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What Does Large-Scale Automation Look Like for a Digital Business?

For one thing, deploy new stuff early and often with less risk

large scale automation cio

Digital businesses need to deploy new functionality into production on an almost-daily basis to take full advantage of the flexibility offered by the virtual world. Why? Because the business demands it. As you see every day, today’s digital technology projects happen on a much faster timeline than ever before, where typical projects last days-to-weeks rather than months-to-years. Large-scale automation makes it possible to deploy this new business functionality early and often - while significantly mitigating the risk of business disruption or major glitches during the process.

Expect fast. People expect fast, glitch-free, high quality deployment of applications in their personal lives, on their phones, tablets, home computers, and in the cloud. Why should it be different in digital business? In fact, today’s youngest future business leaders and IT professionals have never experienced anything else. Everyone expects fast and flawless.

Previously, I outlined 5 steps that businesses can take to accelerate their digital business strategy with automation. Today, I’ll drill down into the use of automation to accelerate deployment of new enterprise application functionality. In subsequent posts we will discuss other aspects of applied automation.

Expect frequent. Let’s start with a real world scenario. Assume you have a popular consumer-facing web site that is routinely accessed by millions of subscribers from a variety of devices. Furthermore, this web site is the primary source of revenue for the company and is also connected to your suppliers via B2B interfaces. You want to offer customers the best possible experience and fresh new functionality with frequent updates to keep them coming back. You also want to streamline connections to your suppliers and update the associated fulfillment processes to continuously improve your delivery timelines. This requires frequent updates. So how often is too often?

What if you could run through and check all of your major business scenarios and their variations in less than two hours, the same way your end users do? This would ensure that in a two-hour window you could verify that no major business functionality was broken and that every process was operating correctly.

At this point you may be thinking, “Wait, in my business I have thousands of process scenarios with hundreds of variations across business units and geographies! Is this even possible? Is this guy delusional?” I assure you that I’m not. Industry leading companies are doing exactly this on a daily basis. And you can too. But how?

Expect flawless. Automation is the key. Automation software for process validation and functional testing allows you to run through literally millions of business process steps (just like your users do every day!) to validate that nothing is broken.

You can do it every night for every business process in every geography across every enterprise application. And when a defect is found, it is flagged immediately for your technology team – before a business user or customer even sees it. With automation, defect removal efficiencies (DRE) will skyrocket into the 90th percentile.

Achieve scale with virtual machines. It works this way. The automation software can be run on dozens of virtual machines in the cloud to get scale. During the course of automated business process validation, each of these machines interact with your websites and enterprise applications, running through all of your real-world, complex business scenarios with real life data, and verifying that things are working as expected. The machines will only be spun up on demand and then are decommissioned when the scenarios finish executing.

Automation for digital business is not science fiction. It’s real and happening today. For one of the largest U.S. Federal programs, Worksoft Certify® is used to validate over half a million business process steps every day in 2 hours on more than 100 virtual machines.

In another example, a global manufacturer of luxury brands validates their core business processes worldwide with 600 hours of automation on more than 30 virtual machines every day! The manager in charge recently told us, “We have no choice but to have a robust automation solution, because we can’t survive without it. It would just be impossible to cover every business process for an upgrade without automation.”

Digital businesses require an automation platform to ensure quality and manage the pace of change efficiently. Without one, it’s just impossible.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you’d like to learn more.

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