In a nutshell, digital transformation refers to the radical and comprehensive transformation of businesses by leveraging all available digital technologies such as cloud technology, big data, analytics, social media, etc. As the focus of technological undertakings shifts to acknowledge that customer experience is the core objective for every IT undertaking, digital transformation has emerged as the pivotal gateway to ensuring that this goal is realised. Digital transformation enables enterprises to expand their operations by making it easier to communicate with their customers — present and prospective — more efficiently. Forward-thinking businesses across industries are recognising the importance of digital transformation for sustainable growth and enhanced customer experience and are investing heavily in IT systems specialising in digital transformation.

In the current market scenario, characterised by cut-throat competitiveness, a significant way in which businesses can carve a niche for themselves is by ensuring high software quality in every product it releases in the market. To achieve this, businesses need to make a concerted attempt to increase the robustness of its quality assurance (QA) process, with a special emphasis on automating the QA process.

As businesses attempt to create market-ready and superior softwares in the shortest periods of time,   it can leave the product vulnerable to many minor and major bugs and vulnerabilities that can, in the long term, prove very costly for the business. The issue is further compounded when the issue concerns a breach of security, as it can seriously hamper the company’s credibility and shake the customer’s faith in it. Automation not only ensures standardised QA for every product, but also helps the business implement processes to ensure continuous improvement in existing QA tools and practices, which in turn leads to a consistently superior quality of product. When QA is automated and integrated throughout the product development lifecycle, quality and testing become a shared responsibility between all members of the team, encouraging a spirit of collaboration among all teams.

QA automation in an agile environment

Given the mercurial nature of the rapidly evolving digital landscape, business models have to allow for continuous innovation in their DT efforts, depending on changing market conditions, unpredictable circumstances, shifting goals, and fluctuating resources. This is done by using the agile approach to development, allowing businesses to review the product after every completed phase, and adapt it to suit changing needs. Given that the agile approach is characterised by continuous development, integration, and sprint-wise releases, automating the testing process is the only way to cope with the demands of agile, ensuring fast delivery of test results without the hassles and delays experienced in manual testing. QA Automation in an agile environment can help businesses perform critical, lengthy and repetitive tests faster, without human intervention.

DevOps transformation improves QA automation

Within the DevOps approach, traditional roles involved in the development of the software are merged. The DevOps culture is characterised by close collaboration among the developers, operations, QA, and business management teams, with each stakeholder responsible for every step in the software delivery process. This kind of cross-functioning enhances quality, as well as the speed of delivery because development, integration and testing happen in real-time. Such a culture of collaboration reduces the time, risk and cost of change in softwares, paving the way for functional test automation and a continuous delivery mechanism.

Parallel testing an integral aspect of QA automation

Most companies use a combination of the agile and DevOps approach, both of which enable incremental updates to softwares within production, ensuring a continuous delivery pipeline. However continuous releases require testing of a number of interactions of the software. When multiple iterations of the software being tested are experiencing breakdowns and need fixing, the amount of time and resources needed to identify and fix each bug can be enormous. Parallel testing of different iterations, combined with automated testing of repetitive tests free up time for the team to look at breakdowns more comprehensively as they occur, and in a productive manner, instead of trying to fix them at the last possible minute. Automated testing also allows the team time and resources to undertake exploratory testing to preempt future breakdowns.