; the customers. In a world of hacks, scams and cyber security breaches, a little negligence can cost you dearly. But with the right firefighting tools and effective data privacy measures, you can prevent cyber-risk from making a catastrophic impact on your business.

What to look for in your Mobile Business Intelligence tool?

Selecting the right Mobile Business Intelligence tool is essential for outstanding business growth. Here are 4 key factors to consider while choosing a mobile BI tool for your enterprise.

Information is power today! However, since most of this information is scattered and raw, businesses need tools and methods to turn this data into actionable insights and make profitable decisions.

This has multiplied the importance of analytics and business intelligence for data-driven businesses. There are several factors that urge businesses to invest in Business Intelligence. It improves visibility of data, enables clearer decision making and brings businesses closer to established goals.

In the recent times, Business Intelligence paradigms have increasingly shifted toward equipping more employees with critical information. The proliferation of mobile technology has helped facilitate this trend, resulting in new considerations for BI software. There are literally hundreds of mobile BI tools that have emerged over time, which is why it is important for companies to approach BI procurement with a clear framework. Here are some key features to look for in your mobile BI tool for a profitable business growth.

Architecture

Your tool should be accessible and properly formatted on all mobile devices and operating systems, including smartphones and tablets. This becomes primarily important because users of business information are spread across various devices and technologies, and every user must be able to make use of BI insights effectively. Many BI vendors are now offering customized mobile intelligence solutions to cater to varied business specifications.

Usability

Accessing BI on a mobile device implies the user’s expectation for simplicity and convenience. Particularly as businesses find more use for predictive analytics, mobile BI should have robust tools for generating new reports as well as sensible dashboards, making viewing and searching business information easily. Look for a tool that has a clear, easy-to-use design, and is able to offer the convenience of using a web-based dashboard on a small screen with minimum effort.

Integration

Companies benefit most with BI tools that integrate with device-specific features such as GPS and other mobile applications. Touch gesturing, integration with cameras, messaging and social media applications and geo-locational functionalities are some common integration features that most businesses seek in modern mobile BI tools. The ability to integrate BI software with other critical applications allows businesses to expand usability of information beyond analysis.

Visualizations

Analyzing raw data is crucial, but user-friendly reporting is equally essential for successful BI implementation. Effective BI tools transform key information into graphs, charts and other visualizations so users can easily make sense of it. Greater visibility leads to better understanding and improved decision making for employees and other stakeholders.

IT Assistance

Another key consideration before selecting a mobile BI tool is the availability of support services at all times. Mobile applications seldom undergo performance failures and breakdowns. Your BI vendor should be able to assist you with any issues and be available for immediate troubleshooting.

Pricing

When multiple BI tools with promising features and competitive prices are available in the market, selecting an ideal tool becomes a challenge. The pricing of a BI tool varies depending on the specifications required and business size. Go for a tool that delivers the maximum business value and fits your budget. An overpriced tool might increase your business cost and a cheap tool might not deliver the desired business benefit.

Mobile technology is growing at an unbelievable pace and so is Mobile Business Intelligence. Industries and businesses of diverse nature are now adopting mobile BI to attain a competitive edge, improve workflows and grow with technology. If you’re looking forward to blending the smartness of BI tools with the convenience of mobility, you know what to look for in your Mobile Business Intelligence tool.

Digital Transformation is beyond technology; it’s a culture change

Digital transformation is a buzzword that has taken the world by storm. Is it just about technology or there’s more to digital transformation?

It is a fast moving world, and technology is evolving each day with a rapid pace. The new age customer likes speed, innovation and convenience. That’s where enterprises began to realize the need to reinvent their business models and transform digitally. While most industry leaders are already en route digital transformation, several enterprises worldwide are gradually stepping up.

But what does it take to make this buzzword a business reality? How long does digital transformation really take? From a broad perspective, digital transformation is mostly about bringing in new technology and digitizing business processes. However, if you dig in deeper and take a closer look, there’s a lot more to it than just technology implementation. Digital Transformation is a culture; an ongoing, long-term process. It touches all aspects of an organization, including its various departments, its people, processes and policies.

Digital transformation is beyond digitization; it calls for a change in organizational culture. As a CIO, you must understand that there are several layers to digital transformation hidden beneath technology implementation. Here are 4 critical aspects to an enterprise-wide digital transformation apart from implementing technology innovations.

Change Management

Even the smallest of organizational changes are faced by employee resistance; and we’re talking of digital transformation here. Before you set on a journey to transforming your business digitally, it is important to ensure that your people are comfortable with the new change. There are three key stages to an effective change management in an organization.

Awareness – Educate your people about digital transformation, and the value it holds for the organization and them.
Assurance – Build confidence in your workforce that digital transformation is for good and it will make work easier for them.
Assistance – Support them throughout the transition phase. Be a mentor, be a guide.

Training and Development

Implementing innovative technology and latest applications is a great initiative, but it’s of no good if your people are not competent with it. As a CIO, it is an implied responsibility that you must train your workforce with the new technology coming in.

Conduct Learning & Development programs that equip them with the upcoming business processes and develop their skills to keep up with the change. It will not only prepare them for the upcoming digital transformation, but will also enhance their productivities. Additionally, it will help you retain valuable employees, and drive digital transformation smoothly.

Enterprise-wide Digitization

True digital transformation is when your entire organization is influenced digitally, including your front end activities, back end processes, day-to-day operations and complex business critical activities. It could be as simple as implementing and AI-enabled bot on your company website or as complex as automating your enterprise’s risk management practices.

Digital transformation is not an instant process. It takes months, even years for an enterprise to fully transform digitally. It is a continuous process that fetches long-term benefits for an enterprise. The best strategy to carry out an enterprise-wide digital transformation is to focus on one department (or process) at a time, and integrate them together over time.

Risk Assessment and Plan of Action

Digital transformation leads to massive business change. However, it carries a set of challenges and risks that need to be addressed cautiously. It involves huge investments and business efforts to implement or migrate to new technology. For successful digital transformation, it is critical that you deploy the right technology in the right department and choose the right implementation partner.

Before you start with the implementation, revisit the areas of risk and come up with a plan of action to cope up with the risks. It could be internal risks, such as lack of IT resources to carry out the project, or external factors like stringent governance regulations. A strategic risk assessment can help you manage any risks that come along and implement digitization successfully in your enterprise.

The whole idea behind digital transformation is to help businesses grow and stand out in the cut-throat competition. Successful digital transformation is digitization runs across your entire organization and your people, processes and policies are in sync with the digital revolution.

Prakash Balebail is the founder and CEO of Estuate. He comes with over two decades of experience in driving digital transformation across industries and strong expertise in disruptive technologies like AI, Automation, IoT and Machine Learning.

 

[Infographics] – Why Mobility?

Today mobile phones can do much more than making calls. There’s been a massive evolution in mobile technology. With an app for almost everything, mobile phones are an indispensable part of our daily lives. We’re in the era of handheld devices and chances are you are reading this infographic on your mobile too. Here are 5 ways mobility is impacting businesses.