It started with working from home. That’s what fired off the rocket of digital transformation.

People who converted to virtual interactions with their customers did well, and those who didn’t suffered. But to do so, and keep up with those virtual competitors, often meant exposing things before they were ready, or even fully thought out. That led to a lot of technical debt, yet still didn’t calm the need for speed.

If you look to the Facebook-type models of extremely rapid releases, you’d need a highly scalable infrastructure with a rigorous testing environment – which on its face seems anathema to digital transformation –  to give you the ability to rapidly stand things up to test, and to perform those tests.

So, with your business online and on the line, it’s almost impossible to keep testing at a pace the business needs to adhere to without employing automation.

So said Arthur Hicken, evangelist at test solutions provider Parasoft, in a discussion we had leading up to this week’s Improve: Testing conference – at which Hicken will be presenting a session.

“You have to do things right now, you’re testing, and you’ve got to have a high degree of automation,” Hicken told SD Times. “You’ve got to have a high degree of confidence in that automation. And you’ve got to make sure that you can do everything you can not just to find bugs, but you’ve got to stop creating so many bugs in the first place.”

Parasoft has supported rigorous testing efforts for years, in medical devices and other areas where safety is critical – what Hicken likes to call “planes, trains and automobiles.” And in that space, he said, organizations are kind of slow to adopt new practices.

“It’s interesting because what happens is that we see the enterprise market looking more at the rigor because they need that mission-critical reliability,” Hicken said. “And we see the safety-critical market where the volume of code is exploding, we see them adopting. I mean, agile is becoming the norm. It’s not the disruptors, it’s the market leaders. DevOps, containerization, lightweight tools, CI/CD have all become the norm.”

Parasoft this year has been positioned among the leaders in the Forrester Wave for Continuous Automation Testing platforms, showing both a strong product offering and a strong strategy. Hicken said Parasoft has been hyper-focused on AI augmentation – not looking to build an AI “silver bullet,” but looking at real problems people have with test creation, test execution and test maintenance. He calls these, “all the ways to reduce the effort on developers, especially tedious efforts. And to give them guidance for things that might not be obvious.”

It also involves “the ability to do self-healing, and the test impact analysis so that when you do make a change, and you’re worried about is this change that I made going to break my online infrastructure, that we can give you the exact correct set of tests that make sure that that functionality is working properly, no more, no less,” he explained.

At the end of the day, Hicken said, “when you’re looking for continuous testing tools, you’re looking for something that can solve an actual problem you have. You’re not looking for, say, a service virtualization tool; you’re looking for a tool that can help you test before other components are ready. You’re not looking for a UI automation tool; you’re looking to make sure that your tool isn’t going to break down when you release it.”