Managing innovation is crucial and complex. But it doesn’t need to be hard.
Embracing innovative new technologies has the potential to fundamentally transform business. But at the same time CIOs are often challenged with introducing these new technologies into complex existing enterprise systems while avoiding business disruption, production outages, delays or rework. Failure to do so can result in high costs and project failures; success offers unparalleled opportunities for competitive advantage.
That success is achieved through the use of proven strategies that can help institutionalize the process of change, accelerate innovation, and minimize disruption.
1) Recognize that managing risk requires business process testing: When organizations do not validate their business processes through testing, they introduce risk into the enterprise. This seems like a “no brainer.” However, the reality is that testing is often shortchanged for a variety of reasons — from deadline squeezes or budget cuts, to a reliance on incomplete and time-consuming manual testing.
Today, the complexity around testing has increased dramatically due to the huge variety of applications and platforms businesses require. Let’s face it, today’s users expect every business application to work on any device from anywhere at all times. It’s daunting work to ensure this level of quality, but automation makes it dramatically easier – and possible to manage in a cost-effective way.
2) Take an end-to-end approach: Too often teams consider only business processes as far as an application’s boundaries. This misses the fact that in most large companies, typical business processes span multiple systems, geographies, lines of business and processes. The answer is an end-to-end approach, but also one that engages subject matter experts from different functional areas of the company in the validation process, so it’s not unduly burdensome for them or impacting to their business.
3) Quickly capture business processes: Before any process can be validated and tested, the business process needs to be understood. A smart approach is to capture and document the real business process, directly from subject matter experts. Using today’s automation technology, it’s possible. With solutions dedicated to business process discovery and validation, like Worksoft Certify and its companion product Worksoft Analyze, there is no easier or faster way to discover and capture real process information for automated functional testing.
The business process capture is really the start of the automation process, because processes can then be easily extended to cover geographic variations, site-specific processes and the nuances of different business units. On top of that, results and screen captures can automatically generate process documents for compliance, audit, training and other purposes. That can save huge chunks of cost and time versus manual effort. Captured business processes can also be turned into realistic load tests ensuring top performance and user experiences under real-world conditions.
4) Set up test automation for critical business processes: With automation in place, you can push a button and have confidence that 80% of core business processes will function perfectly – or catch any defects before they impact the business. This is impossibly impractical with manual testing alone—it’s too slow, expensive and leaves an incomplete picture of your technology risk. First generation, script-based automation tools are too fragile and can’t keep up with today’s high rate of change, but modern automated business process testing software delivers simplicity, speed, resilience and completeness.
5) Institutionalize a center of excellence: All of these strategies build up to one of the most powerful things an enterprise can do to support innovation: Establish a center of excellence by putting a team in place with a charter to accelerate innovative technology deployment while ensuring quality in business processes and the applications that support them. Typically, these centers are housed within an IT or quality organization and managed as a budgeted line item. For many companies, this is a radical departure from the past when business process testing and quality assurances were managed on a one-off project basis—or not at all. In our next blog, Worksoft will look at the adoption of Testing Centers of Excellence (TCOE).
Introducing innovative technology can be a complex process for CIOs and IT departments. But using solutions to automate testing and capture business processes, taking an end-to-end approach and establishing a center of excellence can transform change management from a pain into a competitive advantage.