It should have come as no surprise to any Fortune 500 CEO when Herbert Diess was fired in July from his position as CEO of Volkswagen. According to press reports, the buggy software was one of the main reasons the board chose to replace it. VW’s software unit, Cariad, was unable to produce working software, which delayed the planned launch of new Porsches, Audis and Bentleys.
CEOs know that poor quality software could cost them their jobs. A recent Jump Survey showed that 95% of CEOs would fear for their job security in the event of a software failure. More than three-quarters (77%) say software failures have damaged their company’s reputation in the past five years.
And yet, despite this fear, 85% of CEOs believe it’s okay to release software that hasn’t been tested enough, as long as it’s tested by patches. Unsurprisingly, when testers were polled, they said that about four out of 10 software releases failed to test properly.
So, although the C suite is unfamiliar with software testing processes, it is very familiar with the fallout when things go wrong. Software failures destroy company revenue and reputation, and can even put lives at risk.
Failure and fallout
VW is far from the only company to suffer from software failures. Facebook outage in October – one of the worst it has seen in the past decade – resulted in a 5% drop in the share price and a loss of billions in its market capitalization value. The company said the cause was a bug in software that was supposed to identify and prevent issuing commands that could accidentally take systems offline.
In 2018, a failed test before the migration of a key UK bank TSB data center left millions of customers locked out of their accounts and unable to access funds at ATMs. The outage cost the bank several hundred million pounds in fees, enraged millions of customers and ultimately resulted in the ousting of the company’s CEO.
All of this begs the question of whether CEOs know the dangers and fallout of inadequate software testing – and according to the survey, the vast majority have experimented the painful consequences – why do these software failures keep happening? Why is so much software released without being properly tested?
The answer can largely be summed up in one sentence: manual testing.
A manual problem
Nearly four in 10 CEOs say their reliance on manual testing slows development to the point that software is released without enough testing. When testers were asked about the prevalence of manual testing, only 43% said they use some automation, meaning well over half (57%) rely entirely on manual testing.
Manual testing is a problem because it consumes so many resources and time that it introduces unsustainable delays. As a result, organizations are forced to make dire choices: cut corners, fail to test all of their software appropriately, delay release until testing can be done, and potentially miss the market window. lose momentum and share with competitors who released their products earlier.
The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated this problem as it has spurred a rapid increase in the use of digital platforms, accelerating the need for digital transformation. This trend put tremendous pressure on IT departments as teams needed to find a way to scale and deliver the digital services customers needed with minimal resources.
These resources have been stretched further by the “Great Resignation” as many people reconsider their career options after two years of COVID-related uncertainty and upheaval. In July 2022, the unemployment rate in the United States fell to 3.5%, matching a five-decade low and signaling a huge need for new hires.
Skills and scale
Highly skilled employees are in high demand, giving software developers and testers plenty of options to find better-paying work that better meets their career goals. As a result, IT and software development teams often find themselves understaffed and struggling to deliver high-quality software at a pace that meets demand.
The hoped-for solution to these problems has been test automation. This offers a way to reduce manual involvement, test larger volumes, remove the risk of human error, and increase time to market tenfold for a serious competitive advantage.
Yet even organizations that have deployed automated testing have discovered that a big problem remains. They cannot easily scale these solutions because pro-level coding skills are always required. Even though they are marketed as “low-code”, they are still far too complex for professional users. Even testers usually don’t have the coding skills to set up tests on their own.
As a result, coding skills remain a resource bottleneck that slows down the testing process and limits collaboration with business users. Additionally, as automated testing becomes more prevalent throughout the organization, the maintenance workload increases. All those test engineers that an organization has hired to implement an automation framework are increasingly spending their time maintaining code instead of building bigger, smarter test scopes. Scaling becomes impossible.
Code or not?
To overcome this bottleneck and enable collaboration with business users, development groups need not only test automation, but also true no-code test platforms. It democratizes testing when tests can be designed, executed, and maintained by testers and business users without requiring coding assistance. It also allows people closest to the relevant business processes to contribute, improving the quality and functionality of the software.
The combination of no code and automation provides greater test coverage in less time. It overcomes scaling issues and the coding skill bottleneck by allowing non-developers to configure, run, and even maintain test frameworks.
This way, organizations can reduce the risk of releasing or deploying buggy software that fails. This is a proven approach to increasing time to market tenfold, offering many benefits. This, of course, includes the happy side effect of dramatically improving a CEO’s job security.
There is no doubt that an increasingly digital economy requires digital solutions. By automating software testing, companies will solve a major challenge and be armed with the tools to drive growth today and tomorrow..