Trends of ERP Testing to Watch for 2019

ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems no longer necessitate any sort of introduction. For businesses, investing in a good system no longer is an alternative. It is a necessity. Enterprise Resource Planning systems have been a part of the business software landscape for a long time. Ever since their foray into the world of business, vendors are incessantly evolving them, so they are more powerful, robust, simpler to use, and affordable.

The 5 Major ERP trends that we should consider in 2019:

1.Competition from Disruptors- The Enterprise resource planning behemoths that have conquered the industry are encountering stiff competition from new, often Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)-only startups & the proliferation of fresh trends threatening to upset how enterprises collect and process data, and also operate. Renowned companies like FinancialForce (already having more than 1,300 Enterprise resource planning customers) and Kenandy are creating solutions based on the Salesforce App Cloud to make them alluring to users of the popular CRM and sales automation tool. On the disruption side, data visualization, big data, and artificial intelligence (AI) top the list of newest technologies that threaten to alter the way Enterprise resource planning systems are built and used. Enterprises looking to update their Enterprise resource planning systems in the year 2019 will need to become aware of to how their new prospects handle such trends. Database performance will be the core performance indicator (KPI) for Enterprise resource planning in 2019.

2.Enterprise resource planning, SaaS, & Hybrid ERP- Enterprise resource planning apps are stored on your servers, which mean you are responsible for long-term hardware maintenance, hardware costs and data backup and recovery. SaaS-based applications are stored on cloud-based servers, which are much less costly, very fast to upgrade and scale, and don’t take up clunky servers. Hybrid ERP systems are becoming famous in some sections as long-time Enterprise resource planning customers enjoy the ability to move certain Enterprise resource planning functions to the cloud while sustaining tight, on-premises control over other facets, particularly those most vulnerable to compliance regulation.

3.Focused on Social Media and Digital Marketing- These days, Enterprise resource planning is specifically focused more and more on functions than marketing, but those modules will need to become social media-savvy by the year 2019. Future Enterprise resource planning systems will need to be able to integrate direct marketing & data gathering links across manifold social media channels to remain on the top list and highly competitive.

4.The Internet of Things (IoT) is going to stay- As more and more products and devices become connected to the internet, more data can be instantly funneled into the Enterprise resource planning system, and that’s an advantage that can’t be ignored. This trend offers better oversight over things like the supply chain and appliance performance, and it also gives overall data pool for good decision making.

5.ERP for the Subsidiary- As more Enterprise resource planning systems are being delivered via the cloud, it is becoming far easier to deploy such SaaS-based tools incrementally. Rather than replacing ERP whole-hog, big giant companies are selecting one slice of the business and plugging in SaaS Enterprise resource planning on a trial basis. This approach lets businesses observe SaaS Enterprise resource planning performance to evaluate how it might fit into the existing on-premises Enterprise resource planning implementation—or whether it should replace on-premises Enterprise resource planning throughout the whole enterprise.

Agile Digital Transformation

Let us understand what exactly AGILE is all about–

AGILE – A term coined in 2011 by a small group of people who were tired of the traditional approach of Software Management of developing projects.

Agile helps teams to provide fast and unpredictable responses to the feedback they receive on their projects.

The twelve principles of agile development include:

1.Customer satisfaction through early & continuous software delivery – Clients are happier if they don’t have to wait for extended periods of time and receive working software at timely intervals between releases.

2.Accommodate changing needs throughout the development process – Whenever there is a change in requirement or feature, it should not cause a delay in the development process and get accommodated easily in the software.

3.Frequent delivery of working software – As Scrum operates in software sprints or iterations, this ensures regular delivery of working software.

4.Collaboration between the developers & business stakeholders during the project – Better decisions are made when the business and technical team collaborate.

5.Support, belief, & motivate the people involved– The unhappy teams cannot deliver their best like the motivated teams. So, support and trust are needed on the team.

6.Enable face-to-face interactions– There is no miscommunication when teams are co-located which not only saves time but also gives better interaction result.

7.Working software is the prime measure of improvement– The ultimate measure of progress is delivering functional software to the customer.

8.Agile processes to support a consistent development pace–Agile process establishes a routine through which teams establish an iterative and maintainable speed through which they can deliver functional software, and they repeat it with each release.

9.Attention to technical aspect & design enhances agility– The apt skills and righteous design ensures the team can maintain the speed, constantly improve the product and back up the change.

10.Simplicity– Develop just enough to get the job done at the moment.

11.Teams which are self-organized encourage great designs, requirements, and architectures– Motivated and Dexterous team members who have the decisiveness, take ownership and interact regularly with other members of the team and share designs that deliver standard products.

12.Regular reflections on how to become more and more effective– Self-evolution, process betterment, advancing expertise, and techniques help the team members to work more coherently.

The aim of Agile is to merge development with the business needs, and the success of Agile is evident. Agile projects are customer-centric and advocate customer guidance and engagement. Because of this, Agile has grown to be an overall view of software development throughout the software development industry and an industry all by itself.

What is a digital transformation?

It is the unification of digital technology into all areas of business, radically changing how you utilize and yield value to customers. It is also an aesthetic change that requires organizations to continuously confront the status quo, investigate, and get comfortable with unfulfillment. 

Digital Transformation is the unprecedented use of digital technology to resolve conventional problems. These digital solutions capacitate inherently new types of innovation and artistry, rather than simply upgrade and support conventional methods.

What is AGILE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION?

An agile transformation is an act of transfiguring an organization’s form or nature gradually to one that is able to accept and advance in an adaptable, cooperative, self-organizing, fast wavering environment. The Agile Manifesto values and principles can be followed and taught throughout any type of establishment as it does not just apply to development teams.

The whole establishment needs to interpret the clarity of an agile transformation and the value of it in order to gain from the rewards of achieving true, healthy agility. The whole cultural and organizational mindset must change to one that embraces a culture of self-organization and collaboration.

Principles of Agile Digital Transformation:

PRINCIPLE 1:  START WITH A TRANSFORMATIVE VISION

As per a recent Gartner survey, 63% of business leaders stipulated they don’t exactly know what would be the possibilities of next-generation technology. Not astonishingly, just 13% of respondents said they have discovered the next paramount digital business technology investment. The reason for this is that the company lacks a transformation vision that will plan out a digital strategy and, more importantly, give the business the ability to measure progress and make real-time adjustments to improve outcome. Superior management must create, be coherent, and interface the compelling future digital vision.  Transfiguration does not happen bottom-up.

PRINCIPLE 2:  FOCUS ON BUILDING DIGITAL CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT

Successful digital transformations are always built on front-end customer experience, unlike traditional digital projects. There should be more and more exposure to new growth opportunities by adding digital features to products as well as by changing direction and considering how the products and their services adapt to the digital customer. To create a value we need not use technologies and tools as an integrated package instead there should be sets of applications that can automate the user experience through social, data, cloud and mobile.

PRINCIPLE 3:  SUPPORT THE VISION WITH SECURE DIGITAL PLATFORMS

The organizations must always prioritize risks germane as per their specific operation. As the hottest application in need is for security, there should be smart tools to manage the risks for detecting the intrusions quickly and to respond in real time. The key to liberating the existing IT assets and enabling digital innovation with growth is the interface to digital components. The security of assets and data is paramount, the right strategy will support the speed, safety, and growth required in today’s digital economy.

PRINCIPLE 4: DRIVE INSIGHT WITH DATA-DRIVEN VISUALIZATION

The growing digital organizations not only persistently collect data but identify and envision that data in a context that induces insights that can be acted upon. The solution to unlocking real-time data intelligence for zestful and unified customer engagement is comprehending and address customer personas and micro-segments.

Traditionally companies have a reasonably strong foundation of sales transactional data. However, this data often lacks the necessary dimensionality to create meaningful demographic, attitudinal, and predictive insights. In addition, data rarely is augmented by leveraging publically available and purchased data.

Many organizations are using data visualization to communicate information clearly and efficiently to users through statistical graphics, plots, infographics, and dynamic tables and charts. Effective envisions helps users in examining and reasoning data and documentation.

PRINCIPLE 5: EMBRACE DIGITAL AGILITY TO CREATE ADVANTAGE

Due to the constantly changing customer and market conditions, Business leaders often wrestle to execute extensive projects. The conventional business model features unconnected, unintegrated platforms by business function and projects with 6-18 month lifecycles. Oftentimes, by the time the project is accomplished, market and user requirements have changed with success criteria and ROI seldom realized.

To circumvent these perils, firms must grab adaptable differentiation by developing a “digital agility advantage” that allows a company to embrace market and operational changes as a matter of routine through the use of digital technologies. Digital agility initiatives are rooted in 30-day sprints with new iterations built better and faster. This allows a company to constantly evaluate and modify – the concept of learning, launch, re-learn, re-launch – rectifying the perspective in attainable iterations. Thriving organizations in the digital age must exhibit an awareness of how to be agile; only then, they would be able to execute in an agile way.

How AI Adoption Actually Bang and Turn QA Expectations?

Software testing industry is becoming extensive with every passing day. With the sudden boost in the technology challenges, apps are growing in complication which creates an incessant need for effective software testing. Software testing is the premeditated way where an app can be observed under definite conditions and where software testers can detect the risks involved in software implementation. Testing is an imperative process that guarantees customer satisfaction within an app and assists to safeguard against potential failures that may prove to be detrimental down the line. It is a planned procedure where the app is reviewed and analyzed under definite conditions to understand the overall risks and threshold involved in its implementation.

According to the State of Testing Survey 2017, the future is about the automated test as 62% of respondents believe it will boost in the next few years. According to the similar report, we can also expect testers spend extra resources and time on testing mobile & hybrid apps, with the time used on actual development shrinking. When it comes to automation tests, Artificial Intelligence is being extensively used in object app categorization for all user interfaces. Here, recognized controls are classified when you create tools & software testers can pre-train controls that are generally seen in out of the box setups. Once the hierarchy of controls is observed, software testers can create a technical map such that the Artificial Intelligence is looking at the HUI (Graphical User Interface) for obtaining labels for the diverse controls.

Artificial Intelligence in Software Testing

Simply said, Artificial Intelligence is the science behind computers performing significant tasks that are traditionally performed by individuals. It provides machines with the critical skill to process information about its conditions & learns to adapt to the changes and modifications. Machines are learning more rapidly than ever given the technology advancements. The computer is fed with a high amount of data to adapt as per a series of inputs so that it can recognize patterns and logic and as a result make an effectual connection between similar input & output pairs. It is all the way through machine learning that websites like Amazon and Netflix are able to bring targeted advertisements to their customers by using vast amounts of data based on the web pages the user searches. Machine Learning has to turn out a long way with people using it for driving cars without a human. Artificial Intelligence has become quite popular in the field of healthcare also as it is used to recognize high-end flaws and loopholes. As Artificial Intelligence begins to progress, technology experts around the world are finding means to leverage its potential in the software testing field as well. It is merely a matter of sometimes when training apps to be familiar with issues for agile and more efficient testing becomes a reality.

AI is one of the best choices for developers looking for speedy deployments with insufficient infrastructure. It is better to leave the arduous or strenuous work to the Artificial Intelligence-powered automation which leaves only 18-20% of the test work to human ingenious and cognitive ability. It would guarantee more fail-safe results as hand-crafted testing doesn’t just require long human hours but is also susceptible to imprecision’s and inconsistencies. Quite the reverse, Artificial Intelligence bots-based testing requires very less maintenance and is skilled enough to find out new trails through the product on their own. As industries realize the compensation of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, developers are considering it to drive automation, facilitate decision making, and also perk up efficiency in the area of software testing. Machine learning and AI are unquestionably becoming vital components in Quality Assurance and software testing as well. By adding Artificial Intelligence to test creation, execution, and data analysis, expert testers can rapidly identify controls, spot links between defects as well as other components, and eliminate the requirements to continually update test cases by manual means.

Conclusion

The biggest “A-ha!” moment for us is when we realized that the complications we solve with AI are not deterministic. Machine learning gives software testers the opportunity to better understand their client’s needs and respond more rapidly than ever to their changing expectations. Besides, testers now also need to analyze more data and they are given lesser time to do that, while their margin of error and flaws decreases constantly. Tools like machine learning and predictive analytics offer the amazing means to address these challenges, either with in-house well-versed tester’s teams or, turning to QA outsourcing providers. Either way, this approach is set to fill the gaps of traditional techniques of testing and make the whole process effective and relevant to the customer’s needs.

Will CI/CD Change the Testing Scenario Like Agile Did?

We have been seeing a lot of instances in recent times in which the terms Agile, DevOps and CI/CD are used interchangeably. Agility, CI/CD, and DevOps are varied tools, important in its own right and all are used for their intended purposes, plus the outcomes are transformational. Agile, now referred to by some of its manifesto authors as the term agility, is focused on removing process barriers and enabling the key folk like developers and customers, to collaborate more closely on accelerating delivery. Even though agility has come to mean distinct things over the past few decades, its fundamentals remain the same: collaborate closely with customers, remove process barriers, produce working software speedily, and respond to (rather than resist) change. Agile began as a product development innovation as it sparked a corporate approach and process revolution. Agile development laid the logical groundwork for the Lean movement in entrepreneurship, which pushed mainstream business leaders to systematize and manage their business model & product development work around a sequence of experiments, testing significant hypothesis along the way. Agile initially grab attention and turn out popular in the startup world, but soon were embraced by famous business leaders around the world.

Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery
Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery

According to the new study continuous development (generally call CI/CD (continuous integration and deployment) will change the testing world as much as the agile revolution did. But will it? We have a tendency as technical experts to view Agile as an extensive way of talking about our daily standups or SCRUM. However, from the HBR’s point of view, it meant more than that. The claimers say that CI/CD, which they call “continuous development,” will have a great bang and effect, even, and has started in the “bowels of technology companies & startups.” They suggest that only 20% of IT teams are utilizing some form of what they call “continuous development.” Regardless, the also suggest managers to change their mindset and pay attention and find dramatic strategic benefits of successfully implementing Continuous Development: maximize engineering productivity, faster time to market, fix errors quicker and experiment more rapidly.

Maximize engineering productivity- High-quality engineers love continuous delivery environments as they can instantaneously see how their work adds value to the organization.

Faster time-to-market- Customers enjoy the additional advantages of new features sooner. Plus, the developers receive customer feedback on their creative features very rapidly, which leads to better feature that accurately meet client’s needs.

• Run more experiments rapidly- Frequent releases allow companies to constantly experiment with newly added features and test them on various audiences. In few cases, fresh features are deployed in the code and turned off or on for a specific customer segment by using an easy feature flag.

• Fix errors quicker- Because software code is released in small batches, it is simpler to identify the source of any troubles. Even it is also simpler to understand the consequences of an alteration if you’re making lots of simple steps.

So, Continuous Development is a growing buzz in the software industry. For good reason: it signifies the effective method for software development to attain both external and internal objectives. The insight here for business executives is that continuous delivery is more than merely an obscure software development. It represents the significant cultural weapon and competitive advantage in the battle for talent and customer loyalty.

Set Top Box (STB)/or Set Top Unit (STB/STU) Overview

Before starting the introduction of the “Testing” part let’s just understand the basics.

What is a Set Top Box?

A set-top box is a hardware device that receives, decode and display the digital signals on a television. The signal can be a television signal or Internet data and is received by cable or telephone connection. They can have one way which actually means that end user can not interact or modify the channels and two way communications allowing for interactive features like for the end user that they can control or choose what they want on their televisions or whatever type of system they are using.

STB is an device that contains a tuner which connects to a television and takes inputs in signal that can be named as source signal and converts them into a form that they then can be visible on the television or in other words we can say that the set top box is a hardware system that allows a signal to be received, then decoded and then can be visible on a television. The signal type could be a television signal or Internet data and is received by a cable or telephone connection.

There are five types of televisions in India:

  • Broadcast or OTA(Over the Air) Televisions
  • Unencrypted Satellite (Free to air)
  • Direct to home (DTH)
  • Cable television
  • IPTV (Internet Protocol TV)

Today, most of the STB systems are two-way communication, before elaborating two way communication lets understand the one way communication, as the name itself suggests one way which means you can just see whatever is visible on the screen you cannot alter the channels in the television but at the same place in the two way communication the consumer can choose the services or the channels one wants to see.

The set-top boxes can be classified into the following categories:

Cable Converter Box
It can convert any type of channels broadcast from a cable television service into analog radio-frequency signals on a single VHF channel. This box can covert a non cable ready television to cable-ready television. The least number of these cable converter boxes can also de-scramble the signals to manage many channels that are carrier-controlled and access-restricted.

TV Signal Sources
It includes various signal sources:

  • Ethernet cable
  • Satellite dish
  • DSL connections
  • Coaxial cable
  • Broadband over power line
  • VHF or UHF antenna

Professional Set-Top Box
They are also referred to as integrated receiver/ decoders. They are designed especially for robust field handling and rack mounting environments. These are commonly used in the professional broadcast audio or video industry like news channel companies and include a unique feature for producing uncompressed serial digital interface signals.

Hybrid
The hybrid set top boxes came into existence in the late 2000s and became popular among both pay-TV and free-to-air set-top box businesses. These set top boxes provide the usual TV broadcast from cable, satellite and other providers and mix it with the video output provided over a network and personal multimedia content. They give users a variety of viewing content, eliminating the need for having a separate box for each service.

IPTV
These types of set-top boxes are kind of small computers that allow two-way communication that was explained in the second paragraph, it works on an Internet Protocol network and they decode the streaming media video.

STB Architecture

Customer Premises Equipment (CPE)
Set-top box or computer that receives the cable signals coming from the cable modem termination system (CMTS).

Set-Top Box (STB) – There is equipment named as Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) that can access subscription and pay/per View broadcast television services and interactive TV services. Each set-top box is a member of one or more multicast groups in a DSG (DOCSIS Set-top Gate way) network, which allows the STB to receive the OOB (Out of the band data) messages that are needed to receive the programs they are authorized to view.

Point of Deployment (POD) module – Removable security card that is plugged into a STB to uniquely identify and authenticate the STB, which allows the CA (certificate authority) servers to securely identify the set top box and can determine the received programs and services are the one for which the set top box is authorized.

Conditional Access Server –A server systems that encrypt video programs using Conditional Access (CA) techniques which allow only authorized subscribers to decrypt and view the programs.

STB applications
These applications are software programs such as program guides or image organizers that are processed run within the set top box device

  • Application Platforms

The combination of hardware/software and programs that enable the running of other software programs.

  • Resident Applications

These software programs are stored within an STB and are ready to use.

  • Downloadable Applications

These are software programs that can be transferred into an STB.

STB Testing Approaches

  • Functional / Services Testing
  • Signal (Video/Audio) Quality Testing
  • Interface Testing
  • Performance testing