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Through the lens of an expert: Aspire’s VP briefs the latest test automation trends and best practices in the industry

Janaki Jayachandran, Vice President - Testing, Aspire Systems

An interview featuring our top testing expert, Janaki Jayachandran for the best insights on testing trends, updates, and many more.

OAK BROOK, ILLINOIS, US, May 26, 2020 / -- The virus outbreak has a tremendous impact on the businesses across almost every industry. Organizations are looking forward to solutions that can both help themselves run their business and support their end-users in this adverse situation. Even the well-established organizations across the globe are struggling to manage and operate their business seamlessly.

This interview by News Desk will help business leaders to get an idea of the ways in which they can resume their business in the most efficient and cost-effective ways. The interview was conducted by Jennifer Bonine (CEO AND Founder, PinkLion) featuring our top testing expert, Janaki Jayachandran, (VP-Testing, Aspire Systems) for STAR EAST 2020 to get a brief on the various testing challenges faced widely, the best ways to address those challenges, the impact of AI/ML to improve the test automation process, and many more useful thoughts.

1. What are the most common challenges that customers are experiencing in dealing with modern-day applications?

To date, Aspire has worked with more than 1000 customers over the last 20 + years. We could clearly see the shift in the industry towards the software engineering approach, which poses multiple challenges for testing.

 Test Automation in an Agile based testing with CI/CD: Sprints in agile usually have a focus on building the features right and many a time the requirements evolve through the sprint cycle. Hence, implementing test automation is quite challenging.

 Multi-Layered Architecture: With the likes of Microservices architecture, today’s applications have multiple layers (UI, API, Mobile, etc.). Therefore, it’s not sufficient to automate just the UI alone. All the layers have to be covered in order to ensure a high-quality application.

 Testing on a wide range of Mobile devices; Faster turnaround time: Applications are expected to be accessible over mobile. In certain cases, the number of mobile devices to be supported could be quite high. This coupled with the short time frame given for testing poses a huge challenge.

 Non-Functional Testing covering Performance and Security: In today’s demanding market it’s not just enough to have the best of features in the application but reliability and availability of the application also play a major role in customer success. Therefore, it’s imperative to cover the non-functional testing as part of the test strategy to stay ahead in the market.

 Diversified Tools & Frameworks to cover all the layers: To solve the above challenges many time customers end up using half a dozen tools & frameworks, which results in an operational & maintenance nightmare. Integrating the tools and consolidating the siloed reports is by itself will turn out to be a mini-project.

2. What are the innovations that Aspire is providing to help solve customer challenges?

Hyper-Testing is Aspire’s unique methodology for Testing. Hyper-Testing is an agile and unified approach towards designing and executing a test strategy that covers end to end testing of all application layers (Functional, UI, API, Mobile, etc.) as well as non-functional requirements (security, performance, load, availability, etc.) by leveraging the best of breed tools (cloud, open-source, etc.), resulting in lower TCO and Higher ROI.

To enable Hyper-Testing we have a fully integrated and seamless framework called AFTA. AFTA covers end-end testing needs covering both functional and non-functional with support for a complete CI/CD integration. This drastically reduces the complexity for customers from switching between multiple tools and reports.

Testing on the cloud – We have designed our testing methodology to operate 100% on the cloud. This allows us to meet on-demand requirements and also significantly cut down the infrastructure cost for our customers. Thousands of browsers and mobile devices can be tested instantly at a fraction of cost.
Our recent innovation is a Robotic Arm to especially help Retail customers in performing automated testing for POS Terminals. Robotic Arm is designed to perform testing for card-based transactions including swipe, chip insert, and tap mode payments. Automating these operations saves a lot of manual effort and completely eliminates human errors.

3. What do you think of AI/ML's impact on Test Automation?

It’s given that AI/ML is absolutely going to play a vital role in almost all the fields. Test Automation will also stand to gain a lot from AI/ML. In fact at Aspire, last year we released the latest version of AFTA 3.0, and the primary focus of this release is to enable AFTA with a set of AI/ML features that make this framework much powerful. We feel the 2 main areas to be focused for AI/ML implementation are – Productivity and Accuracy of testing.

For example, we have built capabilities that can drastically reduce false positives in automation results thereby increasing the accuracy of test results. Similarly, we have built capabilities to cut down significant manual efforts towards activities like script maintenance, issue verification, and categorization, etc. We are seeing that these sets of AI/ML features are resulting in an almost 30%-50% increase in productivity of teams, which transforms to cost savings for our customers.

4. Do you foresee any specific areas in testing to get more attention in the near future?

While end-end testing is important to produce high-quality software, we find that Performance engineering will play an extremely important role in the overall success of the companies. Particularly with the current COVID situation, there is a general increase in the load of the systems as more and more people are switching to online. A good example would be one of our US customers from the education industry has experienced 10X times more load than what they typically receive. It’s primarily because of current lockdown in the US leading to more activities happening over online from homes. We worked along with the customer to plan the load and performance testing on time to get the system fully ready to service the multi-fold increase in load.

We strongly feel different segments will go through varying degrees of increase in load but the key is to be prepared to handle it successfully.

Tips to increase productivity while testing from anywhere

Bindhu Charles
Aspire Systems
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Isn’t it always best to hear it from the experts themselves? Watch the interview on the latest updates on test automation here.