In our previous engagement, as detailed here, we embarked on a transformative journey with Citizens Energy Group. Our collaboration began with a focus on Esri software documentation and consultation, evolving into a hands-on partnership that tackled automation challenges head-on and leveraged innovative solutions. From laying the groundwork for the Esri Enterprise upgrade to leading the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) efforts, our partnership with Citizens showcased the evolution of a project rooted in understanding, planning, and active implementation. As we transition into this next chapter, we delve deeper into the complexities of automating Esri products. The intricate design of Esri posed unique challenges, pushing us to innovate and explore uncharted territories

The Esri Automation Challenge

The world of software automation is no stranger to challenges, but automating Esri products presented a unique set of intricacies. Esri’s design, while undeniably powerful, is characterized by its multi-layered architecture, abundant forms, and frequent pop-ups. This intricate framework not only showcases the versatility of Esri software but also highlights the hurdles that come with attempting to automate such a complex system. The challenge wasn’t just about navigating through these layers but understanding how they interplay and ensuring that any automation solution could seamlessly interact with each facet of the design.

Understanding the Complexity of Esri Automation

To truly grasp the automation challenge at hand, one must first dive deep into the maze-like design of Esri. Its structure, reminiscent of a labyrinth, is interwoven with layers and functionalities that, while providing a robust platform, also pose significant challenges for automation. Standard automation tools, which are often designed with more linear applications in mind, find themselves at a disadvantage. Their typical methodologies and approaches are ill-equipped to handle the intricacies of Esri’s design, necessitating a more tailored and innovative approach to automation.

The Quest for the Right Tool

In the realm of software automation, finding the perfect tool is akin to searching for a needle in a haystack. At iLAB, we were undeterred by this challenge and embarked on an exhaustive evaluation process. Our journey led us through the intricacies of 19 potential automation solutions, each boasting its unique strengths and limitations. But our mission was clear: we needed a tool that could navigate the labyrinthine design of Esri, offer user-friendliness, and integrate seamlessly with Citizen’s existing systems. Our criteria were stringent, ensuring that the chosen solution would not only address the immediate challenges but also be future-proof, catering to evolving needs.

The Decision: UFT One

After a rigorous evaluation, two solutions emerged as potential frontrunners. However, UFT One stood out, not just for its affordability—a crucial consideration for Citizen—but for its unparalleled capabilities. UFT One wasn’t just another automation tool; it demonstrated a profound ability to handle the complexities of Esri’s design. Its user-friendly interface, coupled with AI tools, meant that business users could develop automation tests without the need for specialized engineers. In UFT One, we found a tool that was tailor-made for Citizen’s unique challenges, ensuring a seamless, efficient, and sustainable operation of their Esri system.

Implementing UFT One

With UFT One identified as the optimal solution, the next chapter of our journey with Citizen began. The initial steps were foundational: installation and setup. Leveraging our deep understanding of both Citizen’s infrastructure and the nuances of UFT One, we ensured a smooth installation process. Every configuration was meticulously calibrated, aligning UFT One perfectly with Citizen’s Esri system and broader IT ecosystem. But implementation wasn’t just about the tool; it was about the people. At iLAB, we crafted comprehensive training guides, tailored specifically for Citizen’s team. These weren’t mere manuals; they were knowledge repositories, ensuring that every user could harness the full potential of UFT One, irrespective of their expertise level.

Validating the UFT One Implementation: Smoke Tests

With UFT One integrated, it was imperative to test its mettle. Our focus sharpened on the field maps applications, leading us to design a series of meticulous Smoke Tests. These tests, while foundational, played a pivotal role in validating UFT One’s functionality and its alignment with Citizen’s specific requirements. A standout feature of our approach was the atomized testing methodology. By segmenting tests into individual actions, we crafted a system that was not only easier to maintain but also highly adaptable to changing requirements. The results spoke volumes:

  • Efficiency Boost: UFT One reduced the duration of smoke testing dramatically. Tasks that previously consumed 20 hours were now completed in just 1.5 hours—a staggering 92.5% time reduction.
  • Adaptable Testing Framework: The modular nature of our testing approach ensured a framework that was both maintainable and flexible, ready to accommodate evolving requirements.
  • Advanced Scripting Capabilities: Leveraging UFT One’s AI and OCR capabilities, we expedited the scripting process, crafting advanced scripts in a fraction of the time compared to traditional methods. These scripts also showcased resilience, adapting seamlessly to minor software changes.

The Road Ahead: Automating Regression Testing

As our collaboration with Citizen evolves, we’re gearing up for a pivotal phase: automating Regression Testing for the Esri system. In the dynamic world of software development, changes are a given. It’s here that Regression Testing becomes crucial, acting as a safeguard to ensure system stability amidst these changes. However, the manual approach to Regression Testing can be taxing on resources. That’s where automation steps in, offering not just speed and consistency, but also scalability. This shift towards automation is designed to empower Citizen’s team, allowing them to channel their energies towards innovation.

Our Commitment, Vision, and the Path Forward

At iLAB, our commitment to Citizen transcends beyond just tasks and milestones. We’re not just implementing; we’re envisioning, strategizing, and tailoring solutions to align with Citizen’s unique needs. As we delve deeper into automating the Regression Testing for the Esri system, we’re laying down a roadmap that emphasizes continuous improvement in product delivery and quality. This roadmap is a testament to our belief in the power of Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD).

Our partnership with Citizen is a tapestry of mutual growth, innovation, and unwavering dedication. From our initial consultations to hands-on implementations, every step has been marked by collaborative success. As we chart the course ahead, we invite you to join us in the next phase of this transformative journey, where innovation, excellence, and success continue to be our guiding stars.