There is not a single business today that does not run on at least one piece of software. Moreover, the rate of digital transformation in recent years has driven the proliferation of software applications in a bid for greater efficiency and agility and to bolster the customer experience. To stay competitive in today’s digital-forward marketplace, businesses must deliver new products to markets faster than ever, says Kevin Thompson, CEO, Tricentis.
But they must also ensure quality at this accelerated pace, or risk damage to their brand reputation. And in the face of economic turbulence, they must achieve all this on tighter budgets with smaller teams and a consolidated tech stack. This brings testing capabilities into sharp focus for software development teams. Without a continuous testing strategy in place, the pace of development will be throttled.
In this article we look at the market trends that are shaping software strategies, and how organisations can adapt to survive and thrive by honing their tech stacks and testing solutions.
Adapting to survive in a challenging economic climate
In the face of a turbulent economic environment and talent shortages, organisations will need to adapt to survive and thrive in the year ahead. If companies do not make changes to continue operating on smaller budgets and with fewer employees, it will become increasingly difficult to reach financial and business goals.
Part of this adaptation process to reduce budgets and team strain will be the rationalisation of the applications that have been on-boarded over the past couple of years. Many organisations now have so many applications that one renders another redundant; essentially offering the same value but with duplicate expense. Think Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Slack, all offering similar functionality and running concurrent subscriptions. But these applications don’t just cost money, they also require time and resources to ensure compliance, data governance and security.
To maintain lean operating structures and expenses, organisations need to consolidate and optimise these applications based on the value they offer, both in terms of cost and manpower. As these new, consolidated tech stacks are migrated, deployed and maintained, automated testing will represent a crucial element to ensuring both quality and speed, without placing further strain on workforces.
However, business efficiency cannot simply be achieved by cutting the number of software applications or services used. Indeed, in many cases efficiency is underpinned by these digital tools, creating a fine line to tread between consolidation and the acceleration of digital transformation.
While it’s important to ensure that you have the right tools in place and not overspend on inconsequential software, economic uncertainty can also be used as an opportunity to adopt and invest in new technologies. For example, embracing cloud-first technologies can increase focus on customer engagement while simultaneously reducing organisational budgets if approached in the right way.
The implementation of the right digital solutions, including test automation tools, will allow leaner teams to move more quickly and essentially to ‘do more with less’, without risking quality. But enterprises must be willing to be agile and invest in digital solutions up front in order to realise this opportunity.
The significance of AI in testing
Application quality can make or break a business’ reputation as users freely share reviews and ratings of businesses’ mobile and cloud apps. This means that both speed and quality matter to keep up with demand and ensure that user interactions are positive, placing the importance of testing front and centre in the development process. For any app on any infrastructure, a continuous testing platform helps organisations release services faster and more secure, improve quality and performance, and reduce costs along the way.
AI is becoming an increasingly important part of this testing landscape. Testing involves large amounts of complex testing scenarios and test data, and many organisations struggle to scale test automation to the level their DevOps environment requires. The application of new technologies, like AI, to help improve testing speed and scalability therefore hastens the shift away from manual testing for software developers, drastically reducing the countless hours spent configuring and running test after test to ensure applications were accurately executing their function. The integration of automation in testing had already initiated streamlining and reducing the risk of error. Now, AI adoption is opening new doors in the testing industry.
Despite its growing popularity, AI is still often looked upon with caution, however. Maybe we aren’t yet afraid of a robot uprising or a “Terminator 2: Judgement Day” end of the world scenario, but there is real worry that AI will soon begin replacing jobs. Will development or testing teams be usurped by machines and computers who can complete the same tasks in a fraction of the time? We don’t think so.
Instead, AI will empower developers and testers to work more efficiently. AI integration is augmenting people and empowering exploratory testers to find more bugs and issues upfront, streamlining the process from development to deployment. We’ll see already lean teams working more efficiently and with less risk as AI continues to be implemented throughout the development cycle.
Specifically, AI-augmentation will help inform decision-making processes for DevOps teams by finding patterns and pointing out outliers, allowing applications to continuously ‘self-heal’ and freeing up time for teams to focus their brain power on the tasks that developers actually want to do and that are more strategically important to the organisation.
Quality at speed
Quality at speed is the name of the game when it comes to better business outcomes, bringing the importance of testing in the development process into sharp focus. By applying a continuous, AI-augmented testing solution to software development strategies, organisations can release faster in response to customer demands and market pressures. This allow organisations to remain current, ensure the all-important quality and performance that are required in today’s digital-first landscape, and reduce costs along the way in order to survive challenging economic conditions.
Software quality will become increasingly important across industries, such as healthcare, banking, and technology this year as businesses accelerate their digital transformations. As enterprise organisations develop applications that rely on continuous software updates, test automation is a crucial element to increasing release speeds and improving application quality, helping the organisation run more efficiently to meet its bottom line. Test automation gives organisations the ability to monitor and assess issues in real time, or even stop them before they occur. By adopting this real-time or even pre-emptive approach, major disruptions which can impact everything from productivity to customer experience or revenue, can be staved off.
The author is Kevin Thompson, CEO, Tricentis
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