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Top Takeaway from Quest 2019: You Need Fast, Secure Data for Continuous Testing

The topic du jour for the QA and testing community at the 2019 Quest conference was all about the importance of effective software testing throughout the development cycle.
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Last month, IT professionals and thought leaders from across the globe gathered together at this year’s Quality Engineered Software and Testing (QUEST) conference in Chicago to learn about how to better build, test, and deliver quality software. Across the many sessions and conversations I had during the weeklong event, the topic du jour for the QA and testing community was all about the importance of effective software testing throughout the development cycle in order to achieve business success.

In one of the first keynote sessions, Jason Huggins, founder and CEO of Tapster, explained how organizations still treat software testing as an afterthought — it only becomes a priority after a bug causes an outage and puts the company on the front page of the newspaper for all the wrong reasons. The role of automated software testing is essential to saving companies from revenue loss and reputation damage, which could be caused by a security vulnerability.  

Any enterprise developing software, whether it’s their core business or not, needs to consider testing as a key strategic part of the development process. Fortunately, many companies today are abandoning the Waterfall approach in order to integrate testing throughout the development process because they understand the value of finding and fixing software defects early and often throughout the dev cycle. 

That method is referred to as continuous testing, and it’s emerged as a best practice for integrating testing throughout the development lifecycle. By 2020, Gartner predicts DevOps initiatives will cause 50 percent of enterprises to implement continuous testing using frameworks and open source tools. 

Continuous testing relies on technology, such as Jenkins, to check in source code, run tests in parallel, and notify developers when the build is rejected. It aligns software quality assurance with business expectations by prioritizing actionable items to focus efforts on tasks that have the greatest impact on business goals and priorities.  

But continuous testing needs fast access to accurate, production-quality data. If testers are working with old data or it takes days or even weeks to refresh data, then continuous testing has a much lower impact on accelerating development cycles and reducing software defects.

It was clear from conversations with QUEST attendees that QA testers need self-service access to data refreshes in minutes and the ability to spin up personal data environments with the most up-to-date data at anytime. Developers and testers want have control over bookmarking, rewinding, branching, and sharing their data environments.

Otherwise, long refresh times impact QA, consumes more resources, and causes significant delays - ultimately inhibiting the pace of innovation. The secret to success is empowering QA teams to provision the environments they need, on-demand. In a world where businesses survive on the basis of application-driven innovation, companies must deliver rapidly high-quality software or be at risk of getting left behind. 

Download our Test Data Management Checklist to discover real world examples of how enterprise companies provide production-quality data and reduce data-related defects throughout their development lifecycle.