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Cross-App Testing: Securing Complex Business Landscapes

To say that we live in an age of rapid digital transformation is an understatement.

With technological changes not slowing down, enterprises must keep up with the most up-to-date technologies to stay ahead of rising customer expectations.

With an impact on all areas of an organization, from internal processes to customer-facing activities, these changes allow enterprises to streamline their business while improving the customer experience simultaneously. 

Businesses face some risks while adapting and innovating to stay competitive and relevant. Cross-application testing is one of the most important ways to mitigate such risks.

The significance of cross-app testing

Cross-app testing is the process through which organizations ensure that business-critical processes run smoothly. This is achieved by testing all relevant applications’ functionality. 

In today’s digital environment, applications cannot work in isolation, so any change to even one process creates a super complex effect due to dependencies and impact.

Cross-app testing involves a range of tests, including:

  • Functionality: The main purpose of testing across several apps is to ensure that any shared functionality works as expected.
  • Integration: The focus here is to verify that separate apps or components can share data, use services, or otherwise interact in whichever way is required.
  • Usability: When several apps interact, the user experience must remain smooth as they move between various apps.

Complex business landscapes lead to an increasing need for testing inter-dependencies to maintain the reliability and effectiveness of your business’ many processes. It is essential to test all linked applications to secure your business management.

If these tests are not conducted regularly and adequately, process transformations can cause disruptions, leading to lost revenue, customer dissatisfaction, or loss of company reputation. 

Staying ahead of the curve is the only antidote. 

Organizations can identify and resolve issues using the right tools and keep business processes like clockwork.

Steps involved in cross-app testing

While critical to organizations, cross-application testing is complex and requires a detailed plan. 

Cross-app testing has several steps, and it starts by defining the scope and requirements and documenting how one application relies on or integrates with other apps. Then, you can prepare test cases to cover all possible interaction scenarios.

Setting up the test environment can be complex. 

Leaning on your IT testing team is not enough, as you must also consider user acceptance testing (UAT) and the necessary business users you will have to involve across different apps. 

Once you execute the prepared test, whether automated or manual, you will have to handle any errors during the process. 

Debugging involves logging the error to share it with the development team, after which you retest to ensure the process is error free and the changes have impacted no other application areas.

Once the testing has been completed, a report should summarize the entire process, results, and any known issues. This assists in the decision-making process regarding the release of the app. 

It doesn’t end here, however. 

Continuous monitoring is a must to ensure you catch any issues that were not identified during testing.

Remember, the diversity of apps and the continuous release of new versions (some release a new version annually, every six months, or quarterly) renders cross-app testing an ongoing process, which should be incorporated into the regular testing cycles.

Now, let’s talk about different use cases.

Real-world use cases of cross-app testing

The need for cross-application testing is universal. However, the specific use cases can vary across different industries. 

In the manufacturing industry, this could include:

  • Production planning and scheduling: This involves integrating data from several systems, such as an enterprise resource planning system (ERP), a manufacturing execution system, and a quality management system.
  • Supply test management: Coordinating activities across multiple applications and systems, from procurement and transportation to warehouse management.

For large retail companies, there are a range of business-critical processes. Cross-app testing could include:

  • Order fulfillment: Coordinating activities across different systems and applications, such as an e-commerce platform, a warehouse management system, and a shipping and logistics application.
  • Inventory management: Integrating data from several systems, such as an inventory management system, a point-of-sale system (POS), and a customer relationship management system (CRM).

While cross-app testing has numerous benefits, what challenges must you be aware of?

Addressing headwinds in cross-app testing

While this is a crucial step in the software development lifecycle, cross-application testing is not without challenges, which testers and developers need to be aware of to ensure a seamless process.

1. Control 

Cross-app testing involves multiple teams working on different applications. This naturally leads to challenges with ensuring they stick to specific testing standards.

Relying on methods such as Excel spreadsheets to track test cases and results will quickly become impractical and error-prone due to the increased complexity of testing multiple interconnected applications. 

A smart testing platform that allows centralized test management and collaboration is the best way to maintain control and efficiency.

2. Coordinating difficulties

Testing across different applications is only possible with effective coordination among the various teams responsible for individual applications. 

Scheduling testing cycles, resolving dependencies, and communicating effectively are time-consuming. And with so many people involved, it is very easy for misunderstandings to take place. 

Clear communication channels and collaboration tools are vital for an efficient process.

3. Data integration

With data flowing in across multiple applications, ensuring data consistency, accuracy, and relevance for test scenarios is complex. 

Data might need to be migrated and transformed to fit the testing environment, leading to data integrity issues.

4. Complex testing environments

Setting up and maintaining complex testing conditions replicating the production environment with all interconnected applications can be a significant challenge. 

Keeping the environments in sync with production systems and managing configurations requires careful planning and expertise.

5. Limited visibility

Consider this – multiple applications, data flowing in, and monitoring each system’s health. It is not an easy task. 

Add to this the necessity of identifying bottlenecks, pinpointing root causes of issues, and tracking test coverage across multiple applications. All this can become harder due to limited visibility.

6. Time-consuming execution

Cross-app testing involves testing the entire system end-to-end, which is time consuming. 

Test execution times can be significantly longer, including interactions between multiple applications, data exchanges, and validations across the entire workflow.

7. Costly 

Cross-application testing demands more resources in terms of time, human resources, and infrastructure. 

Add to this the cost of setting up test environments, managing data, and maintaining test suites for multiple applications. You will have quite a strain on the organization’s budget, which must be accounted for.

8. Increased risk of failure

With multiple applications interconnected, the risk of failure at any integration point increases. It can lead to a domino effect wherein a problem in one application might affect other connected applications. 

This can lead to widespread failure, making it mission critical to identify and address potential failure points early in the testing process.

To overcome the above challenges, organizations must adopt modern testing practices, leverage test automation to reduce manual effort, and invest in robust testing tools and platforms supporting cross-application testing. 

Adopting continuous testing and integration practices will help identify and fix integration issues early in the development process, reducing the overall risk and cost associated with cross-app testing.

Cross-app testing in action

Looking into the practicalities of cross-application testing, let’s examine major business processes that can benefit from this.

Hire to retire

This refers to the complete lifecycle of an employee’s time at a company, from when they are recruited and hired to when they leave the organization. 

This process typically involves multiple activities and stages, depending on the specific policies and practices of the company. 

Cross-app testing in the context of human resources involves testing various applications, processes, and integrations, including:

HR applications

Testing core HR applications, such as the human resource information system (HRIS), applicant tracking systems, employee onboarding portals, performance management software, learning management systems, and employee self-service portals.

Career management

Career management systems are essential for HR departments to facilitate employee growth and development.

Cross-application testing in this area ensures that career management tools integrate well with other HR applications and deliver valuable insights for talent management.

Salary

Testing salary-related functionalities ensures that payroll and compensation systems accurately calculate employee salaries, bonuses, and benefits. 

This includes verifying sensitive data, including tax deductions, compliance with labor laws, and integrations with financial systems to process salary payments seamlessly.

Integration with other departments

In larger organizations, HR systems often must integrate with other departments such as finance, IT, and operations. 

Testing the integration points between HR and other departments ensures that employee data, financial information, resource allocation, and other critical aspects are synchronized correctly, minimizing data discrepancies and operational disruptions.

Compliance

Cross-application testing in HR ensures compliance with labor laws, regulations, and company policies. 

This includes verifying that the HR applications accurately capture and manage employee data per data protection and privacy regulations. Additionally, it involves testing compliance-related modules, such as leave management, work-hour tracking, and employee records retention.

Testing in the HR domain can be complex due to the sensitivity of employee data. 

Some key points to consider for successful cross-application testing are:

  • Test data privacy: Ensuring test data used during testing does not expose sensitive employee information and complies with data privacy regulations.
  • User acceptance testing (UAT): Involving end-users, such as HR managers and employees, in UAT to validate that the system meets their needs and is easy to use.
  • Test automation: Implementing test automation to increase efficiency, accelerate testing cycles, and ensure consistent test coverage.

Order-to-cash (OTC)

Order-to-cash (OTC) is a business process involving the completion of the sales process, from when an order is placed to the final payment. 

OTC can involve integrating data from various systems or applications to manage the sales transaction process.

Consider this scenario: a customer places an order, trusting your organization will deliver on your promise of goods or services. You are expected to handle their payment and private data carefully. 

Under these circumstances, the OTC process’ reliability and efficacy are critical, as any disruption can lead to a lost sale, customer dissatisfaction, or even damage to your organization’s reputation.

Not only is OTC a central business process, but it also involves multiple sub-processes, including:

  • Sales order management
  • Order fulfillment
  • Billing
  • Credit management
  • Cash collection

With all these processes being an integral part of OTC, simplifying the testing process is undoubtedly challenging, as it involves coordinating multiple departments and applications. 

However, with the right tools and approach, it is possible to streamline this process and ensure the reliability and effectiveness of the changes being made to your OTC cycle.

One such solution is using a single unified testing platform, which allows you to manage all aspects of OTC testing. 

Using a single unified testing platform allows you to:

  • Plan each step of the business process intended to be tested
  • Assign each step to the relevant team, department, or business user
  • Add details about the app being tested, including the transaction, data used, and expected result
  • Automatically document each step, regardless of the application being tested, such as ERP platforms, e-commerce platforms CRM platforms, and WMS platforms
  • Open collaboration channels between all users involved in the testing process to ensure things move forward optimally
  • Monitor the testing process and address any bottlenecks in real time

Simplifying your cross-app testing process

Any organization relies on a maze of complex business processes, which require the right tools.

It is, therefore, essential to select a testing tool that aligns with how the individual organization operates and can support the testing of end-to-end business processes. This will, in turn, reduce risks and optimize resources simultaneously.

Organizations face several risks if cross-app testing is not handled optimally. 

The most obvious risk is loss of profit. Errors resulting from inadequate cross-application testing can decrease productivity and increase operational costs, leading to a profit loss.

A risk that is more difficult to recover from is the loss of reputation both with customers and vendors. 

In today’s competitive business landscape, customers expect seamless and reliable services. Vendors expect seamless business processes. Suppose there is a breakdown at any stage of the multiple processes involved. In that case, it can result in dissatisfied employees, negative reviews, and a damaged reputation among current and potential customers and vendors.

What a smart test management platform can do for you

There is great value in incorporating a smart test management platform into the complex and lengthy testing processes. The purpose of this tool is to decrease risk and accelerate the process.

There are significant advantages:

  • One platform: You can orchestrate and streamline all test management activities in one unified platform.
  • Zero risk: Eliminate risk with AI-powered analysis tools to know exactly what to test and, equally important, what not to test without compromising quality.
  • Automate to accelerate: Accelerate your testing process and save resources with no-code test automation tools.
  • Business-centric: Boost UAT by mirroring end-to-end scenarios in a collaborative testing workflow.
  • Simply SaaS: Deploy in minutes and onboard in hours.
  • Actionable insights: Get real-time visibility and smart insights so you can make informed decisions.

Staying completely compliant!

It is also vital to ensure that your business-critical processes are maintained and protected for compliance reasons. Cross-app testing is essential for compliance with various labor laws, data protection regulations, and industry standards. 

Failure to ensure compliance with these regulations can result in legal penalties, fines, and even legal actions against the organization. Moreover, non-compliance can damage the organization’s reputation, indicating a lack of integrity and professionalism.

Cross-app testing is essential for the smooth operation of any modern organization. 

It ensures that the multiple complex processes on which businesses rely remain secure and operate smoothly. It allows you to identify and resolve any risks, issues, or bottlenecks, coordinating these activities across the various teams and departments to keep your business running smoothly and thriving.

Quality assurance (QA) testing is an integral part of any software development process. Learn what it is and how it is different from test automation.