To say that we live in an age of rapid digital transformation is an understatement. With technological changes not slowing down, enterprises must keep up with the most up-to-date technologies to stay ahead of rising customer expectations. With an impact on all areas of an organization, from internal processes to customer-facing activities, these changes allow enterprises to streamline their business while improving the customer experience simultaneously.
Businesses face some risks while adapting and innovating to stay competitive and relevant. Cross-application testing is one of the most important ways to mitigate such risks.
The significance of cross-app testing
Cross-app testing is the process through which organizations ensure that business-critical processes run smoothly. This is achieved by testing all relevant applications’ functionality. In today’s digital environment, applications cannot work in isolation, so any change to even one process creates a super complex effect due to dependencies and impact.
Cross-app testing involves a range of tests, including:
– Functionality: The main purpose of testing across several apps is to ensure that any shared functionality works as expected.
– Integration: The focus here is to verify that separate apps or components can share data, use services, or otherwise interact in whichever way is required.
– Usability: When several apps interact, the user experience must remain smooth as they move between various apps.
Complex business landscapes lead to an increasing need for testing inter-dependencies to maintain the reliability and effectiveness of your business’ many processes. It is essential to test all linked applications to secure your business management. If these tests are not conducted regularly and adequately, process transformations can cause disruptions, leading to lost revenue, customer dissatisfaction, or loss of company reputation. Staying ahead of the curve is the only antidote. Organizations can identify and resolve issues using the right tools and keep business processes like clockwork.
Steps involved in cross-app testing
While critical to organizations, cross-application testing is complex and requires a detailed plan. Cross-app testing has several steps, and it starts by defining the scope and requirements and documenting how one application relies on or integrates with other apps. Then, you can prepare test cases to cover all possible interaction scenarios. Setting up the test environment can be complex. Leaning on your IT testing team is not enough, as you must also consider user acceptance testing (UAT) and the necessary business users you will have to involve across different apps. Once you execute the prepared test, whether automated or manual, you will have to handle any errors during the process. Debugging involves logging the error to share it with the development team, after which you retest to ensure the process is error free and the changes have impacted no other application areas. Once the testing has been completed, a report should summarize the entire process, results, and any known issues. This assists in the decision-making process regarding the release of the app. It doesn’t end here, however. Continuous monitoring is a must to ensure you catch any issues that were not identified during testing. Remember, the diversity of apps and the continuous release of new versions (some release a new version annually, every six months, or quarterly) renders cross-app testing an ongoing process, which should be incorporated into the regular testing cycles.
Now, let’s talk about different use cases.
Real-world use cases of cross-app testing
The need for cross-application testing is universal. However, the specific use cases can vary across different industries.
In the manufacturing industry, this could include:
– Production planning and scheduling: This involves integrating data from several systems, such as an enterprise resource planning system (ERP), a manufacturing execution system, and a quality management system.
– Supply test management: Coordinating activities across multiple applications and systems, from procurement and transportation to warehouse management.
For large retail companies, there are a range of business-critical processes. Cross-app testing could include:
– Order fulfillment: Coordinating activities across different systems and applications, such as an e-commerce platform, a warehouse management system, and a shipping and logistics application.
– Inventory management: Integrating data from several systems, such as an inventory management system, a point-of-sale system (POS), and a customer relationship management system (CRM).
While cross-app testing has numerous benefits, what challenges must you be aware of?
Addressing headwinds in cross-app testing
While this is a crucial step in the software development lifecycle, cross-application testing is not without challenges, which testers and developers need to be aware of to ensure a seamless process.
Cross-app testing involves multiple teams working on different applications. This naturally leads to challenges with ensuring they stick to specific testing standards. Relying on methods such as Excel spreadsheets to track test cases and results will quickly become impractical and error-prone due to the increased complexity of testing multiple interconnected applications.
2. Coordinating difficulties
Testing across different applications is only possible with effective coordination among the various teams responsible for individual applications. Scheduling testing cycles, resolving dependencies, and communicating effectively are time-consuming. And with so many people involved, it is very easy for misunderstandings to take place.
3. Data integration
With data flowing in across multiple applications, ensuring data consistency, accuracy, and relevance for test scenarios is complex. Data might need to be migrated and transformed to fit the testing environment, leading to data integrity issues.
4. Complex testing environments
Setting up and maintaining complex testing conditions replicating the production environment with all interconnected applications can be a significant challenge. Keeping the environments in sync with production systems and managing configurations requires careful planning and expertise.
5. Limited visibility
Consider this – multiple applications, data flowing in, and monitoring each system’s health. It is not an easy task. Add to this the necessity of identifying bottlenecks, pinpointing root causes of issues, and tracking test coverage across multiple applications. All this can become harder due to limited visibility.
6. Time-consuming execution
Cross-app testing involves testing the entire system end-to-end, which is time-consuming. Test execution times can be significantly longer, including interactions between multiple applications, data exchanges, and validations across the entire workflow.
Cross-application testing demands more resources in terms of time, human resources, and infrastructure. Add to this the cost of setting up test environments, managing data, and maintaining test suites for multiple applications. You will have quite a strain on the organization’s budget, which must be accounted for.
8. Increased risk of failure
With multiple applications interconnected, the risk of failure at any integration point increases. It can lead to a domino effect wherein a problem in one application might affect other connected applications. This can lead to widespread failure, making it mission-critical to identify and address potential failure points early in the testing process.
To overcome the above challenges, organizations must adopt modern testing practices, leverage test automation to reduce manual effort, and invest in robust testing tools and platforms supporting cross-application testing. Adopting continuous testing and integration practices will help identify and fix integration issues early in the development process, reducing the overall risk and cost associated with cross-app testing.
Cross-app testing in action
Looking into the practicalities of cross-application testing, let’s examine major business processes that can benefit from this.
Hire to retire
This refers to the complete lifecycle of an employee’s time at a company, from when they are recruited and hired to when they leave the organization. This process typically involves multiple activities and stages, depending on the specific policies and practices of the company.
Cross-app testing in the context of human resources involves testing various applications, processes, and integrations, including:
– HR applications: Testing core HR applications, such as the human resource information system (HRIS), applicant tracking systems, employee onboarding portals, performance management software, learning management systems, and employee self-service portals.
– Career management: Career management systems are essential for HR departments to facilitate employee growth and development. Cross-application testing in this area ensures that career management tools integrate well with other HR applications and deliver valuable insights for talent management.
– Salary: Testing salary-related functionalities ensures that payroll and compensation systems accurately calculate employee salaries, bonuses, and benefits. This includes verifying sensitive data, including tax deductions, compliance with labor laws, and integrations with financial systems to process salary payments seamlessly.
– Integration with other departments: In larger organizations, HR systems often must integrate with other departments, such as finance, IT, and operations. Cross-app testing ensures smooth data sharing and process coordination.
These are just a few examples of how cross-app testing can benefit organizations across different industries and functional areas. By understanding the importance of cross-app testing, the steps involved, and the challenges to address, organizations can ensure the reliability and effectiveness of their business processes in an ever-evolving digital landscape.