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Tech Mahindra’s ATA Tackles the Challenges of Model-Based Testing

 

Tech Mahindra recently briefed NelsonHall on its new model-based testing (MBT) offering, Automated Test Assurance (ATA). To date, enterprises have shown interest in MBT technology, but take up has been low, partly because they had already invested in creating test cases and test scripts and were reluctant to make a further investment in creating a new a set of process models/diagrams. Also, the expertise and time needed to create these models make it an expensive activity.

However, Tech Mahindra argues that with ATA it has an offering that overcomes these challenges through easier creation of models/diagrams and some reuse of existing test artefacts.

Easier creation of models/diagrams

ATA relies on software products by ISVs such as Conformiq and CA (Agile Requirement Designer). Tech Mahindra argues that creating models based on these software tools is easier and faster than in the past, and therefore reduces the initial investment. The company estimates that the creation of basic models can be done in just three to four days, with more complicated ones taking up to two weeks.

Once the model is created, ATA relies on a standard MBT approach, with automated creation of test cases, and test scripts. Test execution can be done using a range of tools, including HP/Micro Focus UFT and Selenium, or manually, through the creation of test cases. A benefit of this approach is traceability, with the testing lifecycle now automated and documented.

Furthermore, the impact of MBT, and ATA, goes beyond creating a new type of artefact: the model/diagram becomes the primary test artefact. Any changes in client requirements need to be created at the diagram level, rather than in resulting test cases and scripts. The impact in terms of skills required for functional testing is therefore considerable, with less need for manual testing capabilities, also for test execution automation engineers.

Reuse of existing test cases & scripts

ATA also aims to address another factor that has inhibited enterprises’ adoption of MBT in that it reuses existing test case and test script assets. With ATA, Tech Mahindra believes it can reverse engineer the majority ofclients’ test cases and scripts and create models/diagrams. The approach works well, as long as the source artifact relied on standard approaches and tools. Test case reverse engineering is also possible for test cases based on standard languages, e.g. BDD’s Gherkin. Nevertheless, the reverse engineering approach should be considered as an accelerator rather than a 100% reliable automation tool.

Early client adoption is promising

Tech Mahindra has seen immediate client interest in ATA: it already has 20 accounts considering ATA, plus four projects underway. Sectors showing interest include communications, banking, and automotive.

One example is a test script migration for a large communication service provider looking to move away from HP QTP/UFT and adopt Selenium. This is a new trend: in the past, there was little major migration activity from HP/Micro Focus in functional testing. With its ATA offering, Tech Mahindra is targeting large estates of test cases and test scripts, where the high volumes of artefacts create a strong business case.

To facilitate the adoption of ATA, Tech Mahindra has created a repository of business models relevant to the banking industry for their core banking applications based on Temenos T 24. This repository of models is a starting point for adapting to the specificity of the client’s business processes.

Tech Mahindra highlights that it will be considering all industries with standard business processes. With this in mind, we think the telecom service provider industry (a sector that accounts for almost 50% of Tech Mahindra’s revenues) is a next step. SAP and Oracle are probably in line too, including Oracle’s Flexcube.

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