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.

Top 3 reasons why a good Test Data Management strategy is critical

The world is considering the growing importance of data to develop and leverage new and emerging technologies for a variety of purposes. As the technology landscape evolves, software development companies need to adapt and grow rapidly to stay afloat. For that, they need to embrace new technologies, approaches, strategies, processes and indulge in principles such as DevOps, agile, continuous deployment and test automation. When testing software applications, virtually everyone has a data crisis, and test data management is critical to achieving a reliable test automation strategy. The Test completeness and coverage depend primarily on the quality of the available test data. Software teams often lack access to the necessary test data, which fuels the need for better test data management. Quality data availability can ensure successful software testing.

Significance of Test Data Management (TDM)

Test data management is one of the major challenges we face in the software industry. A good test data management strategy becomes necessary for any success of the project. Efficient test data management ensures optimum return on investment, and complements the testing efforts for maximum performance and coverage levels, reducing delays in the testing and development process. TDM is gaining popularity as it implements the methodology of structured engineering to evaluate data specifications for all potential business scenarios and allows easy availability of structured and well-segmented data. Data masking, data refresh, sub-setting, Extract Transform Load (ETL) and synthetic development standardized by Test Data Management (TDM) are some of the primary TDM operations. Test Data Management ensures that test data-related issues and vulnerabilities are detected and addressed before production, enabling the implementation of quality applications at the right time.

What is Test Data Management (TDM)?

TDM is a method of obtaining and managing the data needs of a test automation process with minimal user intervention. It merely means generating non-production data sets that accurately imitate the actual data of the organization, so that system and application developers can perform accurate and legitimate system tests. The TDM process involves phases such as planning, analysis, design, build, and maintenance of test data. TDM guarantees the accuracy of the test data, the quantity, the right format and the timely fulfilment of the test data requirements.

The Need for TDM

Failure to have a good test data management strategy can have devastating implications for businesses. If the test data is not managed and treated sensibly, it can lead to delays in the process of testing and production causing a detrimental effect on the company, as the go-to-market pace of the application will be affected, resulting in business losses. Through setting up a dedicated test data management team and a systemic TDM process, both the company and the customer would benefit greatly. Here we’ve therefore listed three main reasons why it should be imperative to give priority to your organization’s solid data management strategy.

TDM reduces testing time accelerating application time to market

The main objective of TDM is not only the quality of the data but also its availability. TDM has a dedicated service-level agreement (SLAs) data provisioning team that guarantees the timely availability of data. TDM tools promote quick identification of scenarios and the development of the corresponding data sets. With flexible sets of test data accessible over time, testers can focus on real testing rather than worrying about data creation, reducing the overall test run time. Adequate test data, compact test design and execution cycles all lead to smoother and more accurate testing, which in turn allows faster time to market for applications.

TDM guarantees data security and compliance

Organizations that adopt emerging technologies and the digital world store and transmit a significant amount of sensitive data electronically. Although cloud services and data virtualization offers enormous business benefit, it also poses a threat to confidential data. Tech firms are bound to comply with specific legislation and regulatory requirements by the authorities to protect sensitive customer test data else it could result in severe financial or legal losses, damaging the credibility of the company. Since data masking is one of the critical element of a TDM process, you can quickly and easily mask sensitive information through the use of TDM tools and can also produce reports and perform compliance analysis. TDM strategy guarantees the privacy of confidential data, giving priority to data security and compliance.

TDM prevents duplicate test data copies

In a project, teams can replicate various copies of the same production data for their use resulting in duplicate copies that lead to misuse of storage space. With several redundant copies of production data, both maintenance and operational costs get impacted due to the increase in data volumes. Data can be managed efficiently with a good test data management plan, minimizing high storage costs associated with hundreds of duplicate copies of production data. TDM’s data subsetting function allows selective test data extraction enabling all teams to use the same database, resulting in partial duplication and diligently making use of storage space. TDM adds significant value to different teams with approved access points to its central data repository that can easily give each test team an own (masked) test data set that is refreshable on demand.

Quality data and improved test data coverage are the main benefits of a TDM process. Adopting an enterprise test data solution will dramatically reduce risk, increase quality and reduce operating costs. Together with IBM InfoSphere Optim, Estuate has deployed robust test data management solutions for automated data management, unified data governance, data identification and analysis. We have the most efficient test data management solutions that can solve the complexities of your test data and eventually accomplish business goals more proficiently.

Application Archiving and Retirement Solutions with IBM Optim

Most organizations struggle and face challenges to handle data growth effectively. They have large volumes of data stored in different data repositories, which are likely to expand exponentially in years to come. This growth causes operational and storage issues that create havoc with application performance and maintenance.

When data volumes ramp up from gigabytes to terabytes and petabytes, the cost of online storage increases dramatically. Users need solutions that provide quick access to on-demand data with minimal latency, but also reduce overall storage costs.

The solution to this challenge is now easy to achieve with the Estuate’s Optim Data Growth Solutions that offers the potential to archive historical transaction data from mission-critical database applications. Application data is relocated more safely to a secure archive, thereby helping streamline the production database to help reduce overhead processing efforts.

Optim Data Growth Solution

It addresses the detrimental effect of rapid data growth by securely archiving historical data to a stable archive. It facilitates enterprises to accomplish universal access to archives for retention compliance, legal demands, and long-term use.

Archiving allows rapid application upgrades as it lessens the amount of data to be migrated, sinking downtime and helps achieve timely project completion. To monitor the proliferation and maintenance of applications across an enterprise, Optim allows companies to securely remove legacy or obsolete (decommissioning) applications while still allowing access to the underlying data records.

The features of the Optim Archive includes:

  • Archive— Archive related data sets from the server while retaining access to archived data for compliance, evaluation, and reporting purposes.
  • Browse— It allows you to browse your archived data without restoring it to a database. This feature enables you to verify the archived data before deletion or restoration.
  • Delete— It allows you to perform archived data deletion from the database. The delete process can be implemented as part of the archive process or deferred at a later time after verifying the archived data.
  • Restore— It allows you to restore a complete set or a selection of archived data to the source database or another database.

The benefits of using Optim archive:

  • Manage application data and data warehouse growth to improve data control and reduce storage costs.
  • Apply business rules and standards for safer segregation and archiving of historical data and strengthening compliance.
  • Improve data lifecycle management to make storage processes more efficient.
  • Use single scalable solutions throughout databases, data warehouses, applications, operating systems, and platforms.

Estuate’s data growth solutions provide Application Archiving and Retirement Services to give you a complete enterprise application solution. The task of identifying and retiring rarely used applications is simplified. All your data is preserved safely and securely until corporate rules, or industry regulations require its disposal. With Estuate’s solutions, you can improve overall application performance and support data-retention compliance programs and lower IT costs.

How to Identify and Manage Software Testing Risks

Enormous data growth rates are remarkably high and undeniable. A tsunami of digital information is igniting the engine of today’s corporate industry, and many businesses are striving to ride the data wave to success.

Yet many businesses are not adequately attentive to all the potential liabilities sneaking in the depths of this data, including the risks associated in using personally identifiable customer or employee information (PII) for application development and testing purposes. There’s real potential for serious legal and noncompliance, data security and data leakage risks when companies fail to guard this data.

According to 2019 MidYear QuickView Data Breach Report the first six months of 2019 have witnessed more than 3,800 publicly revealed breaches exposing an unbelievable 4.1 billion compromised records. The striking fact is that around 3.2 billion of those records were exposed by just eight data breaches.

It goes without saying that the PR aftershocks from such an incident can be devastating to even a well-regarded company. But let’s be cynical for a moment and look only at the cold, hard financial impact. As per a report, the average cost to the breached company could be $202 per compromised record and $6.6 million per data incident.

In addition, the FDIC may levy fines from $5,000 to $1,000,000 per day, and GLB sections 501 and 503 enable criminal penalties.

Of course, we don’t need to talk you out of having a data security incident. Nobody chooses to have one. But when it comes to prevention, we believe many companies are still dropping the ball.

Data Privacy Risk: It’s a Growing Concern

How to stop the bleeding? It seems like a tall order. According to an independent Oracle user group, 62% of organizations can’t prevent their super users from reading or tampering with sensitive information. Most are unable even to detect these incidents. And only one out of four organizations believes its data assets are securely configured.

On top of that, we’re still in the growth curve for worldwide internet usage. The number of online transactions is increasing exponentially. Personal financial data is flying around in all directions. As more people gain access to the Internet, the number of criminals online will increase accordingly.

Don’t let your company be their next victim.

Partly due to the financial and PR issues described above, partly due to consumer privacy concerns, and partly due to an increasingly stringent regulatory environment, safeguarding data privacy has become a top priority in virtually every industry.

Companies that are serious about preventing incidents should focus on securing any and all copies of their production database. As we’ve discussed on this blog, it’s not uncommon for large companies to maintain 10 copies of production – full clones used for testing, training, and development purposes.

To make matters worse, the people who have access to these copies of production are often “outsiders” – third-party consultants who you may not have vetted as carefully as your actual employees. Giving them full access to sensitive corporate data creates a significant privacy risk.

Masking Data to Minimize Risk

Where to begin privatizing data? Many organizations struggle just to figure out where all their at-risk data lives in the corporate environment. The next step is to put in place a simple yet reliable mechanism for masking, or scrambling that data so that it will still be useful for testing but won’t endanger the privacy of your customers and employees.

IBM InfoSphere Optim Data Privacy is a solution that minimizes risk without slowing down your testing. By masking personal information, IBM Optim protects confidential customer and employee data and ensures compliance with all levels of privacy regulations.

Of course, masking your data is only part of the game. It’s also a best practice to subset your production database, rather than use full copies of production, for testing and other non-production activities. IBM InfoSphere Optim Test Data Management facilitates that process. And when you use Optim Data Privacy and Optim Test Data Management in tandem, you can actually apply data privacy rules to production data while you’re subsetting it.

It’s a pretty good one-two punch – much more desirable than the one-two punch of a costly data breach and the ensuing PR nightmare.