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DevOps has impacted the software development lifecycle and driven industry-wide improvements in deployment frequency. But test automation can unleash the true potential of DevOps to slash release cycles and make technology teams more competitive.

DevOps is still held back by a testing bottleneck

Agile and DevOps have driven massive improvements in industry deployment frequency. 58% of senior decision-makers in corporate IT now report that their teams deploy daily, or even more frequently – and 26% at least hourly.

But testing remains the biggest bottleneck in the SDLC (software development lifecycle) for DevOps teams. Capgemini’s Continuous Testing Report identifies the investments that many technology companies will have to make in order to streamline their test environment, improve their continuous testing effectiveness, and remove the test bottleneck from their SDLC.

‘Today, while organizations have transformed to Agile and DevOps methodologies, testing remains the missing foundational ingredient for a complete transformation of the software development lifecycle.’
– Capgemini

Test data management lies behind the DevOps bottleneck

Test data management is a major cause of the testing bottleneck. Over half (55%) of senior decision-makers in corporate IT management report that their teams are spending between 30 and 60 percent of their testing time on test data management activities. Nearly half (47%) of their time is spent ‘Building, managing, maintaining, and decommissioning test environments’.

test data management software development lifecycle

Improvements in test data management could have a significant impact on the overall efficiency of the SDLC. Over a quarter (26%) of decision-makers say they use existing test data – which can lead to poor test coverage, testing inefficiencies, and compliance and security risks.

provisioning test data

However, GDPR has helped push IT organizations towards making the transition to data masking, subsetting, and synthesizing. A fifth of decision-makers reported the use of commercial tools to generate test data – and test data management tools have also become more popular. In-house test data tools can be expensive to maintain and organizations typically realize that a commercial solution will offer better value and results over the long-term.

Data extraction is the top test data challenge

A third of senior IT decision-makers report that the reality of data being spread across multiple databases is the single largest challenge associated with test data – as it makes extraction a time-consuming process.

test data challenges

Building a metadata model which spans the range of databases that – realistically – most modern technology organizations rely on can help to mitigate this challenge. However, this model will require a tool that synchronizes with an organization’s suite of applications in real-time – to ensure that any changes are accounted for.

Test environments require automation to remove bottlenecks

IT organizations are spending excessive amounts of time managing their test environments due in large part to factors that test automation could resolve.

As many as 40% of senior IT decision-makers report that 50% of their time is spent ‘Building, managing, maintaining, and decommissioning test environments’.

time spent managing test environments

Leading issues that impede an IT organization’s software development are reported to include long wait times and costs, complexities related to applications they need, and an inability to identify defects early in the testing process.

test environment issues

Most if not all of the issues highlighted by senior decision-makers could be partially or fully-resolved with test automation. Tools like Bitbar’s AI Testbot can identify and report errors without requiring anyone to design test scenarios or write a single line of code.

However, there’s still a surprising lack of test automation:

  • 25% of test data is generated with test data tools.
  • 24% of performance test cases are executed using test automation tools.
  • 24% of end-to-end business scenarios are executed with test automation tools.

Upfront investment in a test automation tool might not be cheap, but the long-term ROI can be significant – especially as an IT organization’s test automation strategies develop and become more mature.

software development lifecycle

Just as IT organizations that invested in Agile and DevOps earlier have reaped increasing rewards over time, those businesses that make the leap and invest in test automation are likely to enjoy the advantages of faster software testing and unleash the true potential of DevOps to transform the software development lifecycle – ahead of their competitors.

Alex Napier Holland

Tech Business Writer