4 Reasons why Test Automation is a Must for the Fast Moving Consumer Goods Industry
In today’s application-driven economy, it is imperative that companies performance test early and often continuously. That’s especially true in the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry, specifically brick-and-mortar retail outlets that need to distribute products quickly and at relatively low costs in order to stay competitive.
Many fast moving consumer goods today have a short shelf life, either because of the perishable nature of the product or the high demand for the product. Which is why the logistics and distribution systems that serves as the backbone of many FMCG companies, need to operate optimally - in particular information systems and the enterprise software that powers it. In a high volume, low margin business faulty applications can quickly impact sales and erode the bottom line overnight.
Test Centers of Excellence (CoEs) supporting retail and consumer goods companies need a testing platform that can bridge two worlds. On the one hand, they need decentralized test coverage to support distributed Agile application developers in various lines of business – helping them release quality applications faster and adapt to changing market needs.
But they also need to support the test requirements of centralized mainframe development teams – ensuring their IT infrastructure can support the exponential growth for efficient, robust transactions on backend systems. These are triggered in most parts by the web and mobile applications that customers use today to browse and buy.
The testing needs of mainframe developers
The mainframe side of the equation represents a particularly high risk. Heavier workloads over overstretched resources and limited IT budgets are increasingly evident as web and mobile applications, mobile marketing and online shopping become more pervasive. Mission-critical, backend enterprise software are constantly pinged for information and transactions.
To compound the issue, retailers overtly dependent on a single IT infrastructure that works across stores and often across country borders. Application servers transact heavily with this single mainframe system of record to fulfill the business logic as defined by the applications that customers use. There simply can be no room for error.
Mainframe developers for these backend systems need to be able to make fast, incremental changes to support the vast amounts of data and throughput. And they need to be able to test and verify new code in sprint for optimal performance while under ever-growing transaction loads – while adopting many of the Agile practices used by developers of web and mobile applications. In what seems like a complex conundrum, there is actually a comprehensive solution that starts with these simple few steps.
The case for continuous quality for the mainframe
Open-source tools used by today’s Agile development teams make it simple to test early and often using your independent development environment (IDE) of choice – running the right tests at every stage of application delivery. Mainframe developers can now take advantage of an open source based test automation framework like Taurus for application development for the mainframe. By making using of the latest in Apache JMeterTM remote terminal emulator (RTE) plug-ins, test automation best practices that can be readily adopted by mainframe developers today from their local machines. Empowering mainframe developers to create and generate load tests on demand, to identify and resolve the bottlenecks when delivering the most satisfying user experience possible with every software release.
But one caution: open-source tools alone are not enough. To build better applications faster, your test infrastructure needs additional enterprise-level capabilities:
- Large-scale distributed testing, with the ability to make simultaneous, on-demand test requests for multiple projects
- Automated test execution and analysis that reuse test scripts and orchestrate continuous tests for the open mainframe
- The ability to constantly collaborate across the development pipeline for continuous integration of test feedback
Adopting a continuous testing platform can address these needs and help you deliver more consistent quality with every release. Where a continuous integration server automatically stages the most current version of your software, rebuilds it and runs your suite of regression tests. You are automatically notified about the success or failures of your build and the tests the server runs. You also get all the enterprise capabilities that you need:
- Enterprise Scale: Performance tests are automated and can be executed at any time you choose. Driving multiple large loads and transaction volumes simultaneously, for on-demand testing across distributed teams in the business comes second nature.
- Test Coverage: Though performance tests aren’t designed to test function, they often catch major functional bugs in their net. And when functional tests and performance tests are used together in a single test platform, to extend this test coverage to the different development teams, they become effective partners in finding issues that would otherwise bring your operations to a halt.
- Frictionless Use: Troubleshooting is difficult enough without having to wade through weeks or months of code changes to find the source of an issue. By closing the gap between the time a performance issue is introduced and the time it is found, you simplify the sleuthing, reduce frustration and give your teams more time to ensure quality performance.
- Continuous Quality: Testing doesn’t need to be static. Performance tests provide major benefits when you scale them to run repeatedly. If you currently performance test at the end of a project only, simply select a subset of your tests and run them daily, or as often as your test environment allows. The objective is to fail faster so issues are resolved sooner.
Selecting the right test platform
CA BlazeMeter makes the move to continuous testing simple to accomplish. You get a single, integrated test platform for performance, functional and API testing that is compatible with your existing test infrastructure. And since BlazeMeter is open-source ready, you can use open-source technologies like Jenkins, Selenium and JMeter to automate test runs and to establish your own continuous integration/continuous delivery pipeline. You will be poised to performance test every build end-to-end and to fix bugs before they affect end users. Request for your demo today.
Next, visit www.blazemeter.com/shiftleft to start your continuous testing journey. You’ll learn how using BlazeMeter can reduce your resource costs, mitigate risks and help your team work more efficiently.
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