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Roma Maheshwari

10 things you must do for better Digital Customer Experience (CX) – Part 2

In the first section of this two-part article, we looked at the first five must-dos for organizations looking to provide unmatched customer experience. In this section, we will explore the next set of must-dos for organizations to build better Digital Customer Experience.

6. Define CX Metrics– As per Forrester’s CX Index, 72% companies want to improve CX, but less than 1% can deliver or delivering an excellent experience.1Tracking wrong metric is one of the reason, companies cannot quantify their efforts into business gains.  

Defining CX metrics is a must-do for companies to improve their CX. The most common tracked CX metrics are Net Promoter Score (NPS), Customer Satisfaction (CSAT), Churn rate, Retention rate, Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) or Customer Effort Score (CES).

Does your organization need to track all of them? Depends, because every business is different. There are no standard metrics that will work for every organization in every industry. Customer feedback paired with digital channel usage and performance will give a holistic view of customer journey, enabling continuous improvement in digital experience.

So how do organizations select CX metrics apt for them? Select a metric that helps understand financial health and performance of business, shows employee engagement around new initiatives of Digital Experience, and communicates how more or fewer customers are engaged.

7. Continuous Improvement and Transformation– Experience economy wants brands to be on the toes all the time. This makes Continuous Improvement and Transformation part of daily business meetings. Even the most innovative companies like Netflix and Amazon are surprising customers with new features.

The latest feature of Netflix about Choose Your Own Adventure-type ending for some series shows how the streaming giant is evolving to engage customers with the platform. Before this feature, there hasn’t been a lot of engagement for customers apart from viewing. The feature of ‘choosing your own end’ also act as input to customize shows and improve recommendation engine based on viewers’ interests and personality traits determined by analysing how they choose their ending.

Continuous improvement and transformation result from continuous experiment, trying something new and if it does not work, go back to the drawing board for a fresh start. Agile technologies we discussed earlier to build modern apps give freedom to release something new, and if something goes wrong, roll-back to the previous most stable state. The best digital experience providing companies have continuous transformation as the lifeblood of innovation.

8. Employ Automation– Customers choose channels based on convenience and today ‘Digital’ is the most convenient channel. Automation of CX channels and mediums is receiving high interest from all the industries. Some common examples of using automation for CX are–

  1. Call centers use customer-telephony integration (CTI) to automate phone calls routing
  2. Website chatbots to engage with customers or sales lead.
  3. Automation of self-checkout options by online retailers
  4. Automation of banking functions using banking apps
  5. Using marketing automation tools for customer acquisition and retention

Automation can improve experiences on every digital touch point of the brand. Automation also helps companies in identifying issues and their priority, based on which they can allocate human manpower. Imagine a customer is facing a simple issue of login or checking his bank balance over the weekend, is it right for brands to keep him waiting till the next working day or is it ideal to just send him an automated message with the required details? This allows customers to get the solution and organizations can save on time and resources with automation.

9. Invest in current talent– Imagine, a frustrated customer shares his experience on twitter with the brand’s handle, receives an automated reply to share necessary details over Direct Message. Someone from the customer service gets in touch with him and he had to repeat the same issue all over again, the call then gets transferred to other executive. Even with the best of technologies and automation, the scenario is not unlikely for most of the brands.

Organizations must practice new rules of the CX game. CX has moved from transactional to relational experience altering the basics of CX. While organizations have to undergo complete cultural transformation, it becomes important for customer-facing employees to understand all digital channels and digital journeys of customers. Organizations can implement internal portal to train employees on new digital technologies and how to use them on a day-to-day basis for providing better CX.

10.Capture and act on employee feedback– Comcast’s “Elevation Process” is a great and practical example on how companies should take and act on employee feedback. No one knows your culture, product, services and even customers better than your employees.

Comcast carried out employee-driven exercise to transform the CX. The company invested in creating a learning system called “Elevations Process”.2 The system enables all the employees to identify issues interfering with providing great CX, and plausible solutions to solve them. The process combined–employee listening, machine learning systems, and an analytics tool for prioritizing the most important issues and best ideas.

The process promoted cross-functional dialogs across geographies improving conversations in the organization. These helped executives to determine issues based on severity and priority and allocate resources accordingly.

The most successful companies already embedded customer and employee feedback in their business operations. This practice is helping them in empowering employees focused on CX and produce new customer value faster.

Organizations can start initiatives of recognizing individual who set an example of providing amazing CX–either by serving customers better or providing a solution for any significant customer challenge.

Putting it all together

Organizations implementing these ten must-dos in their Digital CX plan are well on the path to deliver an unmatched experience. But there’s one thing to remember, the real work starts when organizations implement and continue to improve their strategies to drive customer centricity.

Happy CX-ing!

References:

  1. https://zoovu.com/blog/measure-customer-experience-initiatives/
  2. https://www.accenture.com/_acnmedia/pdf-70/accenture-medallia-pov-pdf-4-29jan2018-breaking-the-code.pdf
10 things you must do for better Digital Customer Experience (CX) – Part 1

Digital touch points drive business revenues in the applications era. They serve as branding and customer service mediums for increasing customer loyalty. These statements don’t sound new anymore. Numbers suggest 70% of online buying experiences are based on how the customer feels about being treated on digital channels.1 The annual total estimated cost of customers switching due to poor service is $1.6 trillion in the U.S. alone.2 This makes optimizing Customer Experience (CX) a top priority for organizations. At Qentelli, we hear it from our clients repeatedly that improving CX is the most strategic priority.

Our goal with this article is to outline the 10 most critical things businesses should do NOW to make sure they are delivering value in every customer interaction across all touch points. This article will be split into two parts. The first part will brief about first five things in achieving world-class customer experience starting from defining customer experience aspirations, organizing right team, building modern apps, delivering fast and measuring the activities to administer continuous feedback loop. We will also explore how these things contribute to customer experience. The second part will outline the next five things in achieving world-class customer experience that includes defining right customer experience metrics, continuous improvement in current practices, using automation, investing in right talent and acting on employee feedback.

1. Define CX Aspirations–The type of CX an organization wants to provide depends on the industry, customers’ digital presence and business aspirations. For some, providing better CX limits to one digital channel, while others look at transforming complete traditional business model to digital ones. Amazon is a well-known example where traditional business model is transformed to digital using technologies. There can be more scenarios how an organization is looking at redefining customer-experience. In any of the scenarios, defining CX aspirations should govern business vision to create new digital models.

2. Build Digital Experience Team–Organizations are building dedicated and well-balanced Digital Experience teams. They have realized mere online presence is no longer enough; they have to improve digital dialogs with customers. A report, Defining Digital Experience by Clicktale says more than 48 percent of brands have a Digital Experience team in place to oversee their digital strategy. 3

Digital Experience team owns the responsibility of constantly improving the digital experience as per the brand’s aspirations.

At Qentelli, we encourage clients to find Digital Champion Leader from the existing team–someone who understands business and customers to the core.

3. Build Modern, HyperAgile Apps–Enterprises need to re-think application building strategies for existing and in-progress applications. Organizations should adopt Rehost, Retire, Refactor, Reinterface and Rearchitect strategies. Leading enterprises are employing DevOps, DevSecOps, Multi-Cloud approaches, Microservices, Container Deployment to gain agility plus scalability. These approaches help organizations build minimal viable digital products in weeks, instead the old approach of waterfall culture with specifications taking years. As per IDC, by 2022, 90% of all apps will feature microservices architectures that improve the ability to design, debug, update, and leverage third-party code; 35% of all production apps will be cloud native.4

Enterprises can only deliver seamless and faster solutions for customers if they combine agile/DevOps approaches and leverage cloud-technologies such as containers and serverless computing. This makes building modern apps with cloud-native technologies a must-do for enhancing CX.

4. Adopt DevOps and DevSecOps– In experience economy, customers are always looking for more features to make their purchase easier. For example, an application with limited sign-in options can hinder experience of signing in, whether they use it or not they want options of signing in with Facebook, Google, etc. Technology accessibility has given them a lot of options to choose from. This requires organizations to release features faster than ever. 

Releasing new digital experience with secured customer journeys is a rising focus for aspiring-digital and digital-forward organizations. With the rise of sophisticated cyberattacks, organizations want to ‘release fast and secure’. According to 2017 statistics, the U.S. faced over 130 large scale, targeted breaches with that number growing by 27 percent per year. 41 percent of companies have over 1,000 sensitive files having credit card numbers and health records left unprotected.5

Matured DevOps teams can win at integrating security by abiding security principles and practices. DevSecOps requires shifting security in the early stages of software development, peer-code reviews and automation of the build processes. DevSecOps teams have also achieved success by securing applications by design.

5. Administer Continuous Feedback Loop– Competing in experience economy requires a proactive approach to listen and respond to customers’ feedback. This requires real-time monitoring of all the digital channels–social media, play store reviews, reviews websites, in-app surveys, customer service tickets and salespeople. Real-time data can reveal opportunities to improve CX strategy. This distinguishes high performing areas from the low-performing, making it clear to act on high-priority areas for CX.

A large US retail giant used text analytics to reveal insights from customer comments as part of the company’s regular planning exercise. The results prompted cross-functional discussion to identify root-cause analysis of the significant problems. With the analysis of customer feedback, they discovered the coordination gaps between product development, sales and marketing team. Armed with the new insights, they changed the reporting structure of two departments under one leader fostering better communication among teams.

Organizations excelling at Digital Experience have three main competencies that help them in closing the feedback loop for creating greater customer value–

  1. Capturing customer sentiments across all the channels
  2. Using digital intelligence to improve experience on systems of engagements
  3. Customer-centric alignment to act rapidly on customer feedback to close the loop

While organizations are continuously evolving in their ways of listening to customers, we believe convergence of systems will help in achieving new efficiencies. These are-Systems of engagements, systems of records, systems of intelligence and systems of things. 

At Qentelli, we consider three things for feedback loops–Capturing real-time data, identify and improve metrics, and closing the loop keeping end-user in mind.
DevSecOps – Challenges at Scale

Over the past few years, we have seen organizations of every size and industry trying to adopt, scale, and mature in their DevOps practices. While DevOps adoption is still on a rise, malicious attacks on application are also growing, and every other organization is facing data breach1. An American multinational hospitality company faced a major breach exposing data of up to 50 million guests to the hackers. The breach costed $123 million in costs between fines and court-related expenses with loss of brand reputation.2

As per the 5th annual DevSecOps community survey 2018, 33% organizations suffered with breaches from open source vulnerabilities or web application in last 12 months, a rise of 121 percent since the survey started in 2014.3 Another report by 2019 Verizon on Data Breach Investigations, there was a noticeable shift in financially motivated crime (80 percent), with 35 percent of all breaches occurring as a result of human error.4 In another two years cybercrime will near approx. $6 trillion of damages.

The numbers are large and can any lapse in security can result into major revenue losses or brands going out of business. The risks of relaxed security practices are real, immediate, and very costly. This puts application and technology leaders under pressure to implement security practices and scale them for enterprise-wide adoption. This blog post will cover three major challenges in adopting and scaling DevSecOps and how to overcome those challenges during the shift to DevSecOps.

Challenges at Scale

1. Security at the pace of Development – With DevOps, development cycles have reduced, and features are released frequently for delivering customer-value. With the traditional waterfall releases, security was considered late in the cycle. But with the rise of breaches and speed of releases, security needs to match the pace of development.

Speed is the core tenet of DevSecOps, and Automation is the way to achieve it. In Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI-CD) environment, the speed of pushing code matters above all. For this, organizations have to make security part of the CI-CD flow. CI-CD pipelines must include the automation of all security tests and integration of static application security testing (SAST) on nightly builds. Teams can customize SAST scans to scan the high-priority code changes to keep up with the daily code changes. Also, teams must include dynamic application security testing (DAST) into development lifecycle. Automation of security testing in the software development decreases the chances of pushing bad code in the production.

The second thing is to manage automating security processes for open-source vulnerabilities. As per a security audit report, 84% of breaches occur on the application layer. And, open source components comprise 60-80% of the code base, this makes managing open-source vulnerabilities crucial for DevSecOps teams.

Teams can avoid open-source vulnerabilities with structured open source adoption process. An open-source policy with detailed steps with approved licenses to use and vendors to adopt will help developers. Automated open-source code approval workflow will eliminate the chances of potential security vulnerability. Using right open-source vulnerabilities aggregators help in final build analysis before it gets pushed into production.

2. Shifting security left in the SDLC – Security principles apply to overall organization and not just to security engineering teams. Organizations must adopt it as a shared responsibility.

Shifting security left means considering security in the DevOps pipeline to ensure faster resolution of issues. Before you build the DevSecOps pipeline, conducting a threat risk analysis to determine the type and level of threats, impact of an attacker gaining highest privileges on the application/system running the application, determining the type of data that the application stores is one of the most important considerations. So how does it look like in practice?

Product Owners must decompose higher-level user stories into specific features with security requirements and tasks. Developers to follow The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) security principles. The comprehensive list of OWASP principles reduces the chances of breaches and cyber-attacks. Mature teams can use STRIDE/DREAS threat risk modelling ways to come up with ways of defending potential ways of cyber-threats. IT Managers play an important role in application security from an operations perspective of assessing current and future technology architecture for vulnerabilities, weaknesses for updates and improvements. Security engineering teams must focus on overall architecture and development for security-first design, code hygiene, security test integrations and configuration.

3. Managing False Positives –Managing false positives is a trifold problem and there’s no defined approach of tackling them. Identifying false positives, pin-pointing individual false positive and scaling the process throughout the enterprise. This takes a lot of time for limited number of security engineers working for all the applications.

False positives come in large numbers; even large-sized teams face difficulty in managing them. Security engineering teams must address false positives for highly critical applications impacting customer experience. For optimal management of false positives, narrow the base rules in the tool sets, and identify patterns with fixed and new set rules. This will help teams in identifying which rule is giving more false positives and find out the right combination to minimize false positives.

Teams must adopt multi-tool approach to look at the number of false positives generated by them. Because every tool has its own technique of determining false positive such as signature patterns, behavioural detections, etc. Multi-tool approach helps in detecting individual false negatives that gets buried in the noise of false positives. Scaling management of false positives to an enterprise-level will take time. As teams become familiar with the application, they can create new rules to reduce the number of false positives and might end up with minimum false positives.

Conclusion

Organizations must understand the importance of adopting security practices for convenient and personalized experiences, they are curating for customers. C-suite must champion the culture of tighter communication between security engineering and development teams to drive security requirements in DevOps processes. Enable development teams with skills and tools to develop automated deployment pipeline with tight security checkpoints and robust feedback loop. Invest in new tools and technologies to create combination of multiple tools that can assess all the aspects of application. Contact us to improve cyber security practices throughout the enterprise.

Hard Won Lessons in Digital Transformation

One of the key actions we do regularly with each of our customers and internally is to conduct Retrospectives – to critically understand the original problem, target solution and the journey so far. These retrospectives help us do course corrections and sometimes, even shelve the original plan!

In this article, we present you with a few key lessons distilled from our Retrospectives and experiences, in the hope that these will help in your Digital Transformation plans.

Culture is the key element of Digital Transformation and Leaders own it

Although this phrase is overused, but the meaning holds relevance. You revamp technology stack, adopt DevOps tools and technologies, improve your delivery practices, but the needle doesn’t seem to move! That’s because underneath all of the hype, your teams don’t change their fundamental habits and ways of working. You can’t expect to hold a townhall, walk through a presentation and expect the organization to shift.

Changing the culture is hard, but leaders need to show the way every day – by constantly talking to the teams, understand their challenges, provide trainings and investments, changing the performance and incentive structures and most importantly showing why the change is important for the organization and how it benefits them too!

In one case, we helped the client appoint a Chief Digital Officer (CDO) to drive the enterprise-wide Digital Transformations.

In short, Culture emerges as the most important part of Digital Transformation journey, while digital winners approach culture with creating sub-units or identifying change agents to drive culture transformation, laggards leave it with the mails – ‘We are on a Digital Journey’.

I came to see, in my time at IBM, that culture isn’t just one aspect of the game, it is the game. In the end, an organization is nothing more than the collective capacity of its people to create value.

Gerstner, Jr., Former CEO of IBM
IT Strategy = Business Strategy

The old generation IT was as a cost-centre, especially in industries where core business is not IT. These opinions were busted when the new generation IT gave rise to business models such as Netflix, Amazon, Uber. Digital native companies are already well-equipped with digital capabilities and technologies. To compete with them, non-digital organizations must integrate new-generation IT and technologies with their legacy systems.

Increasingly, even the non-IT Enterprises have adopted a vision of “IT as the Platform for Delivering our Capabilities”. To achieve this vision, organizations are investing in IT in a big way in the following areas:

  • Cloud-Native Applications for rapid Development, release and easy maintenance
  • Increasing adoption of DevOps, Automation and Agile
  • Modernizing legacy systems
  • Piloting use cases of AI, Blockchain, IoT

One of our Star client’s business model is to digitalize orthodontist industry with 3D printing and Digital Manufacturing using cutting edge software impressed us. In their initial conversations with us, they briefed us how their Digital Business Strategy is driving IT investments. Their ground-breaking tele-dentistry platform and vertically integrated, direct-to-consumer business model provides affordable, convenient and premium dentistry experience. Their rapid expansion in terms of geographic presence and revenue growth meant that they had to significantly upscale their IT Application Delivery and Operations process.

We helped in establishing a DevOps based Enterprise Delivery Pipeline that included Product Management, Engineering staff, Infrastructure and Operations teams. The Engineering transformation accelerated the pace at which IT could bring new markets online, resulting in a significant upsurge in Revenue.

An IT Strategy that truly aligns with Business Strategy and Goals can act as a significant force multiplier for the Business!

Measure and Adapt

In a third company, we were pleasantly surprised to see the DevOps tools and advanced CI/CD practices our client, a premier global valuation and corporate finance advisor was using. However, the leadership was not seeing direct benefits of the improvements. A quick Assessment showed that they did not have right metrics and data to demonstrate success and find issues in the pipeline. As a result, they continued with some practices that were not helping them, such as running every build through a Security Analysis product which did not provide the right results and slowed down the entire pipeline.

A comprehensive Measurement Program was designed using Business Metrics as the starting point and deriving Engineering/Operational metrics from it. The metrics were designed to measure system performance and not individual performance. A Lifecycle Intelligence Dashboard was built to get visibility into the metrics captured on an hourly basis. Feedback loops were built into the process through this Dashboard that the team could drill down to find and resolve bottlenecks.

When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure

Automate, Automate, Automate

Another Client of ours was struggling with low morale, lengthy times to get things done, broken manual processes and reliance on a few superheroes. Out of these, the biggest Technical debt was in Automating Testing. Their software had hundreds of combinations for each workflow, so manual testing was getting to the point of being unmanageable and expensive.

We introduced a tried-and-tested QA Automation Framework that quickly helps clients achieve incremental benefits of DevOps with Advanced Automation and improving customer interaction by improving existing digital touch points or creating new ones. We augmented our Automation framework with our AI bot to quickly identify areas of change, tests that were really required and generate necessary test data. Test Environments were containerized with different configurations and tests were run in parallel, sometimes using hundreds of test agents running in parallel.

DevOps requires Continuous testing to augment Continuous Planning, Continuous Development and Continuous Integration.

Transformation is not a destination, it is a journey

An industry player in Loyalty Management Solutions turned to us for help in Digital Transformation of their Loyalty Management Platform to improve the user-experience and simplify development and customization of the platform. The engagement is a good example of how Digital Transformation is an ongoing process.

When we asked one of our clients in Loyalty Management Business “What single word best describes the business landscape in your industry?” We got a single word response: Evolving and Transforming. We drove a matrix ranking their solution to the counterparts and explained as they are evolving and transforming their platform, competitors are doing the same.

We started the discovery phase to outline the solution for the client. We started with business objectives of providing superior User Experience with Self-Service portal and introducing Loyalty-As-A-Service (LaaS) as a key feature. For achieving these business objectives, we recommended embracing CI/CD and API-first approaches to product deployments. But, as we explored more solutions in the industry, we found competitors are offering Advanced Analytics, AI, Gamification and Big Data solutions in the product.

We learned that organizations cannot reach the goal of the Digital Transformation as there are new features/solutions emerging in the market challenging the status quo of the existing ones. Once an organization feel it has completed the first phase of Digital Transformation, it’s the time to look at the internal processes, competitive landscape, customer expectations and refine the processes to make them more efficient.

Organizations must continuously evolve their offerings and services for competing in the digital world. A Customer-Experience focused strategy, right technology partner and exploring continuum of the latest technologies is the way to evolve current digital capabilities. The goal post of Digital Transformation keeps on shifting with the rapidly evolving expectations of digital customers.

Conclusion –

Digital Transformation needs a combination of Leadership, Cultural Changes, a motivated workforce and Technology excellence to succeed. In this article, we have tried to tell some of our stories about our experiences.

If you have your stories to share or you want to create new stories with us, we are here to listen. Contact us and we can co-create success for you.

Test Automation in the age of microservices – Strategies and Challenges

Microservices have been gaining traction across industries and are poised to see a stronger adoption rate in the years to come. Across sectors, many companies are aiming to achieve better enterprise agility and bring in a system more efficient than the traditional monolithic architecture. With organizations such as Amazon, Apple, Google, and Netflix scaling their microservices, the acceptance and implementation of it has grown and has compelled other players to emulate the model.

As companies look to decouple domain-level problems, API gateways see strong adoption across sectors. An API Gateway is a reverse proxy that exposes microservices as APIs. As the name implies, it acts as a “gatekeeper” between clients and microservices. Typical features of an API Gateway include the ability to authenticate requests, enforce security policies, load balance between backend services and throttle them if necessary.

While it may seem like a perfect answer to do away with monolithic systems, IT solutions need to be more modular and independent. As a result, microservices will need to co-exist with the traditional architectures and interact with the existing processes. Moreover, it will also need to be in sync with compliance imperatives for best results. To simply put, with organizations having numerous other architectural patterns already deployed, doing away with the traditional system completely may lead to a new set of challenges. In order to tame the complexities and manage the speed and flexibility of microservices, the API strategy makes for the best solution.

Test Automation in microservices and its challenges

With microservices becoming a critical part of Enterprise Architects, applications implementing them will need to be tested to ensure that the services are fully functional and are orchestrated as per business requirements.

As per the “Automation Testing Market by Technology, Testing Type, Service, Endpoint Interface and Region – Global Forecast to 2023” report published in 2018, the global automation testing market size is expected to grow from USD 8.52 billion in 2018 to USD 19.27 billion by 2023, at CAGR of 17.7% during the forecast period.

The increasing adoption of mobile devices and technologies, increasing adoption of the DevOps methodology, and transforming testing by digital transformation, are some of the factors driving the automation testing market. Moreover, manual tests are time-consuming and not full-proof. With most teams favoring automated tests in a CI-CD pipeline, the Test Strategy must use an Automation-first approach. However, microservices bring certain unique challenges to the Testing team – we articulate some of them from our real-life experiences:

Skilled resources: The primary challenge for automation testing is the lack of skilled resource. Most organizations struggle to set up QA teams that have the right skills to write automation scripts. The test automation frameworks that enterprises employ require testers with the skills to compose test scripts using various scripting languages and frameworks.

Tracing the problem: Automated tests are tools that are used to identify errors. Being able to trace back the to where the applications business logic failed is a mammoth task. using behavior-driven development could be a possible solution to refer to business-readable language that tells the business which requirement the automated script is testing.

Scaling test environments: QA teams usually don’t keep into consideration, the possibility of scalability issues while introducing test automation. The challenge arises when the need to rapidly make provision for the differing test environments that automated testing requires, scale them up, run the tests, tear them down, and do it all again just as fast if you’re not testing in the cloud. On premises, teams typically have a limited number of environments they can use, which means fewer tests they can deploy at any given time. As a result, testing takes much longer.

Too many UI tests: CSS and XPath locations in the UI change often. If QA teams target attributes like these in automated tests, it can lead to false positives and continued maintenance when the changes weaken or break the tests. Hence, the bottom-up strategy is vital that demands a unit level testing of APIs, which makes the testing more consistent.

Lack of transparency: Test automation can lack visibility when different teams are using different, disconnected automation strategies. For teams that work remotely, using different test automation frameworks, getting insights on the total testing quality can become challenging.

Adapting to the culture shifting: Adopting test automation requires a culture shift, an evolution of behavior and thinking. Often, team members and stakeholders look at throwing tools at a problem, which doesn’t fix the underlying mindset.

Strategies for successful test automation

These were just a list of some challenges that come in the way of a successful test automation of microservices. But to be able to overcome the challenges and to ensure that the results meet expectation, the most recommended is Mike Cohn’s Testing Pyramid, which takes a bottom-up approach for a quantitative analysis of how much automation effort is required at each stage of the testing lifecycle.

GU TESTS 2@2x-8

Let’s look at some approaches for how to approach automated testing.

Unit Testing: This is an internal testing service and is the largest in number and size. It is also the fastest and cheapest to automate.

Component Testing: Contract testing should treat each service as a black box and all the services must be called independently and their responses must be verified. When assured of the results, the longevity of the accuracy increases, also making way for seamless new additions to the existing systems.

Integration Testing: It is a must to perform verification of all independently tested services. Service calls must be made with integration to external services, including error and success cases. Integration testing ensures that the system is working seamlessly and that the dependencies between the services are as expected.

End-To-End Testing/API Testing: As the name suggests, end-to-end testing verifies that the entire process flows work correctly, including all service and database integration.

Additionally, there are several non-functional tests that requires equal attention. While functional testing helps in ensuring smooth performance of all the major functions, nonfunctional testing helps in assuring the reliability and security of the application.

Performance Testing: This not only evaluates the performance of the software, but it also ensures that the response time aligns with the desired time. Performance testing is carried out as a part of integration testing as well.

Load Testing: Load testing is carried out to check whether the system can sustain the pressure or load of many users accessing the application at a time. The production load is replicated in the test environment to get the accurate results by load testing.

Stress Testing: Stress testing is conducted to push the application beyond its capabilities to observe how it reacts. Contrary to load testing where maximum capacity of load is generated, stress testing is conducted where the load which is generated is more than the application can manage.

Improvement in software architecture has led to fundamental changes in the way applications are designed and tested. Teams working on testing applications need to constantly educate themselves and stay informed on the latest tools and strategies. Here are the most popular test automation tools that teams across organizations are using to get best results.

Hoverfly: Simulate API latency and failures.

Vagrant: Build and maintain portable virtual software development environments.

Pact: Frameworks consumer-driven contracts testing.

Apiary: An API documentation tool.

API Blueprint: Design and prototype APIs.

Swagger: Design and prototype APIs.

While there is a gamut of tools to choose from, there is no single-stop solution for automated testing. Testers must evaluate all the available options to make sure that the tool in consideration meets all the criteria for testing. Microservices are the next big thing in the IT solutions’ market but to be able to adopt the technology and implement the changes is more challenging than it appears to the naked eye. A skilled team equipped with the right tools is critical to ensure that a complex system architecture built on microservices can deliver the functionality, scalability and performance that business needs.