How Test Automation Can Accelerate Business Transformation

Antoine Craske

Posted On: July 28, 2022

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Read time6 Min Read

Digital business transformation is a race against time. A company’s survival directly depends on its transformation speed with continuous pressure to reinvent itself in short cycles. In such a competitive ecosystem, only first movers can gain a competitive advantage.

And transforming a business with digital requires continuously improving the company’s value proposition through software. The challenge is to accelerate the delivery of valuable software while guaranteeing the stability of business operations.

Testing is one of the activities companies rely on to improve their confidence when changing software components. Organizations usually start with a manual testing approach that can help at the start, but that quickly reaches limitations in terms of scalability.

Test automation is pivotal to provide reliable and fast feedback loops to software teams, enabling them to accelerate. And that increased speed enables business transformation of companies.

Test automation supports core business functions continuity

Transforming a business is like renovating a house you are living in—part of the rooms is changed while still using the other ones as usual. It is the same for digital transformation, incremental changes are required as a big-bang approach is not possible.

And like with a house, it is equally a question of foundations. Trying to change parts of a complex software system without knowing first its actual behavior is a risky approach. Even small changes can result in cascading issues directly impacting the business.

Teams need a way to rapidly verify if the existing functionalities are still working. Automated tests of non-regression are one area of test automation that can provide such feedback loops in a timely manner, in a repeatable and scalable way.

Organizations successfully implementing non-regression tests gain the confidence to maintain the existing business behavior and operations. As a result, they can accelerate with test automation to speed up recurring validation cycles that were previously ineffective.

And they can accelerate even more testing earlier.

Early test automation accelerates incremental changes

Delivering software at speed requires minimizing defects in the first place and reducing the costs of fixing them. Shift-left is a paradigm pushing for acting upstream in the lifecycle to improve quality, including smaller changes with test automation.

Teams able to split business ideas into smaller software increments can deliver software with more velocity. The remaining challenge is to quickly validate changes to avoid the accumulation of pending changes blocking the flow of business value delivery.

Test automation can be leveraged to accelerate the cycles of validation with tests performed upstream. And by being faster to validate, the entire team can benefit from a continuous flow of changes with minimal rework and risks.

Organizations leveraging test automation early in their software lifecycle recurrently gain time that lets the team concentrate on what matters: incrementally improving the business through experimentation with confidence.

Test automation enables continuous value measurement

Delivering a successful user experience through software requires to perform successful experiments that improve the companys’ value proposition. But organizations are limited by the speed at which they can assess the value delivered to scale experimentation.

Testing value hypotheses requires measuring the effective delivery of value from a customer point of view, when directly using the product. A traditional approach with manual testing can work but leads to delayed improvements compared to faster competitors.

Test automation can be leveraged to systematically measure the value delivered based on customer journeys, freeing the team from performing costly and slow tests. As a result, the organization can accelerate its cycle-time of value-hypothesis testing.

And companies can capitalize on automated tests focused on value to monitor the value delivered in production, for example by performing customer journey monitoring based on the key value metrics such as customer creation or order entry.

Continuous test automation supports business monitoring

Changing a business that depends on software requires mastering the end-to-end lifecycle to deliver changes without impacting the business. The continuous feedback provided by test automation helps businesses achieve frictionless business changes.

Changing a system involves the risks of failing to deliver what is expected or disrupt other parts of the system. An effective way to minimize risks is to perform regular health checks to adapt the software more rapidly based on testing results on the entire software chain.

Organizations able to implement feedback along the software lifecycle with continuous test automation benefits from systematic and automated feedback on their system. The improved visibility let teams perform more business changes with limited disruption.

Change in the results of many changes making the difference over time. The cumulative gains of delivering successful business changes with quality and speed result in an accelerated business transformation that always needs to go faster.

Intelligent test automation speeds up improvement cycles

The speed of business transformation speed is limited by the processing capability of humans and systems across the lifecycle. When organizations already leveraged improvements with automation, their next step is accessing intelligent automation.

Intelligent automation is about automating complex decision matrices normally taken by human brains. The concept is applicable to many areas such as software, and also to the domain of test automation.

Teams accelerating software delivery have to rapidly implement, maintain and execute tests to answer “Can we deliver that change now?”. The issue is that with more components and tests to perform, the feedback loops are usually delayed, limited by the system capabilities.

The use of intelligent test automation can help reduce limiting factors across the software lifecycle such as reducing the number of tests to execute depending on the change, parallelize tests that do not have dependencies, or give a prediction about false positive results.

Test automation is an accelerator of business transformation

Transforming a business through software is not the result of one-shot efforts or random luck; it’s the results of a systematic and rapid experimentation where software becomes an integral part of the customer experience and business operations.

Test automation enables the delivery of valuable software with more confidence, faster feedback, and reduced risks. The capability to accelerate both value-hypothesis testing and software delivery is what enables to accelerate the business transformation.

Testing after software changes or trying to follow software teams is not sufficient. Testing must be performed in just-in-time, alongside business changes and operations to maximize its value to the entire organization.

More than an act, test automation makes the difference by becoming a habit that is part of the business and the software value-chain. It’s about embedding quality and testing at each level of the software lifecycle with Quality Engineering to accelerate business transformation.

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Antoine Craske

Passionate about digital, architecture, transformation with more than ten years of experience in the software industry in different positions as engineer, project director, engineering director, IT transformation, management and architecture. Founder and organizer of the QE Unit, the Quality Engineering community. Director of Architecture & Technology at La Redoute, Co-Founder of Cerberus Testing, Partner at Meetup organizer at TICE.Leiria, Ministry of Testing Leiria.

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