In our 2018 study The automation advantage, we surveyed 415 global IT executives whose businesses are using automation at varying stages of maturity. Two groups emerged from the results: “Fast Movers” (the 20% most advanced in applying automation) and “Followers.”
Using a combination of cloud-native development, DevOps, and legacy automation, Fast Movers are more agile, profitable, and efficient. But, most importantly, many can test and deploy software continuously – allowing them to respond to market changes, fast.
The DevOps way
To deploy a successful cloud strategy, businesses need to embrace a collaborative, communicative, and continuous software development culture. No more silos, and no more slow, arduous rollouts – this is about getting ideas out the door as efficiently as possible with no impact on quality.
And as my colleague Gunnar Menzel explored in a recent article, enterprise DevOps is the key to automation success – with 75% of Fast Movers reporting improved revenue, and 86% reporting improved customer experiences. But to achieve true enterprise DevOps, you must create a culture that celebrates continuous development, testing, and deployment.
Almost three-quarters (73%) of Fast Movers have automated their application testing processes, allowing them to continuously test and tweak software performance, functionality, and more – with the flexibility for developers to create new QA tests at any time.
Automated end-to-end testing
One such Fast Mover advises that to respond to today’s rapid technological disruption, businesses must create an automation layer, “an industrialized and frictionless assembly line that deals with continuous integration, continuous testing, and continuous deployment.
Within this framework, you can automate and accelerate key processes in the application release trajectory. But, as is the nature of DevOps, this “layer” demands a high level of coordination among teams – ultimately breaking down the boundaries of responsibility for every role.
By working together, everyone is responsible for the quality of their software. From business to development and operations, every team member can seamlessly root out errors and enable continuity throughout the entire software development lifecycle. And when implemented properly, continuous testing encourages initiatives such as:
- Seamless communication and error flagging
- Parallel software development and QA testing
- Uniform software release acceptance testing
- 24/7 application efficiency monitoring.
With everyone’s finger on the same pulse, this continuous, automated approach can help free up resources to focus on higher-value tasks throughout the business. In fact, 59% of Fast Movers have redeployed staff thanks to automation, including leading organizations such as CA-SILCA, Securitas, and Cisco.
Automation can also help you expand the software coverage of your QA testers. Typically, QA staff spend hours waiting for testing environments to be provisioned. It’s anything but agile. By automating testing and provisioning, testers are free to significantly ramp up their coverage – far outpacing the few companies today who test more than 70% of their apps.
Of course, if your organization’s apps don’t warrant the additional testing, QA resources can be redeployed to more relevant areas, such as test environment management. Likewise, developers can spend more time writing better code, free from the roadblocks of infrastructure provisioning.
Stay secure, test more
Integrating DevOps with your security teams, DevSecOps, can ease the transition to the cloud while keeping everything secure and on schedule. Part of this process involves security-as-code, in which security teams use tools to bake best practices into every software build.
But for DevSecOps to work, testing must be thorough – or rather, continuous. You can never guarantee your code is error-free, even when automated, which is why continuous testing is needed to address cloud security flaws in enterprise DevOps.
The hallmark of DevOps
To truly achieve the automation advantage, you need to realize the hallmark of DevOps: continuous delivery. By automating your software testing, you’re taking a significant step to becoming a Fast Mover, enabling a development culture better suited to compete in a market built on rapid innovation and disruption.
To learn more about the importance of continuous testing in a DevOps environment, read The automation advantage