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Software testing is evolving quickly. A new report highlights the technologies that developers can use to speed-up testing and deployment in the new year. But are you taking advantage of them?

Smartbear released ‘The State of Testing 2018’ last month. This annual industry report surveys QA professionals to establish the methodologies, practices and tools that they’re using to build, validate and deliver software. It also identifies insights into the future that they think we’re heading towards.

New technologies like artificial intelligence, machine-learning and cloud-based testing offer significant advantages to developers – cutting testing and deployment times. However, a large number of companies don’t seem to be exploiting these technologies.

Software testing has never been more important.

Software continues to influence, affect and automate more areas of our lives. So testing software only becomes more valuable and important – as we welcome new applications and devices into our homes and businesses to take command of important tasks.

Development teams are under increasing pressure to improve quality, testing and deployment times – because businesses have to deliver engaging and robust experiences to stand-out in competitive markets.

Gartner expects global IT spending to reach $3.7 trillion this year – an increase of 4.5% from 2017.

  • Where does your business and testing strategy sit against the industry averages?
  • What changes can you expect in 2019?
  • Which technologies could help you get ahead?
  • How can you leverage them?

Almost a quarter of QA professionals still use the Waterfall development model

Agile and DevOps are widely regarded as offering faster and more flexible development cycles than the Waterfall model, which results in quicker and more robust delivery.

  • 24% of survey respondents are still using the Waterfall model.
  • In fairness, 32% of respondents are using more than one model, meaning that an unknown percentage of Waterfall users will also use Agile or DevOps.

However, there’s a lot of untapped potential on the table for Waterfall-based teams who haven’t shifted to an Agile or DevOps approach yet.

Software release cycles keep getting quicker

Shorter release cycles offer obvious benefits. Teams can quickly fix bugs and respond to user feedback, which drives rapid improvements. In the survey, respondents claiming daily (or multiple per day) release cycles more than doubled in 2018 – from 11% to 26%. Weekly release cycles also increased too.

In contrast, monthly, quarterly and yearly cycles all dropped significantly. It seems clear that the industry is shifting towards shorter release cycles that are weekly, daily or even multiple times per day.

Automation is growing – but surprisingly slowly

Automation can offer huge efficiencies to software development teams, so it’s surprising to discover that it’s not more popular. In any case, test automation can save significant time, cut costs and help products launch more quickly.

It’s surprising to see that less than half of respondents (42%) automate more than half of their tests.

  • Less than a quarter of teams automate 50-75% of their tests (24%).
  • Less than one-in-five automate 76-100% of their tests (18%).

On the other side, most QA engineers expect over half of tests to be automated within two years.

  • 45% of QA engineers expect 76-100% of tests to be automated.
  • 75% of QA engineers expect over half of tests to be automated.

Upfront costs for automation might put some teams off, but the long-term ROI can be substantial. So it’s important for software development teams to plan for the future.

Cost Comparison between Test Automation and Manual Testing

Only one-third of software professionals leverage cloud-based testing

Cloud-based testing can cut cycle times and get products to market more quickly – so it could be a big missed opportunity for two-thirds of software development teams.

The benefits of cloud-based testing include:

  • On-demand test environments that are maintained and updated regularly.
  • Continuous access to the latest mobile devices and operating systems.
  • Test times that are cut from months to hours.
  • Predictable costs.
  • Reduced risks.
  • A platform that encourages collaboration and allows team members to track testing and development progress in one place.

Cloud-based testing is becoming more popular, with an increase of 5% from last year. But most software development teams are ignoring a transformative technology that could cut their time to market and reduce operational costs.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning are powerful and popular

AI-powered testing platforms can automatically explore and test software, which offers huge time-saving efficiencies and QA professionals will be watching. AI and ML weren’t directly explored in the survey but proved popular when respondents were asked to list the top three practices and technologies that they expect to see more in the next two years.

Tools like Bitbar’s AI Testbot are designed to automate mobile app tests in a smart way, which can ultimately save time and human resources with key benefits as below:

  • Automation of exploring apps across a large number of physical devices.
  • Removal of time-consuming manual observation, operation and evaluation by humans with no need to design test scenarios or write test code.
  • Continuous learning and improvement on test execution.

Is your software testing process as efficient as it could be?

Automation, cloud-based testing and artificial intelligence each offer significant benefits and potential for your business to save time, cut costs and deploy software more quickly. These technologies may be under-utilized today – but QA professionals expect all three to be significant in the industry within two years. How ready is your business?

Bitbar’s Cloud Platform leverages cloud-based test automation and artificial intelligence to allow your software development team to test and deploy more quickly.

  • Are you leveraging automation, cloud-based testing or artificial intelligence in your testing environment?
  • What barriers to entry are preventing you from using these technologies?
  • How can testing platforms like Bitbar help your development team make the transition towards these powerful technologies?

Alex Napier Holland

Tech Business Writer