Automation implementation is carried out at individual project level leading to inconsistent and unsustainable manner of test automation. This results in giving only short term benefits and not reaps the entire benefits of automation. Since automation is done at project levels the focus is more of the entire functionality and not based on the risk based assessment of what needs to be automated. Bringing automation to an enterprise level gives more benefits to organizations as explained below.
2.0 Challenges in Program level automation
Program level automation comes with its own challenges.
• Automation taken up within the program based on ROI analysis
• Lacks sustainable automation strategy for automating the End 2 End scenarios or real live business process
• Each program adapts different tools, framework, integration becomes a difficult
• Doesn’t consider integrated IT assets and strategy to build automation which can give benefits over longer term.
• Scaling program level automation into enterprise level will end up in failure.
• Teams work in with in a boundary and no view of the entire portfolio or application and their interactions within them.
3.0 Enterprise Test Automation
Enterprise wide test automation is a beneficial proposition for organization with heterogeneous IT landscape requiring updates and enhancement in more regular intervals. Enterprise test automation works with a central group of automation engineer deployed on various project within the company working on similar set of tools, framework.
3.1 Implementing Enterprise Test Automation
3.1.1 Step 1: Opportunity Analysis:
Gathering information of the number of application across the landscape for the following parameters will help in assessing the need for such an enterprise automation team
• Application regression test coverage
• Application stability
• Life span of the application
• Opportunity to improve the test efficiency
• Need to run test across applications when there is a change in one application
• Improve time to market of the product
These parameter can be rated as per the company needs to get an aggregate score to understand if the enterprise test automation team will bring in value to the IT operations.
3.1.2 Step 2: Setup Enterprise Team
Once the opportunity analysis shows that there is an opportunity within the IT operation to start and significantly help in testing process. Automation team across programmes can be got under the management of a single umbrella which can guide and implement process, framework, tools, techniques, etc.,
The core team can set up the guiding principles of automation while the actual automation team will spread across various project but follow the guiding principles set up by the core enterprise team.
3.1.3 Step 3: Common Framework and Test Data
Enterprise automation team need to look across various automation programmes that already exist and suggest or select the best tool and framework available. If the IT operation doesn’t yet have automation it will be simple to set this rather than in a situation where in there are multiple automation teams within the organization. Test data also can be well managed and reused across the projects and automation across application.
Due to synergy within the enterprise automation team the automation of real business flows arising with interaction between various applications can be easily achieved than before.
3.1.4 Step 4: Develop Automation Suite
Developing automation script is the phase where scripts are generated along all applications. Modular script with a common framework and same type of test data management will allow easy integration with minimal efforts and helping the organization achieve a good level of automation and few end 2 end scenario across application which can be executed whenever there are changes in any application within the portfolio.
3.1.5 Step 5: Sustaining & Maintenance of Automation Script
Once the automation suite has been created, it is important to ensure it doesn’t become obsolete as new enhancements are made to the applications. Test team may not have the required skills to update the scripts hence the enterprise automation team will need to own the scripts and keep updating as per the changes or new enhancement.
Enterprise team can also have a responsibility to update functional teams about the amount and percentage of automation present and any changes or additional functionality affecting the percentage which can help the functional team to execute the required test manually.
3.2 Benefits of Enterprise Test Automation
Listed below are few of the benefits achieved due to test automation at an enterprise level:
• Automation script develop to be at an end 2 end level that can be executed every time there is a new build within any of the applications within the portfolio
• Interaction with other enterprise teams if available will prove beneficial to understand the overall IT programme and their interactions
• Common methodology, framework, test data management will prove extremely beneficial during any end 2 end automation
3.3 Challenges for Enterprise Test Automation
Listed below are few of the challenges that need to tackle for enterprise test automation
• Need to get the existing team under an enterprise umbrella may be challenging where ever there is already automation team within the programme
• Due to the varying nature of applications within a portfolio adapting to same tools and framework across applications can be challenging
Though we have adequate benefits and challenges with the enterprise automation, since it is managed under one umbrella challenges can be more easily management and centrally controlled. This makes it a point that enterprise level automation team can add significant more value than the programme level teams.
Companies moving towards enterprise level automation team can gain from reusing the existing scripts available and integrating them to build a real users actions across the applications