Test Standardization is the Catalyst for Success
As products become more complex and time-to-market expectations shorter, test data is essential. But without standardization, you only get a small part of the benefits.
Products are becoming more complex and time-to-market windows are shrinking. Ongoing efficiency improvements are critical to boost quality, manage costs, and outpace the competition.
Test automation is an enabler to improving performance, but it’s not all you need. You must align your people, processes, and technology to maximize the benefits of automated testing.
Let’s explore the benefits of a holistic approach, why it’s time to reimagine your test automation efforts, and how to get there.
If you have been automating test for years, you have experienced the benefits of reduced manual work and improved test coverage. But still, organizations are under continued pressure to boost quality, navigate product complexity, accelerate time-to-market, and optimize costs.
Advanced product features are dependent on many variables to work properly. As a result, the volume of test scenarios is growing exponentially. Comprehensive and consistent testing is critical to ensure all failures are identified while meeting tight time-to-market windows.
Today’s test leaders must invest in test automation that surpasses their current efforts. Test organizations can push the status quo, gain efficiencies, and drive innovation by considering the entire value stream from testing and data acquisition to analyzing and sharing results across functions.
Legacy test operations can be fragmented using various systems, software, and languages. This decentralized model makes information gathering, consolidation, and analysis incredibly complex. Test engineers often repeat tests, toggle between software, and perform manual analysis to make sense of it all. These disconnects slow down the process, potentially producing inconsistent results. Ultimately, product quality and safety could be compromised.
Multiply these challenges across test operations in various locations, and the consequences can adversely impact your business. The same tools you implemented to reduce human error and enable speed could instead be driving inefficiencies and restricting collaboration.
You may have savvy programmers who have developed a patchwork of tools to connect systems and consolidate data, but this approach is not sustainable in the long term. Modern organizations need a testing platform that is easy to configure and maintain across test operations while being scalable as the business evolves.
As the saying goes, time is money. When you optimize people and accelerate time-to-market, the impacts are tangible and measurable.
Experienced test leaders know that implementing new technology can yield huge dividends, but it can’t be done in isolation. To achieve the full benefits of test automation, people and processes must be fully aligned with the new technology.
Your test procedures should be reevaluated to incorporate automation at the appropriate stages to optimize operations. Test engineers must be trained to effectively use the new tools and processes. Meanwhile, state-of-the-art hardware is not as powerful without the software to power it.
When people and processes operate in harmony with integrated technology, test operations are positioned to enhance efficiency, accuracy, and scalability.
With every feature added to your product, there are more test scenarios to validate. Automated tests can run concurrently and at all hours of the day, allowing you to test multiple features simultaneously. Problems are found more quickly and overall time for test execution is reduced.
By automating repetitive and time-consuming test tasks, test engineers can spend more time on root cause analysis and collaborating across departments to improve products. The ability to focus on higher-level, strategic activities ultimately increases productivity, boosts employee job satisfaction, and fosters innovation.
Fire alarm manufacturer Ei Electronics has experienced these benefits firsthand. By working with NI to implement the same automation platform and language across their organization, they have accelerated product development with seamless communications among functions, such as R&D and product engineering.
Automated tests reduce and eliminate variability by following strict, predefined steps. This level of consistency maintains accuracy across different iterations and environments. Test automation also enables more effective regression testing to ensure that previously tested features continue to function correctly with ongoing changes.
By automating repetitive test cases, you reduce the risk of human fatigue, broaden test coverage, and ensure consistent test execution. The more you automate test operations, the further you can boost quality and reliability.
Quality improvements deliver measurable impacts to customer satisfaction and profitability. Appliance manufacturer Electrolux implemented automation throughout test operations and reduced warranty costs by 25 percent. Likewise, Ei Electronics improved manufacturing yields by 20 percent and reduced cycle time by 50 percent.
Test automation is a key driver of scalability. As new features, integrations, and functionality are added to products, testing scope and complexity are increased. Agile test operations can quickly create and modify test scripts to cover new scenarios without bogging down the test engineering team.
Electrolux has used test automation to tackle product complexity, achieve efficiency gains, and improve collaboration throughout 25 laboratories in five countries across three time zones. They have leveraged integrated test solutions that scale with their business to drive speed and quality as volumes and product complexity grow.
Whether you are new to automated testing or have mature model-based testing processes, test leaders need hardware and software solutions with flexible modules that can plug into the current setup and adapt as the business evolves.
Optimizing your test strategy is not a one-off project. It’s a journey comprising the entire engineering and data workflow at a technical, functional, and business level. As you rethink your test strategy, consider automation to complement standardization, and digital transformation efforts.
Automation is foundational to achieving results throughout your journey and across the value chain. Consistent and repeatable test data streamlines troubleshooting and problem-solving processes.
Additionally, automation enables scalability. Collecting large amounts of data in fragmented systems is time-consuming and labor-intensive. With end-to-end automation, data is systematically stored and analyzed at a larger scale and under a wider range of conditions, enabling the delivery of actionable insights to users. This valuable information allows you to drive product enhancements and business performance.
Automation helps fuel standardization and digital transformation in your test journey. A standardized language and consolidated data management enable a holistic, real-time view of performance across products, labs, and regions. Digital transformation gains from advanced analytics and AI are enormous and should be a part of your long-term strategy to streamline product development, spark innovation, and be able to bring products to market faster than your competition.
By taking these steps to optimizing your test strategy, you can increase efficiency and reduce errors, provide a common language for your toolchain, and enable a more comprehensive and real-time view of performance. Through adopting automation technology and strategy, you can ensure that your team makes the best of the pressures we face in test today and delivers the highest quality products to your customers.
Are you ready to take your test strategy to the next level?
The efficiency gains from automated testing and measurements are far-reaching. Comprehensive test automation enables quality and performance verification while managing costs and accelerating time-to-market.
Even the smallest steps of automating repetitive and basic tests will take you in the right direction, and each milestone yields measurable results.
If the whole endeavor still seems daunting, NI is here to help. NI’s integrated, software-centric approach to automated tests helps you simplify the way you connect systems and data across your organization and makes it easier to gain valuable insights through testing.
As you reimagine your test strategy, read Test Standardization is the Catalyst for Success to learn how to push the status quo and boost business performance through test automation with NI today.