While just 18% of European businesses have fully implemented a digital testing strategy, some 79% are working on it or will have their strategy in place in 12 months, according to a new study by market research and strategy firm, Pierre Audoin Consultants (PAC). So it’s still early, but that’s a proof point that digital transformation is well underway in Europe and that companies are taking many of the right steps to make deployments successful. Digital testing is one of them. Only 21% have no current plans.
“The proliferation of digital technologies in today’s high-velocity, software-driven business world is pushing every company to rethink and reinvent its approach to testing,” said Matthias Rasking in a recent article about the report. He’s the Europe, Africa and Latin America testing lead for Accenture. “We collaborated with PAC on this study to highlight the need for companies to develop a comprehensive digital testing strategy in support of their business strategy. The ability to roll out business capabilities continuously, create a seamless customer experience and protect the brand will be the difference between companies that can evolve and ones that stagnate.”
The study looked at 200 firms in Western Europe with 60% based in the three largest European countries: France, Germany and the UK. Senior staff were well represented, with 54% of respondents being CIOs or IT Director-level leaders. Let’s look at some of the findings and latest trends:
Trend: Growing Automation Coverage. According to the report, Digital Testing in Europe: Strategies, Challenges & Measuring Success, automation coverage is expected to expand rapidly in Europe over the next 12 months. Respondents indicated that in 2016 a growing number of business processes will be protected with functional test automation. Seventy-four percent will have some level of test automation in place in 2016, up from 59% this year. Twenty-eight percent of respondents indicated that more than half of their business processes will be covered by automation in 2016, up from just 8% in 2015. That’s a big 12-month jump in automation coverage.
Trend: Increasing Test Frequency. The study also found that about half of European firms (51%) test their digital processes on a project basis, while more than a quarter (27%) test on a more regular basis - monthly or daily. As the need for more agile testing becomes paramount, the level of testing on a daily basis is expected to increase, according to PAC.
“At European companies, continuous testing was identified as the number one driver in keeping the testing function closely engaged with business leadership, because both sides need to keep pace with increasingly rapid innovation cycles,” said Nick Mayes, principal analyst, PAC. “We expect to see more and more organizations turning to high velocity automation to ensure quality across business processes that span digital platforms, as well as traditional enterprise apps,” he said.
The math is simple – if the digital landscape is changing daily or weekly, and you’re only checking business processes on a quarterly basis (or less!), then the business is exposed to the risk of software failure. Why? Because you may be deploying software changes that are untested. With today’s cloud apps, it can even happen without your knowledge.
Trend: Business Process-Centric Testing. When asked how digital strategies will change testing and QA approaches, 60% of study respondents indicated they will become more business process-centric, while 40% indicated they will become more applications-centric. The trend was strongest in the UK (74%) and Benelux (67%) with majorities favoring a business process-based approach. The need to improve quality remains the number one driver for digital testing projects overall, along with the push for greater efficiency in the way testing is performed.
The findings support exactly what we are seeing in the marketplace – rapid adoption of automation and the high velocity testing of critical business processes. Companies are running automation nightly across dozens of virtual machines to check every core business function. Businesses can’t afford disruption, and need to deploy new digital technologies quickly and with high quality. As European organizations accelerate their digital agendas, automated functional testing makes it possible to keep pace with technology change and ensure end-to-end business process quality across complex digital landscapes.
“The digital agenda is having a profound impact on the testing strategies of many European organizations. It is moving testing closer to the business, driving them to leverage different tools, methodologies and external partners, and it is forcing businesses to change at greater speed,” concludes Nick Mayes.
Automation offers a way for CIOs to keep up. “Automation coverage looks set to expand rapidly in the next 12 months,” according to the report. As the pace of digital change accelerates, the study finds a trend toward greater levels of automation, higher test frequency, and an increase in business process-centric approaches to quality assurance – all of which are essential for successful digital transformation. We believe this holds true not just for EMEA, but for North America and the rest of the world as well.