To meet the requirements of digital transformation, organizations need to apply Agile methodologies and increase automated testing coverage to deliver “quality at speed” change. In the sense that digital transformation and the need to deliver new products and services poses a “risk versus quality” dilemma for organizations, the move to delivering continuous change requires this forward shift in testing methodologies. Panaya Ltd.’s test tools are designed to accelerate business process testing across all the test levels with a high level of automated testing.

Organizations are faced with challenges when it comes to testing from a business process view. Rafi Kretchmer, VP of marketing at Panaya, explains. “The overall test cycle can be divided into three steps: how I plan my tests, what’s happening during execution of the tests, and what do I do as part of the evaluation,” he said. “One of the key challenges is that traditional testing methodologies run these three stages of the process but do so at the task level, so I need to make sure that Task A is now being performed. Whereas, from a business prospective, the business application owners won’t understand what the status of Task A is, but will want to know the status of their order to create the business process change that they are about to introduce to the market. Many of the testing tools today lack this ability.”

Testing teams need to scope the actual project’s needs accurately and not run sets of unnecessary tests.  That’s more easily said than done. The reason this can happen is because in the project planning phase they don’t have the visibility to accurately scope the impacts of the change on the environment so they take a cautious approach and test more than needed. “This means of course that they lack efficiency. If you test more than needed, it delays project delivery and wastes resources,” says Kretchmer.

Another challenge testing teams face is cooperation across teams. Kretchmer points out, “This is very important in today’s IT world. IT needs to change from being a support-oriented role to being business enablers. This interaction between IT and business owners becomes critical as IT and business converge.” Because business owners are taking a more functional part in the overall test and change delivery processes they need to have the right tools in place. However, most existing test tools were designed for technical testers. Business people find them difficult to operate, maintain, and access test results they understand.

The state of automation
Most organizations are exploring test automation to increase efficiency and accelerate testing cycles. While there’s much buzz, the actual number of early adopters is low. Currently test automation is focused on regression testing. It’s much more prevalent in functional performance and load testing. Kretchmer paints a picture of why automation is at the stage it is. “Businesses today only automate five to ten percent of their test cases,” he said. “This is staggeringly low. The reason is it’s expensive to automate everything and not everything can be automated. For example, new functionality cannot be automated because it’s never been tested before.”

Making a difference
Panaya Test Center differentiates itself from its competitors because its approach to testing is unique. It takes a hard look at the business process, making it a dual-priority and layering it alongside of its many technical capabilities. The result is that it’s more user-friendly to business stakeholders throughout the testing cycle.

Kretchmer says that the first key capability testers notice is ease of use. “Out of over three hundred customers who are using PTC in production, we have yet to have a customer who wasn’t up and running in less than a day. Some of them in less than an hour,” he said. Case studies on the website show quick onboarding of both technical and business users.

Visibility and risk analysis ranks second on its key capabilities list, according to Kretchmer. “Based on code analysis, we’re able to predict what the impacted areas of a specific change will be.” This functionality gives testers the flexibility to determine which tests need to be run and which are unnecessary.

Based on machine learning, PTC uses autonomous testing to eliminate manually engineered test cases. It mirrors the production network using low footprint agents on the production systems that record in real time to automatically generate test cases. It’s no longer necessary to personally interview people to understand the business – the knowledge capture process —  which is costly and time-consuming.

Enabling collaboration between the various stakeholders is another key feature that Kretchmer highlighted. “Whenever a user finishes their test, an automatic message will be sent to the next stakeholder to continue the test cycle. If there is a defect, users can report and share them with the various relevant stakeholders.”   

On the roadmap
Panaya is working on what it calls a “two-phase approach” to automation that will roll out toward the end of 2017 or early in 2018. The purpose of this is to increase automation coverage from 10 percent to 10 or 30 percent.  “We start with attended automation based on manual testing for the first phase and record those,” Kretchmer said. “Then, using machine learning technology, we categorize and create automated tests as the second phase.

Panaya is working on bringing the world of Agile technologies to the enterprise because, as Kretchmer points out, “Testing is no longer an afterthought.”  

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