Understanding the Rise of Enterprise Application Testing

Posted by Shammah Banerjee | 25-Nov-2020 14:04:00

As organisations prioritise agility and speed, enterprise applications and off-the-shelf productions have become increasingly popular as options to build up enterprise architecture. In addition to fuelling business processes, these key structures also serve as the backbone to innovation. In a world where 59% of organisations deploy a new software build daily, employing enterprise applications can harness new capabilities for agility but they also bring particular challenges around complexity. 

Nimbus Ninety members gathered online to discuss the major pitfalls when it comes to testing enterprise applications, based on research done in partnership with Tricentis that revealed key findings in this space. 


As outlined by Chris Trueman, SVP LiveCompare, at Tricentis, IT and software teams face a set of challenges when they come to pursuing digital transformation: velocity, risk, cost and quality. CIOs are tasked with finding the solution to reconcile all of these pieces. How do they increase release velocity at the same time as lowering cost, minimizing risk and increasing quality?

When it comes to software delivery, testing is the number one barrier to speed and agility. With enterprise applications in particular, huge complexity is developed through multiple customisations and integrations in the ERP landscape. In addition to this, organisations that use systems such as SAP or Salesforce face regular updates that can interrupt critical business processes. But with testing being viewed as a barrier to software delivery, this means that often teams are tempted to speed up processes to achieve delivery goals. This inevitably has an impact on quality and cost, as fixing defects in production is 30 times more expensive than fixing it in the testing stage and takes more time. Not only is it a drain on time and cost, but it also uses up key talent due to hypercare.

Hypercare is when organisations bring together the most talented users to fix a defect as quickly as possible. While it deals immediately with the defect, it does not address the actual problem of having a defect in the first place. In addition to this, relying on hypercare means that release velocity is capped: how quickly a defect can be dealt with defines how quickly a release can go into production, and therefore how many releases can happen in a year. 

Another huge challenge when it comes to testing ERP packaged apps such as Salesforce, ServiceNow and SAP, is the assumption that business users can perform adequate testing on these applications before they go into production. A major pitfall that organisations face is that, while business users understand how the application is used better than anyone else in the business, they do not understand testing processes and best practices better than the testing team do. As a result, organisations that rely on key business users are seeing more and more defects show up in production. 

Finally, the sheer amount that is required to be tested sets a daunting workload for testing teams. With these major challenges and common pitfalls in play, Chris posed three questions to our audience that are key to successful delivery:

  1. What to test?
  2. Does it work?
  3. Does it scale? 


An expert panel came together to discuss how to address key business challenges in the testing space. This was made up of Ben Johnson (Director of Innovation, Strategy and Governance at Saint-Gobain), Rajesh Sharma (Managing Consultant, Sogeti), and Chris Trueman (SVP LiveCompare at Tricentis). The first area of discussion was understanding the common misconceptions about testing enterprise applications. A big area that was highlighted by the panelists was the misconception that investment isn’t needed for automated testing of enterprise applications. With off-the-shelf applications, many organisations face the challenge of demonstrating the value of automated testing since there is an assumption that these applications come ready-to-use. Additionally, implementing test automation also requires decisions to be made about architecture as well: should you actually be looking at putting the right systems in the right places before you invest in test automation? It isn’t always worth implementing test automation when you are still using legacy software. 

When it comes to automation as well, the success stories and benefits are clear: one organisation that implemented test automation saw a 200% faster delivery cycle, 440 person days saved per year and a 70% test coverage. However, it is vital to state that not everything can be automated, and it also depends on a case by case basis. Ben highlighted the importance of judging each application by its criticality: achieving higher test automation coverage on a finance tool is of greater importance than achieving the same on a marketing tool, for example. It is vital that implementing test automation is done in a strategic and targeted way, and not as a blanket rule. 

One member shared the idea of starting with a people transformation, rather than a digital transformation, when it came to test automation. With automation coming into play, many software testers fear for their jobs when in actual fact, there is a huge opportunity for them to be upskilled and become test automation engineers that can oversee test automation. Thus, the whole process is transformed on both the technology side and the people side. It loops back to earlier points about demonstrating the value of automation on the enterprise application side: starting with the people piece, rather than strategy or ROI, allows you to nail down a clear vision and begin the steps forward to test automation. 

Rajesh also highlighted the importance of instilling quality throughout the delivery process. It shouldn’t be a thought tacked onto the end, but something that is integrated from the very early stages of development. As asserted in Capgemini’s recent World Quality Report 2019-2020, “it’s far better for quality to be implicit in everything an organization does, than for it to be simply a stage in a process.” 

Finally, the panel tackled the question of how to build a high-performing software development team. DevOps came out as a deeply helpful methodology for organisations wanting to reconcile speed and quality in their delivery cycles. Additionally, there was discussion around the culture piece. Ben commented that each organisation will approach culture differently, but it is helpful in every organisation to spread ownership of quality across the whole delivery cycle, so developers and testers are working towards a clear common goal. Rajesh suggested that it is also helpful to implement a post-mortem culture of understanding where things have gone wrong, in order to address them and continuously improve. 

Over the course of the morning, it became clear that the path to achieving successful software delivery is overcoming the challenges around testing. However, it is only by addressing culture and mindset that IT leaders can build a best-in-class software development team to consistently deliver both high release velocity and high quality.


If you would like to find out more, download the whitepaper "The Rise of Enterprise Application Testing" that examines how businesses are overcoming pitfalls in packaged app delivery for business success.

Download the Report


This event was held in partnership with Tricentis, a software testing and quality assurance solutions provider.

Topics: Event reports

Written by Shammah Banerjee

Shammah is the Senior Editor at Nimbus Ninety. She tracks down the most exciting stories in business and tech, produces the content and gets to chat with the biggest innovators of the moment at Chief Disruptor LIVE.

Leave a Comment