Leverage the Entire Automation Lifecycle
to Support Change Management
Change management is a loaded phrase. For businesses, change is ongoing and necessary to drive innovation. For IT departments, change brings risk. As we encourage decentralized change in the form of Agile methodologies and autonomous cross-functional teams who regularly push new things into production, we increase the need for sound, integrated change management strategies that include continuous test automation.
Enterprise packaged applications like SAP are especially vulnerable to change risk. Without continuous testing, the impact of disrupting the engine on which your entire business functions can be significant. Gartner predicted that through 2020, 80% of the incidents that impact an enterprise ERP solution will arise from ineffective or absent integrated application change management processes.
But can there be such a thing as integrated change management in today’s IT environments? How can you allow the flexibility necessary to drive continued innovation while creating a balance of standards and oversight that alleviate the chaos of disruption, protecting your critical business processes?
The answer is Connective Automation. The most valuable automation is not only reusable but also has the ability to span applications and devices, adding value at every stage of the automation lifecycle. Your business processes don’t exist in a single app, so your automation shouldn’t be siloed either.
Everybody’s Doing It | Cross-Functional Teams Build Automation
In environments where everyone is doing their own thing, it’s important to have consistent elements that can be shared. When built properly, automation artefacts can be shared across teams, across functional groups, and even across the entire organization. Connective Automation that supports the end-to-end testing of your business process can help ensure continuity for these mission critical tasks, no matter who is pushing changes into production.
How does this work? In Agile environments, a single sprint team is typically comprised of business functional team members, software developers, testers and QA team members. You might also have some operations team members who are doing the actual configurations and deployments. Everybody in that team can be contributing to automation in the ways that are most convenient to them.
Think about Connective Automation like a river that flows between diverse groups and functions, adding value at every step. Ideally, automation building begins with the business functional team to make sure that the right changes and requirements are included. You're also making sure that the developers are building automation to test the new functionality that they're building. And then you want the QA people to ensure that the automation is consistent and usable and that it works properly before you move on and deploy things into production. Next, you want the ops team members to take advantage of that shared automation to speed up their role in the project and set up their continuous delivery pipeline.
If Connective Automation can increase accuracy, streamline tasks, expedite delivery, and ensure quality for a single team, consider what it can do when applied at scale. If multiple sprint teams are contributing to a wave then these benefits are applied to the release rate. And if you’re looking at a scaled Agile model, the value of sharing automation quickly adds up.
It's Nice to Share | Automation Libraries Boost Test Efficiency
How do individuals across teams, functional groups and enterprises create and share automation? Establishing a reusable automation library makes it easy for organizations to find, build and maintain automation assets, sharing commonalities to support the collective goal of maintaining continuity for mission-critical business processes. For SAP regression testing, providing sprint teams access to established automation libraries allows them to run test automation more effectively to ensure their changes won’t “break” something else.
At any given time, you might have different applications at different development projects that are going on all simultaneously and changes within one application could easily impact another application. As more organizations operate in a multi-app environment with enterprise packaged applications, mobile applications and web applications all interacting with each other, you might have a dozen, or even a hundred different applications that work together to perform a business process. To achieve business level continuity or validation, you need to extend the automation sharing across teams, divisions, and operating units. Applying Connective Automation at enterprise scale exponentially boosts test efficiency and change monitoring, increasing the ROI of automation.
When it comes to ensuring enterprise continuity, a degree of standardization is absolutely necessary, especially for test automation. In order to avoid bottlenecks, that standardization should be primarily focused on best practices, on sharing lessons learned and to some extent on the technology and technologies and infrastructure that's being used. By developing and sharing a centralized library of automation assets that’s accessible to everyone, innovating enterprises can expedite the automation creation process and create consistency for what gets tests and how.
Testing & RPA | Build & Use Automation at Scale
If you want to infuse automation across your enterprise, there are two keys needed to leverage scalability: accurate knowledge transfer and a seamless connection between the stages of your automation lifecycle.
First, you need to engage the people who have deep understanding of how your business processes are intended to work. So the ability to enlist functional business users to provide a foundation for what your automated business process should look like is key. And since we know everyone is busy, providing a tool like Worksoft Capture, a mechanism for these functional team members to contribute to automation without disrupting their day-to-day responsibilities, will greatly increase your ability to get the data you need, while capturing it in a digital format that can fuel the next stage, which is test automation.
Once business users contribute, your QA organization now has a baseline of requirements that they can use to test actual business processes. And that accurate description of functionality can be used to visualize and document the business processes, as well as generate test automation.
Now, you can take this useful, accurate and digitally captured information to build reusable automation that can be leveraged across the business. At this point, your QA and automation professionals apply their expertise to determine how best to modularize this data. It’s here we consider how to make it portable from one system to another. How do you make it so this automation artefact can be shared by other projects? To add more value, you can use parts of the automation in operations for compliance and even for RPA.
All of these considerations go into designing your centralized automation library so that every area of your organization can be empowered to use the established automation, run it, deploy it into operations, scale it, and do all of this continuously.
How often you run the automation depends on your own change management process. Whether it’s event driven, set off by Jenkins or other triggers, or whether it runs continuously in the background, automation can be an effective resource to ensure those critical business processes function as intended even as changes occur.
So when it comes to test automation, consider the big picture for how automation can support effective change management. Identify continuous automation solutions that offer seamless connectivity between discovery, testing and RPA. And empower team members throughout your organization to streamline their efforts by leveraging Connective Automation at scale.