The Challenges of Testing in a Cloud Computing Environment

The Challenges of Testing in a Cloud Computing Environment

Cloud Services, as the experts say, are here to take enterprises from the Industrial era to the era of Information Accessibility.

What could be the most apparent instances of operating in a Cloud-based environment?

  • Updating your Mobile Applications on the go
  • Mailing / accessing some work documents outside your office premises
  • Updating your Facebook & WhatsApp status while commuting
  • Accessing your bank accounts and making transactions while you travel

These and many more benefits are today enabling small, medium, and large enterprises to solve small as well as big challenges to reach their highest potential.

Additionally, there are some evident reasons why big and small enterprises across the world are moving to the Cloud. Namely, higher efficiency, flexibility, disaster management / recovery, easy updates/upgrades, better collaboration, anywhere/anytime access, competitive edge; additionally, it also encourages to make the work environment more eco-friendly.

Sig Nag, research director at Gartner aptly states, “The market for public cloud services is continuing to demonstrate high rates of growth across all markets and Gartner expects this to continue through 2017”. With the trending growth of start-ups globally, there is a rising need to cut down infrastructure costs, faster time-to-market, and achieve higher ROI. These are amongst the most prominent reasons for the increasing popularity of Cloud services globally.

According to a recent Gartner report, Worldwide Public Cloud Services Market is estimated to reach $204 Billion in 2016. The highest growth will come from cloud system infrastructure services, which is projected to grow by 38.4 percent in 2016.

There is rising trend amongst enterprises today to adopt a digital business strategy, as the focus is shifting from redundant IT systems to a cloud-based environment.

Market reports estimate that as many as 90% of the organizations in UK are implementing Cloud-based services to meet their specific business objectives.

At the same time, the Cloud Computing environment poses a set of challenges, which organizations have to deal with. While this article intends to deliberate on the testing challenges in the Cloud Computing environment, it is imperative to get a quick grab on the challenges that the Cloud poses.

Mentioned below are some highlights:

  • Security Aspects: While the Cloud environment offers you a ready back-up and a robust disaster recovery plan, there has been a persistent concern over the security aspects of hosting your data on the Cloud. It ranks amongst the most prominent concerns mentioned by users, as an essential chunk of services are outsourced. This results in risks like data integrity and availability of services.
  • ROI Estimation: In spite of the fact that Cloud ensures higher ROI, there is a concern amongst business folks about the commercial viability or business outcome of Cloud adoption. Nevertheless, this aspect can be addressed by mapping the same with the organization’s objectives of adopting Cloud services.
  • Quality of Service: Considering specific services on the Cloud are outsourced to third parties, businesses are sceptical about moving business critical application to the Cloud. There are concerns pertaining to factors like availability, accessibility, performance, and scalability.
  • Performance Related Issues: There is a concern regarding the network bandwidth offered by Cloud services. This may negatively impact execution and delivery of complex application, as Cloud applications still continue to be bandwidth intensive.
  • Integration Related Concerns: Some applications in production need to integrate / connect with other Cloud applications, which could be on-premise. For instance, applications that are currently operating with existing data structures. There is uncertainty amongst businesses regarding the interoperability of these applications hosted on the Cloud.

While robust testing frameworks and strategies help enterprises get the most of their investment in the Cloud, there are a set of challenges related to testing on the Cloud. The foremost factor to focus on while testing is to ensure that the specific functional requirements are addressed. Let’s take a quick view of the 2 fundamental aspects of testing in the Cloud environment.

  • Functional Testing: With this you can evaluate and ensure that you are getting value for your buck. It further confirms that the business requirements are met. Functional tests such as System Verification testing, Acceptance testing, and Interoperability testing ensure that the business requirements are being met.
  • Non-Functional Testing: The Non-functional testing approach focuses on web application based tests that help ensure that all the expected outcomes are met. Some key areas of non-functional testing are: Accessibility, Performance, Security, Recovery, and Scalability tests.

Challenges of working in the Cloud environment intersect with the challenges of testing applications on the Cloud. The reason being, it entails testing applications across various modules and environments to identify issues.

The recommended way out is to utilize test services that operate on the Cloud, which provide the required environment for testing.

Depending on the Cloud for performance and all the possible boons is a choice that enterprises are making consciously. Drilling down, let’s focus on comprehending the testing challenges in order to address them effectively.

  • Developing the environment: There is a need for specific configurations for testing purposes, for instance, related to servers, storage, or network. This leads to issues during testing, as it is a challenge to emulate the specific customer scenario / environment in the Cloud environment.
  • Interaction between components: Another challenge that is commonly faced is during integration testing, where the tests are conducted on the network, database, servers, and various devices. When the applications are hosted on the Cloud, testers have inadequate control on the environment. This further amplifies when there is an interaction between all the components, where there could be risks pertaining to crash, breakdown of the network or crashing of the servers.
  • Replicating the user environment: The business applications to be tested are installed in an environment that is not under the control of the tester. The tester is expected to test the applications in a scenario where the user would operate. This poses a challenge for the testers to create a similar environment for testing purposes.
  • Testing on the Internet: There are a lot of security concerns while testing on the internet. The tester has to ensure that there is no leakage of data that is available over the Internet while the testing is in process. It is important to have a back-up plan and test before the business applications are released for the users.
  • Testing across the spectrum: Cloud Testing entails testing the network, performance of the server, the available database, and the application. Keeping these requirements in perspective, the testers need to validate the interaction across various components and layers. At the same time risks have to be anticipated, for instance, loss of connection, crash of the software, etc. Moreover, the tester needs to anticipate and test beyond the aspects under control in the existing environment.

So we infer…

It is imperative to comprehend and address these challenges with a clear perspective to ensure that the various business applications are operating effectively and securely on the Cloud. Moreover, it is important to confirm that the entire process helps gain competitive edge in the marketplace. Irrespective of the existing challenges, Cloud Computing will sustain and empower organizations to stay ahead and continue to remain competent.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

The Need of Test Transformation in the Financial Domain

The Need of Test Transformation in the Financial Domain

The Great Recession had darkened the global economy in the first half of 1900s, which took a while to recover. The last decade has witnessed some phenomenal changes in the financial domain across the globe and has created remarkable opportunities not just for the strong economies of the world, but also for the emerging ones. Nevertheless, along with opportunities it has equally posed challenges.

To begin with, let’s consider the challenges & opportunities created by the Internet and Mobile revolution.

Today, imagining a day or week without online payments / transactions can give a sinking feeling to every customer / user existing and operating in this fizzing global economic environment. The financial services domain has gone through an enormous amount of digitization. It has been further triggered by the advent and proliferation of various mobile devices and mobility services.

The growing mobile penetration and increasing density has resulted in a paradigm shift for the financial services sector. Technology innovation and varying customer expectations has positively impacted the massive progress experienced by the sector.

A study by IDC on the financial applications software market estimates that it will reach $24.2 billion by 2019. Whether it is an online / mobile interface for a retail bank or an e-wallet transaction, financial services govern every aspect of our existence.

A report by Allied Market Research states that the global mobile wallet market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 127.5% from 2012 to 2020. The key growth driver for this is, effectively managing customer expectations and experience.

Additionally, a recent report released by International Trade Administration mentions that the global Financial Technology (FinTech) activity has increased considerably in the last 2 years and is creating ripples globally. The fundamental concept is to merge financial services with technology to refurbish the financial services domain for cost effectiveness and raising the quality index

The underlying purpose is to create a much more consistent and secure financial domain for the consumers and economy at large. Incidentally, most of the ventures in this segment are predominantly start-ups. Further, Goldman Sachs estimates that $660 billion in revenue could migrate from traditional financial services to FinTech payments, crowd funding, wealth management and lending.

This implies that the sector is creating waves of opportunities, resulting in a pressing need for a robust back-end strategy and IT back-up to manage several aspects pertaining to secure and user-friendly interface. Software testing for super performance is the need of the hour and has been witnessing a surge.

Investing time & resources in devising a Testing strategy is like investing every day for assured returns in the long run and optimistically in the short run.

Specifically speaking, testing transformation means a set of processes and practices followed to attain the defined business objectives. The core purpose is to constantly foster an environment that improves processes and enhances quality standards for its stakeholders. So, the constant focus is on maintaining and improving quality standards along with developing this sense amongst every person within the system / organization.

Nevertheless, the standards of quality may differ across organizations and industry domains. It can be defined or will primarily depend on the organization’s overall vision and goals. Testing transformation process involves changes at various levels in an organization, as it aligns with the culture, technology, processes and overall performance expectations.

Some much needed investments / prerequisites for implementing Test transformation are:

  • Creating a Center of Excellence (CoE)
  • Test Data Management
  • QA practices & standards
  • Test Automation methodologies
  • Standardized Testing strategies

There are immense benefits of a scrupulous testing transformation strategy. Having a testing transformation strategy in place:

  • Results in cost effectiveness
  • Helps attain higher quality standards and faster time to market
  • Establishes a robust testing framework for any kind of testing needs
  • Provides elaborate plans and benchmarks for defining business goals
  • Sets focus on key business areas

Testing transformation brings about a change in the way you evaluate your testing needs and overall plan the entire process. It endeavours to take your testing experience beyond the basic testing benefits. It brings about a cohesive approach towards delivering tangible results and takes quality to a higher level of optimization.

‘Business Assurance’ is the new ‘Quality Assurance’

Ensuring quality is the most rational way of ensuring business effectiveness; a constant endeavour to ensure performance and desired outcome confirms absolute commercial success. The term ‘Business Assurance’ signifies various factors, namely, Risk Assessment and Mitigation, Compliance Management, and Business Continuity Management.

All this precisely boils down to ensure that your business processes continue to work smoothly and securely with the required compliances.

The financial services sector is prone to a lot of security issues / lapses and stress in terms of delivering desired user experience from time to time. Testing Transformation determines an integrated approach by:

  • Rationalising costs and enhancing productivity of the testing function
  • Successfully establishing a Shift-Left approach that reinforces the constant involvement of testing across the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC)

This injects the need and importance of testing within the overall functioning of the organization and makes an external impact while delivering quality and secure interface for the customers. The word ‘testing transformation’ predominately emphasizes on delivering ‘next-generation’ or ‘phenomenal’ experience to the customers in this constantly evolving and steaming economy.

While Manual Testing still prevails, Performance testing and digital testing are gaining further ground. Considering the challenges in the financial services domain, it requires long-term efficiency that facilitates repeatability of tests and at the same time accelerates the speed with which the tests are executed.

Mentioned below are some logical steps that can revolutionize the contemporary testing platform and further strengthen the financial services domain.

A modernized testing framework with the required tools and methodologies provides:

  • Developers with feedback and ultimately empowers the Agile Development process
  • The testers a better environment to automate the process and align it with the application development
  • Testers the environment to build capabilities to execute Continuous & Regression tests
  • Better documentation by getting the Business Analysts involved in the testing process

Testing transformation comprises of a range of methodologies, processes, and accelerators, which subsequently speed up time-to-market by ensuring cost effectiveness.

This can be achieved by collaborating with a Testing partner who can enable your business and forecast future changes that would help businesses take much more informed decisions.

Connect and collaborate with Gallop’s ‘test transformation consultants’ to reap the benefits of transformation for your enterprise.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Customer Experience Testing in Digital World

Customer Experience Testing in the Digital World

Digitization has pervaded almost every aspect of our personal as well as professional lives. This has made it necessary for the businesses to embrace and execute well-defined and well-planned Customer Experience Testing strategies in order to keep the customers loyal, satisfied, and happy.

Difference between User and Customer Experience

The organizations need to differentiate between User experience and Customer experience – the two terms are used interchangeably many-a-times. They also need to focus on developing strategic plans by properly mapping an individual’s interactions with the various products/services that they use. To design an effective Customer Experience Testing strategy, complete understanding of customer behaviour (both intrinsic and latent characteristics), along with tangible and functional traits is of paramount importance. Also, non-functional requirements and aspects like capability, ease of access and use & navigation should be considered in devising the test strategy. There is also a need to address intrinsic human behavioural elements from end-customer experience perspective like cultural fit, psychology and emotions.

The relevance of end-user experience

While the digital products have already evolved in both the B2B and B2C segments, the “direct-to-customer” model is also gaining high momentum. This makes end-user experience even more relevant and it must be correlated with enhanced user adoption, increased customer loyalty, and social conversions achieved. Hence, there is a business-critical need for robust testing strategy that suits the needs of CIOs and CMOs, and also has a transformational impact on the business and revenue models.

In order to achieve this, an effective Customer Experience Testing strategy should consist of better design, and efficient digital channels with real-time analytics to achieve user goals and fulfil business objectives.

Important Factors in Customer Experience Testing

The factors that play an important role in Customer Experience Testing are:

  1. Emotions: Social channels can be used to capture human emotions through social listening techniques and covering the findings using real-time analytics, sentiment analysis, etc. This will help the organizations in identifying the defects not found during UAT.
  2. Crowd’s Wisdom: Crowdsourcing can be used as a means to pre-launch end-user feedback by choosing a demographically distributed crowd which is culturally and socio-economically similar to the end-user.
  3. Analytics: Performing a varied set of activities like personalization, keeping a track on multi–channel and cross-channel browsing history, transactions, monitoring likes and dislikes across channels, etc. will play a crucial role in ensuring a seamless Customer experience in the digital world.

The Available Testing Options

Digital customers have the option to choose from a variety of products, applications, channels, etc. Addressing the needs of variety that customers have (- and demand) needs accelerated efforts by consumer-facing companies to achieve end-user delight. Resolving the issues in an effective manner impacts the top line directly as the transactions are linked closely to brand loyalty, word-of-mouth publicity, and repeated purchase by the customers. Hence, defining and executing an effective Customer Experience Testing gains prime importance across the product development lifecycle as well as during the post-production phase.

There is a need to enhance traditional test case-based approaches by adopting techniques that include automation, overall end-user journey, real-time user analytics, and persona-based strategies along with Omni-channel interactions across various digital touch points and connected devices. The products/services can also be tested by disparate crowd in demographically specific regions, most suitable for particular end-user situations. Customer Experience Testing also needs to be a continuous process as the expectations of end-users for products/services are continuously evolving with multiple changes happening simultaneously in the Digital world.

Gallop’s state-of-the-art test labs use the latest and best in testing to bring you better quality and quicker time-to-market. Our fine-tuned testing services are supported by our proven testing approach, Proprietary Testing IP (ETAS), and capabilities through our Center of Excellence. Discover the Gallop advantage today.
About the Author:

 

gallop-software testerAbout the Author: Abhijeet Srivastava is an Associate Manager at Gallop Solutions. He is a part of Enterprise Solutions Group which primarily helps convert Leads to Deals by devising the best solutions. He holds a B.Tech in Electronics & Communication Engineering from Sikkim Manipal Institute of Technology and PGDM from TAPMI, Manipal. His Core Skills are Business Analysis, Sales pitch, Architecting Solutions, building Proposal, etc.
The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

SaaS Testing: Challenges and How to overcome them

SaaS Testing: Challenges and How to overcome them

SaaS or Software as a service is gaining a lot of momentum and wider adoption by organizations as they are realizing the real benefits by using SaaS over On-premise installed applications. In SaaS model, the organization need not pay for the software or hardware itself, it’s more of a rental scheme where they pay as they use. This is what makes SaaS attractive compared to the On-premise option.

It’s a tough decision for the organizations to choose SaaS, as there are lot of factors like complexity of system, application stack, and operational aspects which needs to be considered. Especially for the enterprises with legacy applications, it’s a very tough decision considering the investments they have made in their own datacenters. Few of the factors which comes into play while choosing SaaS applications are Security, Return on Investment, Platform suitability, Compliances and Integration.

These factors coupled with other challenges necessitates the need of SaaS testing.

So what is SaaS Testing?

SaaS Testing refers to the set of testing methodology and processes used to ensure that applications built using the software as a service model of development, functions as designed. SaaS applications entail thorough testing for their integrity, different from that of on-premise applications. This involves testing of data security and privacy, business logic, data integration, performance, interface compatibility, Optimization of testing, and scalability, among others.

SaaS testing also have shorter testing cycles because of the architectural model of software delivered as a service, as compared to traditional software delivery. SaaS testing methodology thus does not require test cases for client or server installations, multi-platform back-end support, multiple version support or backwards compatibility usually. But there are many other different test cases which comes into play for SaaS Testing because SaaS applications function in a cloud computing environment that incorporates SOA (service oriented architecture) and Web Services into the fold.

Also agile methods are typically part of SaaS testing because of the speed of delivery. The use of test automation tools for building regression suites in this agile model helps organizations bring in business value and quickly validate the impact of upgrades also.

So let’s have a look at what needs to be tested for SaaS Applications?

  • Performance Testing: Performance is the most critical factor for the SaaS applications. Each module of the application needs to be performance-tested along with the workflow. It’s also up to testers to determine the throughput expected in the workflow. Also by stressing the system with load tests, the team can determine the application’s ability to handle unsteady loads and find the maximum supported levels. SaaS testing, with a focus on ensuring performance, is imperative to a SaaS provider’s success.
  • Availability Testing: Making sure that the application is available at all times for the users is very important for successful testing. The SaaS application should not go through any downtimes.
  • Security Testing: This is major concern and sometimes also a deal breaker if you are opting for SaaS option for applications. It is vital that proper security testing is carried out and any threats to the data, privacy does not exist.
  • Interoperability Testing: Every SaaS application must be able to function seamlessly in all different environments and platforms so that users from all backgrounds can use them.
  • Stress and Load Testing: SaaS application needs to be tested for various amount of stress and load beyond its usual operational capacity in order to evaluate how it responds to and gives results.
  • Integration and migration tests: There are many API’s to which your SaaS application might be integrated with. The data migration and integration should be checked and tested while ensuring the data privacy and security.
  • Business workflow tests: Business workflows and other competent functionalities needs to work as planned. Knowing the different configurable and non-configurable components of the application makes it easy to test and get the best out of the application.

Though SaaS testing comes with its unique set of challenges, the right skillset and planning can help mitigate risks associated with it. Gallop’s SaaS testing methodology ensures that right strategy, automation & best practices are followed throughout for your application on cloud.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Testing Machine to Machine interactions in IOT World

Testing Machine to Machine interactions in IOT World

 

M2M or Machine to Machine interactions have been around for quite some time now and with IoT getting into mainstream, the machine to machine interactions are at the forefront again.

So what makes IoT and M2M so interesting?

As per GSMA Intelligence, there are now more than 7.82 billion devices, including M2M devices, which is way above the number of humans pegged at 7.4bn. We are working in a world where the importance of connected devices is getting more relevant and with the amount of automation happening, we are going to see a huge jump in the connected machines by next decade. As per Cisco, “the Internet of Things (IoT) will have up to 50 billion things (or devices) that will be connected to the Internet by 2020; or, the equivalent of 6 devices for every person on the planet.”

Though M2M has been there since 1930s, when the British military first invented radar to detect aircraft, it is getting into every household these days. M2M is at the heart of Internet of Things and with connected devices getting so common, in future, it might be at every corner of your house. IoT is all about connected devices communicating with each other in form of data which is being analyzed and action being taken in real-time with/without human intervention. Given the current pace of things, human intervention is going to get less every year.

As more and more devices start taking decisions without human intervention, testing and certifying such devices will become more critical for the organizations. Some of the factors which needs to be considered are:

  • Skill set:

This is going to be the most important factor for testing M2M/IoT applications as the resources are supposed to have domain knowledge as well as systems engineering understanding. Having the right resources with good skillset is going to be critical for success of IoT projects.

  • Test environment management:

Having the right test environment for testing the devices, applications around it, communication between machines is going to be difficult as the number of devices rises. Once the devices with different versions and upgrades emerge, mimicking and simulating the test environment will be a challenge.

  • Test data management:

Here comes the real challenge. M2M usually generates terabytes of data for different processes, and which may also be behaviorally different. And given that there will be different types of devices which will be communicating and generating different types of data, getting it right becomes even more important.

  • Security testing:

Data privacy and application security are the non-avoidable types of testing, given that there will be lot of loopholes when multiple devices interact over multiple channels. This becomes even more important because m2m devices usually don’t have specific identities (currently), and testing thus them for vulnerabilities is must because the amount of data which gets exposed.

  • Compatibility testing:

IoT has given rise to different operating systems, devices and messaging protocols. Making sure that different devices communicate properly while maintaining the standards is key to success of the IoT.

  • Performance testing:

Performance becomes critical in the case of IoT as the response time between machines is critical to the success of the business scenarios which run over these devices. At the same time, measuring the vital statistics of devices like power usage, memory usage, endurance testing, disaster recovery testing is also important.

  • Accessibility testing:

Testing for accessibility is going to grow as we see more interconnected devices around us. With smart cars talking to smart buildings and in turn passing the information to smart wearables, this is going to be compulsory type of testing to be considered.

  • Regulatory compliance testing:

We are going to see standards, protocols and compliances emerging in the IoT space and making sure that regulatory requirements are adhered to will be crucial.

These are few of types of testing which we feel are important. But there will be many more types of testing which needs to be considered to cover the end-to-end functionality of the IoT devices.

It is going to be interesting to see how this space evolves and if any new standards, tools and, processes becomes part of the IoT software delivery pipeline. Whatever it will be, we will keep you updated with the latest in IoT testing world.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Successfully Implementing TDD/BDD to Enable Shift-Left Testing Approach

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Today, when developers are using tools like J unit/N unit for testing their code, approaches such as test driven development (TDD) and behaviour driven development (BDD) focus on improving the quality of the code that is being written. Though the approaches require a different mind-set, the objective remains the same.

Usually Behaviour driven development is focused on the business behaviour of your code: the “why” behind the code. The focus is usually on the intent rather than process. It supports a team-centric (especially cross-functional) workflow. BDD works really well when a developer and either the agile product owner or a business analyst sit down together and write the pending specifications:

  • The business person specifies the exact functionality they want to see in the system.
  • The developer asks questions based on their understanding of the system, while also writing down additional behaviours needed from a development perspective.

Ideally, both parties can refer to the list of current system behaviours to see if this new feature will break existing features. This way quality comes first and the entire product is understood which decreases the defect entry into the development related to requirements or functionality of the system.

Test Driven development on the other hand focuses on implementation of the system. For example, writing a better quality code that helps in maintaining the health of the code with no nonsense into the system.

Approaches like TDD/BDD are used to understand the requirements clearly without any ambiguities and help developers to write tests in a way that makes code execution successful. These methods enable testers to think of solutions using a bottom up approach that helps prevention of defects in the later stages. This approach also helps clarify any ambiguities in the requirements early on in the software development lifecycle, before coding actually begins. With an increased level of understanding of the features and requirements, developers know what exactly needs to be coded, as also what needs to be included or excluded in the code, thereby preventing leakage of defects into the code in the later phases of development lifecycle. The mindset and ability to focus on producing quality product with minimum to no defects from inception/upstream process is enabled by these methods that complement the shift left approach.

While the development teams like this approach, the project teams blame the TDD/BDD process for slowing down the software development process. However, it has been realized that implementation of TDD/BDD practices in the initial development phases enables organizations face lower defects in the later stages. This helps in the maintenance of the code, increases the defect removal efficiency, and also reduces the time to market of the product. The TDD/BDD approach is also best suited for applications where the requirements undergo progressive elaboration. The frequently tested code has lesser defects and enables faster delivery of working software to the clients.

Practices like unit testing and adopting TDD/BDD provide high code coverage coupled with faster feedback regarding unexpected defects/surprises/issues and thus becomes an additive element in the reinforced process.

TDD/BDD practices also enhance practices like requirement management for covering the finer topics like requirement elicitation, requirements acceptance criteria, and requirements review prior to the development process. Requirement traceability is also enhanced when test cases are traced back to the requirements giving a picture of test coverage functionally.

A seamless implementation of both approaches identifies defects early on in the SDLC process, reduce risks, and reduce cost of rework which is a significant cost in software development process. TDD/BDD helps align the mind-set to the left focussing on quality from concept-to-cash for building the right product with the right intent in the best possible way.

In a nutshell, the BDD/TDD practices enable the following:

  • Move defect identification and prevention to the left (early stages of SDLC)
  • Reduce issues/surprises/incidents in the production
  • Help teams stay focused on Continuous Delivery
  • Compliment the agile/iterative development
  • Improve the overall build deployability by reduced lead times and increased quality
The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Digital Assurance and need of Omni Channel Testing

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Assurance refers to a positive declaration that instills confidence or a sense of surety.

In today’s world where everything is being digitized or automated, it is very much necessary that the end users of the products get a feeling of security and assurance that their data and other personal information that they might share on the web is safe. This is what Digital Assurance is all about. Digital Assurance refers to assuring the customers that none of their personal data is vulnerable to being exploited by hackers. This in turn ensures maximum customer satisfaction.

Now a days as digital technology is covering all spectrums of business solutions there is a rising demand for almost a completely flawless customer experience and safety. Digital Assurance aims at meeting this demand. Organizations providing a holistic assurance strategy not only ensure successful digital transformation but can also optimize their IT budgets.

Digital Assurance refers to Q&A practices that ensure the relationship between the various components of Digital Ecosystem remains smooth. The Digital Ecosystem includes various interconnected people, processes & things cutting across the Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud stack.

Here are the few reasons why organizations need to take up Digital Assurance.

  1. Need for being Agile: Being agile through continuous quality assurance initiatives, and automating processes to ensure shorter delivery cycles become highly critical in a highly dynamic digital landscape.
  1. Make or Break the Customer Experience: Delivering enhanced customer experience while leveraging a variety of components of Digital Ecosystem becomes challenging. Ensuring each component delivers optimum performance leading to customer delight becomes difficult as the organization becomes more digitally matured.
  1. Organizations are vulnerable to Security Threats: Security is of paramount importance specifically in an interconnected world. The smart interconnected ecosystems on one side enable an unimaginable world of possibilities, but it makes the entire system highly vulnerable to security threats, if not properly configured and tested, on the flip side.
  1. Performance of Organizations Legacy Infrastructure needs to be maximized:This is an important challenge specifically with those enterprises who are not born Digital. They need to change their organizational DNA both from a cultural perspective and from legacy IT infrastructure standpoint. Ensuring their core functionalities are not impacted as they chart their path towards Digital Infrastructure can be much challenging.
  1. Complexity: The most difficult challenge comes from the complexities arising from the nexus of forces –Social-Mobile-Analytics-Cloud, to ensure that they work in synchronization with organizational goals.

We need to consider the following important points while implementing Digital Assurance: 

  1. Omni-Channel Assurance: Omni-channel testing is based on preparing a test strategy with a view of all the channel and user interaction patterns.
  1. Users spread across the globe: Internet users are spread across the globe with around 46% of the population having access to the internet. The region wise statistics are: Asia-48.2%, Europe-18%, Latin America-10.2%, Africa-9.8%, North America-9.3%, Middle East-3.7%, and Australia-0.8%. Irrespective of these statistics the users should find similar functionalities, semantics and experience. Therefore Digital Assurance strategies should include both localization and globalization tests.
  1. Validating business scenarios:The Digital Assurance strategies must ensure that the business functionalities and expectations are met by the application.
  1. Customer experience and social integration: The Digital Assurance strategies must ensure a good user and brand experience irrespective of the channel and the other factors.
  1. Security Assurance: Application are being hosted on multiple platforms which has increased the risk rate thus having to necessarily perform security testing for these possible vulnerabilities by focusing on application profiling, authentication, data validation and encryption algorithms.
  1. Lifecycle automation: Let me discuss more about Omni-channel testing in detail.
    Omni-channel is a multi-channel approach to sales that seeks to provide the customer with a seamless shopping experience whether the customer is shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, by telephone or in a bricks and mortar store.What distinguishes the Omni-channel customer experience from the multi-channel customer experience is that there is true integration between channels on the back end. For example, when a store has implemented an Omni-channel approach, the customer service representative in the store will be able to immediately reference the customer’s previous purchases and preferences just as easily as the customer service representative on the phone or the web chat. Also, the customer can check inventory using laptop by store on the company’s website, purchase the item later on with a smartphone or tablet and pick up the product at the customer’s chosen location.The main difference between Omni-Channel and Multi-Channel lies in the process being tested.
    If you want to test a single process that spans across multiple devices, you want OMNI-CHANNEL testing.
    If you want to test the same process on a range of devices, you want MULTI-CHANNEL testing.Omni-channel testing is not just about consolidating testing across channels but designing a test strategy with a view of all the channels and real user behavior.

So what are the top advantages for businesses due to Digital Assurance:

  1. Customer-centric business: This is done by ensuring flawless customer experience.
  2. Agility in business: Automation and virtualization ensures quicker time to market.
  3. Stability in business: Finding out errors in advance and modifying the tests accordingly to ensure the best testing cycle.
  4. Future proofing the business: Anticipating the future and developing methods of minimizing the effects of shocks and stresses of future events.

Are you looking for Digital Assurance services and leverage the advantages listed above for your business? Then, reach out to our digital testing experts for a free assessment.

 

gallop-software testerAbout the Author: Dheeraj Kumar M is a Software Consultant at Gallop Solutions. He is part of the Innovation Vertical which primarily transforms an Idea into an actual product. Part of multiple Technical workshops right from his college days has helped him shape up his skill sets. His Core Skill is with Core Java, HTML5. He is also an avid shutterbug capturing the picturesque Mother Nature in his spare time.
The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Why Digital Testing Requires a Different Approach?

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In this world of digital transformation, testing new products is getting more and more complex. The testing processes can be long and costly because of the increasing number of mobile devices, smart appliances, media channels, developmental environments and business applications, all of them demanding faultless connectivity. Companies need to launch their products in the market faster than ever before by covering all the possible testing challenges.

The disruption of digital transformation is the biggest fear across all industries. Today’s connected world has unified multiple aspects of businesses such as multiple customer channels, supply chains, interfacing devices, application touch points, etc. Hence, the QA organizations are in urgent need to assess customer experience capabilities as well as to ensure the functionality of each and every application applying the developments in quality, cost, and agility.

There is a need to focus on the disruptive nature of digital technologies with an emphasis on customer experience testing. In order to achieve it successfully, more attention should be paid toward service offerings with an integrated test delivery platform which encompasses channel and tool agnostic test automation framework, a structured mobile testing strategy and proper crowd testing.

There is also a need to provide more niche expertise to the customer with the realization that as testing teams comprise of a co-located team with a combination of Onsite, Offshore, and Nearshore teams, there is a need to bring better quality, improved communication, and a structured and layered approach with reduced cost and enhanced values. There is also a need to prioritise and place more emphasis on niche services at all the locations in order to capitalize on defined values and speed and meet the growing challenges to be fulfilled in Digital testing.

There is also a need to adopt Centralized and Decentralized approaches while organizing QA and testing functions as the development process comprises of critical integrations and transformations. In order to perform the testing smoothly, a structured approach will prove to be very fruitful. Also, multiple approaches should be tested before arriving at a final conclusion as one size doesn’t fit all. While searching for a testing partner, the emphasis should be to find a partner who has expertise in multi-layered operating approaches, continuous integration and governed by real-time dashboards.

Successful integration in the digital world also demands adoption of swift practices and a proper platform engineered to meet the testing needs efficiently. This kind of fast and responsive QA and testing needs can be better met by integrating it with agile development. The QA organizations also need to integrate the upstream as well as downstream approach and create a Test-Operations concept to stay ahead from others. This could also be achieved by successfully adopting risk based techniques and testing, Test Driven Development (TDD), Service Virtualization, etc.

With the migration of a lot of applications to Cloud, there is also a need to gain expertise in Migration Testing to Cloud along with keeping an eye on the security as well as the performance aspects that may be hampered during the migration process. Focussed Migration testing techniques focussing on multi-channel and Behaviour Driven Testing (BDD) models will prove to be of great use in these situations.

Hence, we can conclude that with increasing complexity and competition in this Digital world, there is an extreme need to analyze the trends, examine them, and follow the right steps to enhance one’s testing capabilities and implement the right testing practice that will help in managing the testing activities and complexity seamlessly and achieve the standards required for Digital Testing.

At Gallop, we cover all the bases and ensure that effective testing is performed by the right set of experts. We ensure the best quality for your product and that your customers are happy. Our tool agnostic test automation frameworks ensure accelerated testing so that you get higher productivity and an enviable time to market.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Practical Approach for Improving Agile Testing Maturity – Part 2

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Continuing from where we left off in Practical Approach for Improving Agile Testing Maturity – Part 1, let us deep dive into the remaining critical factors for improving an organizations’ agile testing maturity. As explained, the 5 steps to improve your agile test maturity are:

  1. Discover and Document
  2. Analyze and Benchmark
  3. Develop a Roadmap
  4. Transformation Approach
  5. Continuous Process Improvement

We discussed the first two steps in the previous blog. Let us now see what the remaining steps entail.

Develop a Roadmap

Based on the results and inferences that can be made from the Analyze and benchmark phase, a transformation agenda can be generated. This agenda, if adopted, will act as a roadmap to convert your goals into reality. The Vision and Mission must be clearly drafted and put in place. The roadmap should contain both long-and-short term strategic objectives that are aligned with achieving the business goals.

At a very high-level, the roadmap should include the objectives being targeted, the low-hanging fruits, quick wins, and the potential benefits. Usually a roadmap must be proposed against a set of focus areas or business objectives governed with a strategy, reference models, and enablers that complement the mission. In a testing environment, the organizations can focus on the following focus areas including, but not limited to Testing in Agile Environment, Test Coverage Enhancements, Improving the Testing Lead times, and focusing on the elements that enable the transformation. Organization can do a quick cost benefit analysis, prioritize the areas for improvement based on the value proposition, the business impact, and return on investment (ROI). Categorizing the improvement areas will help teams to stay focused and resilient. Usually efforts invested in enhancing customer satisfaction, quality, and product alignment take precedence over efforts being made on improving the operational efficiency.

That said, a roadmap without a proper transformation approach is as useless as trying to reach a destination without a proper route map to reach there.

Transformation Approach

Transformation approach is another vital aspect for converting Vision to Mission. A Target Operating Model has to be designed that sets the tone for transformation. This model can be developed with all the intended and implied needs of customers or clients. For an organization invested in, is following agile development, and is focused on improving its testing maturity, the following focus areas may be considered:

  • Test Organization
  • Functional and Non-functional test coverage
  • Test Efficiency
  • Test Tools Management
  • Transformation levers such as Knowledge base, Skilled resources, Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), infrastructural needs etc.

In essence, the Target Operating Model is a low level framework and a workable solution with the finest of the details in the transformation strategy.

In the later stages, transformation can be noticed in the re-baselining of processes, training the associates on improved process, piloting the improvements in a phased manner, collecting the feedback and then re-optimizing the processes. This is an everlasting, continuing loop that organizations should tend to adopt for meeting the ever increasing demands and needs of their clients/customers.

Continuous Process Improvement

Having discussed the roadmap and transformation stages, let us get now get an insight on the process improvement journey. A continuous process improvement requires formal self-assessment/Independent audits/Third party audits to be put in place with the help of industry accepted frameworks, or customized and home grown frameworks.

The incessant demands and needs of the customers force the organizations to adapt new changes and improve existing processes. Hence, the entire ecosystem we spoke about earlier comes into scope and is again applicable.

Audits and assessments give us ample opportunities for finding the shortfalls in the system against the current business needs or prevailing conditions, thus enabling us to focus on the new improvement aspects. The shortfalls are addressed by taking corrective actions that enable improving the existing agile testing environments. This never ending journey helps organizations keep on their toes and motivate them for making continuous improvements to their process according to the changing demand scenarios created by their customers. These changes and improvements help come up with better, and user friendly features that make the product more popular and stable, thereby bringing about a much desired increase in the demand.

Organizations that try to follow and implement these 5 steps to improve their agile test maturity will definitely see a marked positive impact in their business outcomes.

If you are a large organization trying to implement an Agile test automation strategy, contact Gallop’s team of test automation experts. Our tool agnostic test automation framework consists of a huge library of keywords that help you build your tests quickly and efficiently, and seamlessly integrate with leading commercial and open source tools.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.

Practical Approach for Improving Agile Testing Maturity – Part 1

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Today, a lot of software is being developed (and tested) in increasingly Agile environments for accelerating the product delivery with uncompromised quality and ability to manage the ever-changing priorities. Boundaries between diverse functions are shrinking and roles and responsibilities are undergoing a big shift. Organizations aspiring to be competitive still find it challenging to adapt to these changes. It is only with an increased level of understanding about Agile testing, its impact, and its methodologies, that the Agile practice attains a level of maturity and acceptance, that organizations will be able to grow and expand.

The number of organizations embracing Agile methods has been steadily increasing even though there are a number of obstacles. However, the good news is that more and more organizations are becoming confident and show growing levels of maturity in applying Agile testing processes.

What is Agile Testing?

Agile testing, per Wiki, “is a software testing practice that follows the principles of agile software development.” It involves cross-functional agile teams whose members are usually testing experts responsible for delivering the required business value at frequent intervals.

A few challenges in Agile Testing:

  • Lack of comprehensive testing approaches that may fit with existing agile environments
  • Applying test automation to agile projects poses another challenge
  • Improper identification of the focus areas of focus
  • Unavailability of testing tools for creation of reusable test sets
  • Unavailability of skilled agile testing expertise

What is Agile Testing Maturity?

Agile Testing Maturity refers to the level at which an organization has implemented the best practices using Agile Principles and models like SCRUM, SAFe. However, a practical approach to improve the maturity level is to follow a model like CMMI or TMMI which provides a staged approach for improving the maturity.The Agile testing maturity model (ATMM) acts as a Team related maturity model that helps you measure the current levels of Agile maturity.

5 Steps to Improve Your Agile Test Maturity

  1. Discover and Document
  2. Analyze and Benchmark
  3. Develop a Roadmap
  4. Transformation Approach
  5. Continuous Process Improvement

We will cover the first two steps – Discover and Document & Analyze and Benchmark in this blog. The remaining steps will be covered in the next blog.

Discover and Document

Based on the goals and objectives of your organization, use this step to clearly define where you want to go. Use customized questionnaires and inventory templates to capture the AS-IS state of the Agile maturity in your organization and document your goals, constraints, timelines, risks, and the key focus areas.

Analyze and Benchmark

The best way to go about improving the Agile maturity of an organization is to know exactly where you stand. Using this as the starting point, assess where you are in terms of the existing implemented processes and People, Test Automation & Performance, and Tools, Environment, and Test Data practices around agile implementation. Develop an end-to-end Agile Test Assessment Framework using models like TMMI, TPI, Agile, DevOps and ITIL, and prioritize key focus areas per their maturity levels and benchmark them against industry.

The following sample image depicts the various components involved in providing Agile Test Maturity to an organization:agile testing, agile principles, agile models, scrum, agile testing maturity model, agile project management tools, agile test environment, test data, test automation, test automation framework, gallop solutions, software testing, software testing services, quality assurance testing, software testing company, gallop solutions review, Agile-testing-maturity

The components are described below.

People

People form the backbone of any system that aspires to become huge. Agile values and principles strongly voice them. Hence, cross-functional skills, motivation levels, learning appetite of the resources becomes critical success factors within organization. Agile testing also in similar lines needs people who are competent, skilled and versatile in testing various platforms.

Following are some commonly found stages of agile team formations:

  1. Forming: At this level, the Team starts to perform as an Agile team with roles and responsibilities fully understood.
  2. Agile Bonding: At this level, the Agile team starts getting accustomed to the new rules and starts to work in tandem as a well-knit team.
  3. Performing: At this level, the team is a fully-functional Agile team that has understood the concept of Agile and SCRUM.
  4. Scaling: At this level, the Agile Team is mature enough to develop its own methods of working based on continuous improvement.

Processes

This covers the multiple processes that support and complement collocated and geographically distributed teams. A set of customizable practices and lean processes need to be implemented in the projects for producing quality products with accelerated delivery.

Agile Project Management Tools, Test Environment, and Test Data

These crucial set of elements need special attention. Agile Project Management Tools such as Atlassian – Jira, Microsoft-TFS, Rally, and Version One go a long way in helping organizations improve their Agile Testing Maturity. Using these tools, geographically distributed teams can access real-time updates, thereby improving the transparency and information. Continuous integration and continuous deployment also increases the rate of feedback and provides space to teams to react and fix the issues/bugs instantly. Testing teams should be provided with agile test environments that closely resemble the production environment. This instils better confidence with regards to product performance and delivery in the real time scenario. Today a lot of licensed and open-source test environment provisioning tools help teams to have test environments set up with a push button, saving a lot of time and effort. Similarly, automation is being used for test data management wherever possible to cater to the needs of testing, thereby reducing manual intervention and ensuring accuracy and timeliness for test data provisioning.

Test Automation & Performance

While delivering products at sheer speed, the delivery pipeline needs to be robust and flexible enough to meet the continuous demand without compromising on the quality of the product. There exists an opportunity with modern set of IT tools for organizations to automate certain amount of manual tasks. This results in reduced manual efforts due to the improvements the in terms of testing the products performance. Automation strategy for testing helps expedite the process of delivery and quality checks with minimum effort and maximized ROI.  Test Automation framework is the key factor to get beneficial out of test automation.

Amature Agile Testing approach adds a lot of positive business benefits such as reduced time to go-to-market with a product showcasing the complete understanding of the customers’ requirements, helps teams to feel appreciated and valued which makes them want to contribute further and add more value to the organization.

Read on for the remaining steps – Develop a Roadmap, Transformation Approach, and Continuous Improvement – that will be covered in the next blog.

If you are a large organization trying to implement an Agile test automation strategy, contact Gallop’s team of test automation experts. Our tool agnostic test automation framework consists of a huge library of keywords that help you build your tests quickly and efficiently, and seamlessly integrate with leading commercial and open source tools.

The opinions expressed in this blog are author's and don't necessarily represent Gallop's positions, strategies or opinions.