Bringing your business into the modern world of technology is complex, expensive, and in general, a very daunting task for most organizations. Modernizing your business technologies means converting or changing legacy systems and applications to more scalable and robust modern platforms that engage far easier with your market and provide better customer experiences.
As your business changes, and it most certainly has, so should your technology. Changing your legacy systems might seem cumbersome and be an expensive project, but failing to do so could end up costing more time and money in the long run. At iLAB, our team of experts help define modernization efforts for a variety of industries.
Whether the modernization occurs in a public or private sector industry, the challenges remain the same as we often see common mistakes in planning and implementation. Across global locations, our teams have successfully managed the quality assurance process and tested large modernization efforts that involve years of legacy data that requires migration, testing of multiple interfaces to ensure third party integrations work, ensuring user accesses and permissions are correct, and security is not compromised, to name a few. Our primary goal for testing is that there are no costly and embarrassing surprises for our clients on Day 1 of go-live or a go-live date that never arrives.
Our comprehensive quality assurance plans include developing testing strategies built around years of experience and focus not only on the technology requirements but also on the data, user, and business needs, and always being cognizant of the overall objective of the modernization effort. The entire business process and all its nuances, integrations, data complexity, and business requirements need to be tested and measured. This entire quality and testing process is always underpinned by valuable business metrics for decision making that not only cost and time measured, but the quality is also included, thereby giving valuable insight into the go/no-go decision process.
One of the most critical aspects of testing a modernization effort that is often overlooked is performance testing. Implementation of a strong performance testing strategy ensures that you know how much peak load your systems can handle. Also, can the new system architecture handle the same load or does it have better performance testing metrics than the legacy system? In recent years, we have seen quite a few examples of performance issues of a public-facing application catching media attention.
Another aspect of modernization that needs to be the of focus is change management and how it impacts the business users and the training plan. In one of our recent client engagements, the project team had not planned to perform testing of a COTS software on migrated data. One of our key recommendations during our initial discussions with the client was to add this to their plan. As expected, we identified quite a few showstoppers during the test runs. While the issues identified pushed the go-live date a few months, it ensured a successful go-live at the end.
If you want to drive innovation, have a competitive advantage, and be a reliable resource for your consumers, then a robust testing strategy is needed when modernizing your technology.
When Does Testing Fit into Your Modernization?
When companies set out to ditch the legacy systems, testing is often one of the last things they think about. There is often too much reliance on the system integrators and therefore not giving themselves enough independence to be successful. Because how do you know the quality is of the necessary standard? They often task internal teams who may understand the business intimately but do not know how to test a system correctly. They usually do not provide the organization with significant defects to act upon or true quality metrics. However, this testing method and the idea of waiting until the end to test a program or relying on just businesses or users to check leaves most companies with more headaches and problems and most likely delaying their go-live date.
As a trusted and globally known QA firm, iLAB is changing the way business owners and leaders think about their software testing strategies, encouraging companies to include us early in the software development lifecycle during their modernization effort.
Always remember 1-10-100: Investing $1 toward prevention is less costly than $10 for correction and is far cheaper than paying $100 for failure. That is why prioritizing testing in the early developmental stages of modernization is essential to your success, both publicly and financially.
Why Testing is Beneficial for Modernization Efforts
The benefits of testing while modernizing your business technologies far outweigh the costs. To maintain public faith and trust, your business software must meet or exceed expectations from consumers or internal end users. For that to happen, testing must play a pivotal role in all of the following:
- Security – Your modernized system must be safe and at minimal risk for intrusion. According to a 2018 IBM study, the average cost of a data breach is $3.86 million, while a mega-breach can have a financial impact of $350 million. If your business lacks this kind of cash for potential risk cleanup, then testing during modernization efforts is crucial.
- Compatibility – Are your current systems, such as hardware, operating systems, networks, and web browsers, compatible with modern technologies? If you’re not sure of the answer, having testing in place before you begin modernizing will ensure that any roadblocks or challenges are addressed from the very beginning.
- Reliability – The use of technology has made people demanding. It’s also made the business world even more competitive on a global scale. With testing in place from the get-go, you can ensure that your system operates without risk of failure and can stand up to the full range of user expectations.
- Data Conversion/Migration – Operating more than one system at a time is not uncommon during modernization efforts. Still, it could leave you with inaccurate data or encryption failures. Testing your efforts while switching to a new program will ensure that date conversion is done correctly.
Additionally, prioritizing testing allows for more time at each test level, leaving you with a more reliable and sustainable end product. These levels include:
- Unit Testing – Validates that all functional units work correctly in isolation.
- Integration Testing – Validates that the individual modules behave correctly when tested together.
- Functional Testing – Validates that the software meets the expectations as detailed in the approved requirements and the objectives captured in the designs.
- Regression Testing – Validates the existing functionality continues to work as expected as the code is continuously modified.
- Security Testing – Validates that the system is protected from intrusion and that critical client data is secure.
- Performance Testing – Validates that the system properly handles the expected volume of users.
- User Acceptance – Validates that the system meets the needs and expectations of the end users.
Leveraging Automation – Why Automate?
Building an automation suite during a modernization effort is incredibly valuable to the organization. The goal of automation is to add test efficiencies during the pre-go-live state and create a suite of robust regression test cases that can be utilized during every patch, upgrade, service pack, or new requirement that is introduced post-go-live. Our engineering experts create a customized automation suite for your modernized software and implement our framework. Supplementing the manual efforts with automation allows you to broaden your testing coverage and receive faster feedback and results.
With automation in place, your business benefits from being able to quickly identify errors made during future updates or failures in your program altogether. This further allows for quicker coding repairs, saving your business time and money.
Moving your business technology and programs into the modern world is exciting. It means you’re growing and staying competitive in your industry. However, your modernization efforts require careful thought and planning, including having a team of quality assurance experts from iLAB in your corner. For more resources and guidance, visit our website, or to get started email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.