Announcements and Technical Advice for the Oracle
Utilities product community from the Product Management team

  • November 26, 2019

Business Process Based Testing

Anthony Shorten
Senior Principal Product Manager

Over the last 30 years of my career, I have been involved in lots of projects and across many industries. Over that time I have developed a set of techniques and principles that I tend to reuse over and over to help stay successful. Every opportunity I can, I strive to learn more and hone those skills as an effort of constant improvement. I learnt very early on in my career, thanks to a collection of great mentors, that locking down on some fundamental principles will always steer me away from making wrong decisions. Though one of my mentors once commented "I have learn so much from my mistakes I look forward to making more mistakes in the future".

One of the fundamental principles I have been working with the last few years is around testing. As the late Stephen R Covey once stated, taking an idea and boiling it down to its fundamental base principles allows you to understand that idea and also come up with successful approaches to that idea (I am paraphrasing him). Working with the Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator over the last few years, I have an opportunity to focus on the fundamentals of testing.

I work with this fundamental testing principle:

"Testing is verifying that your business process will work (or not work) with your configuration and extensions of the product with your data".

This recognizes that implementing a product is about automation of process. In the days before computers (yes I am that old), a lot of that was paperwork. Computers, when they arrived, automated paperwork. Now once you understand that your product should represent your business process, test automation needs to verify that process works (or not) using various data scenarios.

Once you understand that test automation must represent your business process, a few interesting possibilities are possible with this style of testing:

  • A Working Business Process. Obviously the most important part of the strategy is that your business processes are proven to work with your data. This is the primary focus of business process type of testing tools.
  • Timings of Business Process. How long it takes to complete a business process becomes important. This can translate to call times and the number of staff you need to complete an expected volume in a specified time. By modelling and testing your business process, you can see which components of that process take what time. This allows optimizations and experimentation around "what ifs" for changes to the process to optimize this. This is especially important in the cloud to ensure you have purchased enough capacity. This is very achievable in the Oracle Utilities SaaS cloud with the provision of production sized testing environments as part of the service.
  • Migration to Base Technology. Extensions typically address changes from a base product for implementing a business process. Over time, products are enhanced and may actually support what you implemented in an extension originally or even get close to what you need (with some business process changes). Using the base reduces risk and costs and using an automation tool to see where extensions can be replaced with base functionality can be explored using business process tools. By carefully substituting base components where extensions have been used can assess whether moving to base for that situation is possible.
  • Risk Assessment for Change. One of the most innovating ways of using a business process testing platform is to assess the impact of any business process for any change. That change may be a single patch, patch sets, extension releases or upgrades. You can quickly run your business processes after a change is implemented to assess the impact of that change to your business processes.
  • Implementing Blue/Green Testing. One of the big advantages of the cloud has been the opportunity of implementing blue/green style deployment testing to keep up to date with regular changes. Whilst this seems to be exclusive to the cloud, due to the advantages of that platform in terms of readiness of infrastructure, partners have started implementing this on-premise to prepare business for rapid change and also take advantage of new functionality in newer versions.

The list above are just some of the key advantages of a business process testing approach rather than a more traditional automation that supports spot testing. Saving costs and reducing risk in testing means you can test more and be more confident that what you have implemented will ultimately implement your business processes.

The Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator is a business process testing tool optimized for Oracle Utilities products on-premise and in the Oracle Cloud. It was based upon the popular Oracle Application Testing Suite that was implemented in 1000's of eBusiness Suite customers to save up to 90% of testing costs and significant reduction of risks. For more information about Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator, refer to Oracle Utilities Testing Accelerator Overview (Doc Id: 2014163.1) available from My Oracle Support.

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