By Sastri Munsamy, Executive: Technology and Innovation, and Steve Beck, Automation Architect, for Inspired Testing
As a Thomson Reuters customer, you’re already well aware of the benefits of using Elite 3E for streamlining and optimising business performance. But have you given thought to the (many) benefits of automating the testing of your Elite 3E deployment?
Automated testing has been around for many years, but only recently have most companies cottoned on to the cost saving and other fundamental benefits of not only automating their software testing, but also getting their testing started as early in the development cycle as possible.
Testing a software platform like Elite 3E is even more business critical considering how the base product is typically customised and modified by the customer, with add-ons and modules that frequently introduce new functionality and customer-requested features over time.
Given the complexity, scope and sheer size of the platform – and the fact that it touches almost every part of your business, from payroll to timekeeping to receipting – even the smallest change in one module can have an effect on other modules that you might not be aware of, until it’s too late.
If, like so many other Elite 3E users, you regularly customise your system, you’ll know how time consuming and costly manual testing these changes can become. That’s where test automation comes in. Using an automated test pack for the base Elite 3E modules and adding regression packs for each new build or modification, you can easily and cost-effectively keep pace with changes to the system while maintaining absolute certainty that your entire system has been tested and verified long before it’s exposed to your customers.
That last bit is particularly important, because delaying testing until public deployment potentially exposes your business to unforeseen costs or worse, large scale reputational damage. For example, imagine doing a money transfer on your banking app that inadvertently goes to the wrong recipient without any recourse. You’d likely take your business elsewhere. By the time a software glitch makes it into the public domain, you’re already losing customers.
Manual testing doesn’t cut it nowadays, nor does self-proclaimed developer testing. A developer testing his own code is like me marking my own homework. There is always going to be an element of bias, and there will always be something missed. With a software platform like Elite 3E, there are also far too many variables to practically test them all manually.
Take compatibility, for instance. Not only does any modification to the software need to be tested on the many different browsers that your end users will be using to access the system – from Chrome to Firefox, Edge to Safari – it will also need to be tested on multiple versions of those browsers. What starts off as a few dozen permutations often spirals into hundreds, sometimes thousands of tests very quickly.
Test automation ensures both consistency and reliability regardless of how often you’re testing, and how many different platforms you’re testing on. It also removes the ‘human element’ from testing that eliminates the natural tendency to ‘skip’ testing minor builds or revisions.
It’s very human to ignore the possibility that a small change in one Elite 3E module could negatively impact a completely unrelated module elsewhere in the system, but these are the types of issues test automation is adept at uncovering. Done early enough – as in as soon as the change is made to the original code and before it gets uploaded to the operational system – you’ll never have to face a scenario where a live customer is exposed to a software flaw.
In every single case and over a period of time, it is far less costly to automate your testing and to test early than to defer testing duties to developers, to manually test software revisions, or to take a chance that an unexpected issue will see the light of day.