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The 5 Key Elements Of A Test Automation Platform

The 5 Key Elements Of A Test Automation Platform

Companies competing in the digital ecosystem have the challenge of reinventing themselves through software. While they do need speed, they also need the confidence to meet the quality requirements of successful user experiences. That’s where test automation contributes to that confidence ✅

Test automation frameworks grew in adoption to achieve a similar set of features: manage a test referential, execute test suites and generate reports. But the pressure of transformation requires streamlining test automation in the software lifecycle, something in which frameworks fall short.

A new generation of solutions known as a Test Automation Platform emerged with capabilities of collaboration, connectivity, and insights generation. These attributes enable advanced use-cases of test automation that in the end, support an acceleration of software delivery with confidence.

This article shares the definition and fundamental attributes of test automation platforms that can help you accelerate the delivery of valuable software.

What is A Test Automation Platform?

Platforms are systems able to solve a core problem while being constantly connected and interacting with their ecosystem. Users and partners can benefit from business or technological services thanks to this “always-on” interconnectivity.

In the context of test automation, a platform supports one to multiple test automation use-cases— such as functional, security, or performance, but is also interconnected with its ecosystem. That’s a first major difference with frameworks usually used on their own, locally. The key benefits of a test automation platform are to: 

  • Support new use-cases with faster time-to-market
  • Add or change features with more flexibility
  • Foster a user’s community collaboration
  • Develop a network of partners that can contribute
  • Ease the deployment of integrations

Overall, a company providing a test automation platform is able to accelerate its cycles of innovation to offer a valuable experience to its users 📈 Similarly to the evolution theory, platforms increase the ratio of interactions between actors that improve their likelihood of survival.

But the implementation of such a platform is not easy. It requires the ability to solve core problems very well and to deliver the required attributes of a platform.

5 Key Attributes Of A Test Automation Platform

Platforms can have a long list of attributes depending on their objectives, typology and maturity. 5 essential attributes are most relevant for any test automation platform that aims to accelerate the delivery of valuable software:

💡 Attribute #1: Modular

Modularity defines the capability of software components to be clearly separated and easily reused through abstractions and interfaces. The major benefit is to maximize the flexibility of reuse and composition of services.

A modular test automation platform follows the separation of concerns principles, isolating in components with “high cohesion, low coupling” the different services related to test management or test execution for instance.

A first value is to enable the platform to be easier to maintain and evolve. A key requirement in an ecosystem requiring a continuous adaptation of software. A second one is to enable the capability to expose services consumable by partners, if and only if, the platform is open.

💡 Attribute #2: Open

An open platform is able to plug a variety of users and partners in direct live. This always-on interconnectivity enables support for critical business processes that require the collaboration of multiple actors.

The composition of services between actors unlocks the resolution of more complex cases. A test automation platform can create more value by being natively integrated with a requirements management solution, a ticketing system, and a CI/CD platform.

By solving more complex problems along the software lifecycle, test automation platforms increase the value delivered and usually grow their user base. While this expansion is good, it must be supported by a scalable platform.

💡 Attribute #3: Scalable

Generally speaking, scalability is the capacity to be changed in size or scale. In our context, we are referring to the capability of test automation platforms to support more use-cases, users, and partners that drastically increase workloads to cope with.

Test automation platforms rely on automation and technology to ensure their operations are working 24/7 with a continuous flow of activity. The scalability of these components is critical for them to support the increasing demand, at the risk of missing opportunities or losing users.

Scalability is a must-have requirement for test automation platforms aiming to accelerate software delivery. Teams will not wait hours for test execution running in parallel to end due to poor scalability. They want results as fast as possible to decide what to do using data.

💡 Attribute #4: Data-driven

The expression “data-driven” has been widely used to describe organizations that make decisions based on data. Test automation platforms do need to make automated decisions based on data, but they must have generated them in the first place.

Once a test automation platform has found users regularly using their solution, the openness and scalability of their services will enable them to support an increasing flow of activity. That continuous flow of data is a source of value for the entire ecosystem, and requiring to generate, store, and use such data.

There are many examples where data can be leveraged with a test automation platform. Benchmarks of test practices and results can be shared with users, and execution data can fill a self-healing system or an automated flaky detection mechanism. But with more power comes more responsibility.

💡 Attribute #5: Secure

Systems security has been growing in criticality in the last decade. The number of business transactions held, the interconnectivity of systems, and the value of data are the main factors influencing the increase of attacks and asset protection by organizations.

A test automation platform that depends on interconnected software to support activities 24/7 and data to generate value has to consider security as a must-have requirement. A security breach can mean the end of users’ and partners’ trust relationship, negatively impacting the business for a long-time.

Sustaining the increasing adoption of test automation platforms requires significant investments and continuous management of security themes. And it’s only the beginning with the digital transformation pushing for accelerated rates of software delivery.

A Test Automation Platform Accelerates Software Delivery

These foundations are not easy to master on top of a well-crafted software product, representing the challenge of meeting the high standard imposed by the digital ecosystem.

Wherever you are building, contributing, or using a test automation solution, you can now assess them with more clarity to understand their capability, to increase the value you can capture today and tomorrow.

The main added value to capture from test automation platforms is to accelerate the rate of software delivery with confidence. Test automation is there to support your rhythm of software changes to sustain the innovation capability of your organization.

It’s never too late to adopt such solutions to improve your software lifecycle. Assess with clarity how the platform answers each of the platform requirements, improving their likelihood to support the acceleration of your software delivery. Just start today 💠

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About the author

Antoine Craske

Passionate about digital, architecture, transformation with more than ten years of experience in the software industry from software engineer to director. Convinced by the power of communities to learn faster and solve structurally similar problems in our ecosystem.

Founder and organizer of the QE Unit, the Quality Engineering community. Meetup organizer of TICE.Leiria, AKUG.PT, Ministry of Testing Leiria, Co-founder of Archilocus. Shaping Quality Engineering at qeunit.com.

Director of Architecture & Technology at La Redoute. Co-founder of Cerberus Testing. Co-founder at Test Automation Camp, Co-founder & Partner at atale.io.

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