HOW TEST AUTOMATION CAN INFLUENCE YOUR ORGANISATION.
WHY READ THIS ARTICLE?
Organisations are automating because there is an increasing need to deliver faster while maintaining quality. We need better networks, and we need them to act reliable. One of the best ways to challenge this problem is with test automation.
We even suggest increasing the level of smart test automation. However, there are no shortage of key challenges in implementing automation to address. The reality is that test automation is desirable but difficult.
Let's talk about that.
DEFINITION OF NETWORK INFRASTRUCTURE.
We understand Network Infrastructure to be all the resources in a network which enable network or internet connectivity, administration, business processes and communication. The network infrastructure comprises hardware and software, systems and devices. It enables data processing and communication between users, services and local or cloud located applications. Everything network-related, from servers to wireless routers, from IP Address to Directory Management, makes up a system's network infrastructure.
THE MASTERY OF CHANGE.
The digital transformation is constantly changing the business world. More and more business processes are digitized. This has consequences for the way companies will work in future and increases the connectivity dependency.
Your network is the essential backbone for any ambition regarding the digital transformation:
- it enables new business models or new services like the usage of IoT.
- it allows for optimisation of your existing work processes.
Progressive companies invest in technologies such as disaggregation and NFV to optimise costs and scale their services agile.
One thing is for sure: you will see a resilient effect in optimisation of your employee’s and/or customer’s experience and satisfaction – thanks to the network infrastructure.
A TRUE HANDSHAKE:
NETWORK-EVOLUTION AND DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION.
This can only be achieved with the support of an up-to-date, secure, and stable infrastructure based on the technical and operational requirements of your organisation.
The continuous evolution of your network is comparable with the basics of software development: It needs quality assurance. Testing is the most used anchor in quality assurance. It typically compares the actual behaviour of your network with the expected.
REGRESSION AND EVOLUTION? TEST-AUTOMATION TO THE RESCUE!
Regression tests are mandatory to exclude undesirable side effects and the proof of success once changes to your network got applied.
Since it must be proven that the implementation of new functions in your network does not affect existing processes and that the functions are thus still ensured, one thing is obvious:
Therefore release-testing can be correspondingly complex, and efforts taken comparatively high.
The number of tests to be carried out increases disproportionately of your existing infrastructure and the associated updates
Since tests (especially regression tests) are often very repetitive, automated execution obviously increase the efficiency.
The idea is born: Automated Network Testing may be the solution to solve the problems.
KEY BENEFITS OF TEST-AUTOMATION.
Cost. Manual testing is resource-intensive and therefore, costly.
Time. Manual testing cannot keep pace with certain tasks.
Accuracy. There can be a greater chance of error with manual testing many repetitive tasks.
Trend. Many organisations have realised benefits from automation, so there is pressure
to follow suit.
Scale. Manual testing cannot match the complex iterations of automated testing.
Adoption. Automation should not only replicate existing manual test processes.
See the opportunity in supporting new ways of working in DevOps and IoT.
POTENTIALS AND LIMITATIONS.
Test-Automation of course is not the one and only saviour to the challenges you’ll be facing when evolving your network. There are limitations we want to prominently address in the first place:
IS CHANGING TO AUTOMATED TESTS JEOPARDISING MY RELEASE MANAGEMENT?
It sure can be if executed wrong. When done right though, the automated release test will quickly pass the manual execution depending on the size of the test suites and amount of test cases.
Depending on the quantity and complexity of new features within the releases, your regression-test pool may increase with every new release, but the benefit in terms of time and effort will improve over time.
An effect that will also be harmonized in terms of costs:
Not everything can (or even should) be automated and as we stated before:
automation is not the solution to all your problems.
To enable the best possible integration and acceptance, you should consider the following:
concentrate on tests which deliver machine-readable results
likely not all tests should or can be automated – keep an eye on efforts to automate
Also, from our experiences, manual exploratory tests should still part of a regression – even with a very high grade of possible automation. They deliver valuable results, especially in an agile development-environment, where tests are carried out as well by developers. Just consider the psychological effect that none of your developers want to find any errors from a certain level of maturity…
AN OVERVIEW OF THE POTENTIAL OF TEST AUTOMATION ACROSS THE VARIOUS DESCIPLINES
1) For infrastructure testing we use ROBOTFRAMEWORKS which can be support by various tools to support Model Based Testing i.e. Testmodeller.io. Also, the usage of GHERKIN is a good example to reduce the efforts during the test design phase.
The topic of Test Data Management should be considered in specific cases, too:
Generation of test data
Anonymization of production-related test data
Filling and emptying of databases
IMPACT TO THE ORGANIZATION AND PROCESSES.
However, test automation is not only a financial investment:
Adequate processes, organisational structures and the appropriate skills need to be in place. Let us not consider the impact of agile approaches. Just focus on release testing, driven by external influences i.e., security updates, bug fixing, etc.
As an example, the current involved individuals or functions in Release Testing are:
From our experience test automation adds new areas of activities and requires additional skill sets as well:
THE EVOLUTION OF YOUR TESTING-PROCESSES.
When it comes to details, the process may look like this:
OUR POSITION TO TEST-AUTOMATION.
We think, test automation is essential to the future success of release testing to your network.
Besides the obvious benefits of
1. Reduction of OPEX on mid term
2. Retain knowledge in the company by “written & coded” tests
3. Securing network stability
4. Increasing test quality by eliminating manual operation
5. Speeding up the roll out of new features
it impacts your organisation in a positive matter.
LOOK AT YOUR TALENTS!
“Manual testing” is not very attractive if it is done repeatedly. The career path of a “tester” within organisations is very limited, too. Continuously enhancing the automation will give the involved team members the opportunity to grow beyond their current expertise.
Considering, that agile approaches deliver services to customers and internal departments more and more common, additional benefits will arise from the test-automation and add a very positive social aspect, too.