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Test Automation Is the Single Most Important Factor in Accelerating Innovation, Say 90% of IT Leaders

Compuware today announced the findings of a global survey of 400 IT leaders, which reveals that manual testing practices, still in widespread use, are one of the biggest challenges large organizations face as they attempt to accelerate digital innovation.

The survey, conducted by Vanson Bourne on behalf of Compuware, examines the processes that organizations have in place to deliver innovation on the mainframe as quickly as in their distributed environments—which are highly reliant on the mainframe.

The survey also explores the methods used to support testing on the mainframe and the challenges businesses face in simultaneously increasing quality, velocity and efficiency during the application development and delivery process.

Key findings of the global survey of application development managers revealed:

Manual testing is a drain on resources

  • 77% of organizations find it increasingly difficult to simultaneously increase quality, velocity and efficiency to meet business innovation goals when developing and testing mainframe application code.
  • 92% of respondents said their organization’s mainframe teams are spending more time testing code than was required in the past, due to growing complexity in their application environments.
  • On average, development teams spend more than half (51%) of their time on testing during the release of a new mainframe application, feature or functionality.

The pressure to cut corners creates business risk

  • 85% of application development managers say that it is becoming harder to deliver innovation faster, without compromising on quality and increasing the risk of bugs in production.
  • The biggest concerns that respondents have over the pressure to cut corners when testing mainframe code to deliver innovation faster are: introducing potential security flaws (50%); impacting customer experience (38%); disrupting operations (36%); draining operations team resources to find bugs (31%); wasting development teams’ time in war-rooms to fix problems (30%); and revenue impact (28%).

Test automation is critical to success

  • 82% of respondents said that unless they can automate more test cases, they won’t be able to meet the need for speed from the business, so innovation and customer experiences will suffer.
  • 90% say that automating more test cases could be the single most important factor in their success as the pressure increases on IT to accelerate innovation.
  • 80% of respondents say it is inevitable bad code will make its way into production unless they can automate more test cases.
  • 87% also stated that they believe automating mainframe test cases will be crucial to overcoming the growing skills shortage in that area of their business.

Challenges of test automation are holding businesses back

  • Despite the recognized benefits, 86% of respondents said they find it difficult to automate the testing of mainframe code.
  • At present, only 7% of respondents said they automate the execution of test cases on mainframe code to support their ability to accelerate innovation.
  • 75% of organizations do not have automated processes that test code at every stage of development.
  • Less than a quarter (24%) of organizations perform both unit and functional testing on mainframe code, to ensure its quality before it is released into production.

The research shows that organizations see test automation as the key to their ability to deliver innovation faster while maintaining quality, but many still use manual testing practices when it comes to the mainframe. Given the central role that the mainframe continues to play in powering modern digital services, these manual testing practices are creating a bottleneck. Ultimately, this is hindering the delivery of innovation and preventing organizations from meeting their business goals.

According to the report, by “shifting left” with automated testing—automated unit testing in particular—organizations can gain “fast feedback” on the mainframe, supercharging innovation without fearing the risk of introducing problems that disrupt operations, introduce security risks, hinder customer experiences or impact business revenues. Better still, they can improve quality, velocity and efficiency on the mainframe in spite of the growing shortage of experienced developers; giving themselves a major advantage as they look to drive a competitive advantage through supercharged digital innovation.

“As customer demand for a constant cycle of new and improved digital services and experiences continues to grow unabated, speed and innovation have become the rallying call for IT departments across every industry,” said Chris O’Malley, CEO of Compuware.

“Automation and the shift to Agile and DevOps are crucial to improving the pace of innovation without compromising quality and efficiency, in response to the always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied customers that organizations are striving to serve as a means to growth.”