Can Salesforce IoT Cloud Fill the Customer Experience Gap?

With the onset of the pandemic, organizations worldwide fast-tracked their digital transformation endeavors overhauling their internal tech stack and data capabilities. An immediate need to move physical operations online largely propelled the process. From closing sales deals over business dinners, we had quickly moved to engaging with clients in digital spaces. Among the many challenges the pandemic ushered in, the one that daunted every organization was ensuring a stellar customer experience against all odds.

Salesforce known for its cutting-edge solutions has been consistently deploying emerging innovative technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) to empower them. IoT is driving business growth by enabling real-time management of critical systems across industries. It comes as no surprise that the global IoT cloud platform market is all set to cross USD 5262.7 million by 2025.

The high demand for automation across sectors has contributed to the growth of the IoT-connected machines market. By 2027, the global IoT connected machines market is predicted to touch USD 1.3 trillion with North America holding a dominant position with its 2019 revenues standing at USD 91 billion.

Salesforce is helping enterprises combat modern challenges in a digital-first selling world with solutions that can help them soar and serve their customers better.

Explains Warren Wick, EVP AMER Commercial Sales and Chief Revenue Officer, Sales Cloud, “Over the past year, we held more than six million calls with customers to understand what they needed to be successful as they worked to transform their business with more urgency than ever before. We’ve reimagined Sales Cloud to guide every company as they rethink the digital sales experience, from leads to coaching to processing revenue.”

Enterprises are now generating 21% more sales leads every day in 2021 as compared to the previous year thanks to Salesforce. There are several success stories to tell when it comes to Salesforce and the many organizations it has been helping worldwide to drive growth and offer a better customer experience. With IoT Cloud, Salesforce is also helping them bridge the customer experience gap. We will tell you how.

The IoT edge from Salesforce

IoT is an ecosystem; one where physical objects are connected across geographies through an IP address that connects them via the Internet. The devices connect, communicate, and help users come up with real-time insights and analytics to improve business outcomes. Salesforce has been offering IoT services through Salesforce IoT Cloud, Salesforce IoT explorer, and Salesforce Einstein services, to facilitate data collection and analysis.

As per a survey conducted by Forbes Insights in collaboration with Intel involving 700 executives from diverse industries, it was observed that practically all the industries had witnessed significant improvements in several areas including customer experience.

Salesforce IoT Cloud connects devices, apps, sensors, software, etc. to collect contextual data and give a better understanding of the customer journey. This enables enterprises to engage with customers and help them better with proactive customer support. While many have been investing in IoT adoption, their success rate varies greatly. But those who have leveraged the Salesforce platform have been able to integrate the data obtained from IoT into their CRM systems to reimagine the way they serve, sell, and promote. Most importantly, it has helped them take a step further towards their customers closing the experience gap in the most meaningful manner.

Customer experience has always been looked upon as a critical factor for enhancing customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and revenues. Salesforce understands this well and offers a world of benefits to its users. The top ones include:

Seamless connectivity between devices and users

The profiles of customers are linked to the devices they use and this creates seamless connectivity to streamline operations and respond to events in real time. Tesla’s self-driving cars are a classic case in point and set an example as to how much you can achieve with IoT.

General Motors with its crisis assistance services came as a savior during hurricane Dorian wherein it could help those trying to escape the hurricane with real-time direction, free calls, routing to shelter and basic amenities, an in-vehicle WiFi hotspot, and much more.

Real-time analysis based on context

Without customer context, it would be impossible to analyze past behaviors and take remedial action in real time. Machine learning plays a big role in providing it. Data collected from diverse locations and devices give a realistic picture of what’s happening and where taking into account customer history, service history, and location.

Opportunities to serve better

With so much information at hand, you get to know exactly how the products are performing, whether they are due for maintenance, are there any new updates, is the warranty about to expire, etc. Salesforce IoT Cloud helps you manage all of this with the help of predefined rules that are orchestrated based on performance metrics.

The Sales and Support teams are instantly notified if the product fails to perform as per the expected standard. This kind of data helps in predicting behaviors while providing opportunities to enhance customer retention.

Offers a low-code, user-friendly platform

The fact that Salesforce employs low-code ensures that enterprises don’t have to recruit dedicated staff or a data scientist to manage IoT-related processes. A few clicks and you get all the information you need.

With the right triggers and responses in place, IoT takes away the stress and sends data to relevant platforms. A simple act like generating a lead form for a customer whose product is about to fail can have a positive impact on the customer experience while ensuring a substantial reduction in costs.

A win-win for all

A proactive approach strengthened by the extraordinary capabilities of Salesforce IoT Cloud enables you to understand your customers and engage with them in more meaningful ways. Salesforce allows you to export your IoT data in whichever format you want. It is easy to integrate into diverse business environments and there are multiple use cases that are currently being powered by IoT.

Salesforce Einstein with the help of AI technologies helps teams across departments like sales, marketing, and IT become more predictive and proactive when it comes to offering a stellar customer experience. Salesforce IoT Cloud empowers enterprises with IoT-driven tools and data-driven solutions to build trust and fill the customer service gap efficiently.

As Victor Abelairas, GM of Tridium Innovation at Honeywell Connected Enterprise explains, “Our sellers were able to continue their sales process virtually without skipping a beat. But more importantly, we were able to empower the rest of the company to stay engaged with the sales team and know what was happening with customers at all times, without having the day-to-day interaction in the office that they were used to. At the end of the day, we want to provide a better customer experience by understanding our customers more holistically than we would have otherwise.”

Deliver a better customer experience with Trigent

Our team of Salesforce consultants can help you integrate Salesforce IoT Cloud within your business environment to help you respond faster and serve better.

They understand exactly what it takes to enhance productivity and improve revenues. They can help you understand the many nuances of Salesforce IoT Cloud right from IoT implementation to customization to create engaging customer experiences.

Call us today to book a consultation and discover infinite possibilities with Salesforce IoT Cloud adoption.

Salesforce Data Migration Best Practices

Salesforce, a leading cloud application provider, boasts of a $2-billion annualized run rate with its steadily growing industry-cloud revenue. If you are on the verge of building your digital future with Salesforce data migration, you must know that you need to prepare for it. Yes, it may be one of the best decisions you ever made, and the whole migration thing may seem like a cakewalk, but not without unless you are ready for a bit of groundwork and planning.

Data migration as part of a Salesforce project is critical as you can’t afford to lose any data. Besides, it is a one-time activity that could cascade into a nightmare if things go wrong. Not to forget the perennial risk of jeopardizing sensitive customer data, which you simply cannot afford at any cost.

The right way to Salesforce data migration is therefore getting it right the very first time. Having said that, data migration is a huge market, and the global market size is expected to touch $10.98 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 18.37% from 2020-2025.

According to the Lemongrass 2021 Legacy-to-Cloud Survey, 40 percent of companies are moving legacy systems to the cloud for the sake of securing their data despite the challenges that cloud migration and adoption may bring along. Twenty-seven percent have cited savings as their primary motivation for migration, while 11 percent wanted to migrate for the sake of maintaining data access.

No matter what your reason is, Salesforce data migration is a big decision, and you must put some serious effort into planning for it. We have a few pointers in place, though, to help you through it. Read on.

The initial prep work

We urge you to go through the steps mentioned below to get acquainted with the process and address the critical areas for successful Salesforce data migration.

  • Divide your work – There will be multiple service areas, and it’s a good idea to dedicate a fair amount of time to each one. So if you decide to allocate about two weeks to each one and you have six areas to consider, you can expect it to be a 3-month long project. While this is just an example, and the actual timelines may hugely vary, having a timeline always helps stay within your budgets and manage expectations from different areas well.
  • Know what’s in store in AppExchange – The AppExchange is replete with tools, add-ins, and apps that can help you with different tasks such as data cleaning, data imports, data validation, etc. There is a solution for literally every need; all you need to do is explore and choose the ones that best match your requirements.
  • Streamline your data model – An organization evolves continuously, and your new data model should reflect its journey leaving no room for unnecessary custom objects, entities, and other things that now serve no purpose. It makes no sense in migrating data that is redundant or of little value.
  • Review the process at different junctures – Now that you have a timeline in place, would it not be better if you keep checking how far you have come and if there is a better way to do things? The very principle of the agile framework is reviews that can lead to adaptations or improvisations for better results. For this reason, too, you must know the many tools available to you to reduce manual work and speed up the process.
  • Just name it – ‘What’s in a name’ you would say, and we say ‘everything’! Although old fields will get migrated, the naming convention may have changed, and the field names could now be stored in lower case instead of upper case, and so on. Make sure you have a clear API naming convention since data analysts will need them all the time, and having a straightforward naming convention makes their work so much easier. You need to do this early on since these names cannot be changed once they are assigned to workflows and process automation.
  • Get a feel of the new system – You need to be familiar with different fields. You need to understand the relationships between domains, formula fields, workflows, etc. Understand the core of the new model and see how other fields relate to one another.
  • Small things matter – The format you choose to upsert date fields, the monitoring of email addresses during migration, merging duplicates are all essential tasks. An email is an important form of communication, and you certainly would not want to mess it up by having two login credentials for one contact. These can create unnecessary clutter and lead to a humongous waste of time.
  • Remember the lessons – Knowing where you go wrong in the migration process is important, and you might as well document it for future course correction. You need to set milestones to measure your success frequently.

A few things to remember

In case of data migration from one Salesforce instance to another, you might as well want to retain a couple of licenses of the old instances just in case you encounter a problem with the new one. The old instance can help investigate issues and ensure that the record ownership is assigned correctly in the new system.

Also, monitor the amount of space you are consuming during migration so that you have enough time at hand to purchase additional space.

It is crucial to keep users and team members in the loop. They should be informed about the cut-off date, and there should be a team of pilot users ready to test over during the weekend when major data migration is underway. Developers would also prefer to know things in advance so that they are prepared to test before you decide to roll out the instance.

There are times when the data loader executes without any errors, but that doesn’t mean it is entirely devoid of hiccups in the long run. You may want to consider getting sanity testing from Salesforce so that you know all types of users will get the same flawless experience after the migration.

Last but not least, don’t forget to disable active workflows and triggers. Imagine how embarrassing it would be if incorrect emails got sent to thousands of customers simply because you forgot to disable the active workflows that sent them?

And a few bumps in the road…

Data is the driving factor for any business, and it must remain untarnished during migration. There can be situations wherein the data quality post-migration is not satisfactory, or there is a mismatch between migrated data and data on legacy applications. These situations can be avoided with proper planning, paying attention to changes in data types, and using correct formats for data storage.

In rare situations, there can be a possibility of data loss too during migration in the case of mandatory or non-mandatory fields. Data for non-mandatory fields can still be recovered and updated, but data recovery for mandatory fields may be impossible unless retrieved from backup database or audit logs.

You need to factor in the downtime window, too, in case of high data volumes. All in all, there can be a few unpleasant bumps that you need to tide over with the right preparation and migration strategies. Standardizing data used in a legacy system, cleaning the data before migration, and rechecking constraints, procedures, and complex queries can help you transition to the new system smoothly in no time.

Accelerate your business value with Trigent

We at Trigent enable you to adopt digital solutions and build the right customer engagement models to help you achieve better business outcomes and enhance user experience. We have the expertise and experience to partner with you to successfully implement and integrate Salesforce offerings at your enterprise successfully. What we promise is high returns on your Salesforce investments.


Call us today for a business consultation.

Improve Patient Experience with Salesforce Health Cloud

The modern healthcare systems are undergoing a period of transition migrating from reactive to proactive models. Just like other sectors, the healthcare sector has also become equally demanding and patients are no longer hesitating to switch to better healthcare systems if their expectations are not met.

As the leading CRM solution in the world, Salesforce offers cloud solutions for several industries including healthcare to manage diverse needs. It’s patient management system Salesforce Health Cloud has seen a huge demand and healthcare adoption has grown by about 35% since 2018. Salesforce helps organizations drive cost efficiencies, develop intelligent enterprises, manage customer relationships, and build resilient business models.

It helps healthcare organizations address challenges pertaining to patient experience too. In fact, 69% of respondents who participated in a survey conducted by the Baltimore-based firm Sage Growth Partners (SGP) have cited improving healthcare consumer experience as their first or second top strategic priority.

A recent research report confirms two-thirds of patients are likely to switch to a better health system if their expectations are not met while organizations that are willing to improve the patient experience have the potential to increase their revenues by 5% to 10% pre-COVID levels in just 12 months. The good part is that they are now more eager than ever to embrace technology with 74% of patients now likely to use online chat or texting for providing check-in information before an appointment.

Especially since patients experience disjointed services as stakeholders continue to use data from multiple sources, Salesforce provides a common platform to integrate the experience at various junctures of their healthcare journey. The focus is now on providing value-based holistic care to ensure a satisfactory patient experience.

While empowering with technologies and solutions, Salesforce is now helping the healthcare industry evolve to improve patient satisfaction and deliver high-quality patient care.

Salesforce health cloud, patient experience and the evolving healthcare landscape

McKinsey & Company iterates, “Companies that can learn to understand, guide, and engage healthcare consumers, while inspiring their loyalty, have a significant opportunity to change the healthcare landscape.

Consumers of healthcare know what they want and now actively participate in the decision-making process. It’s time you moved beyond patient engagement and focus on giving them better experiences to ensure strong clinical outcomes. Just like banking, the modern healthcare system too needs to have table stake capabilities that can positively transform patient experiences.

Patients today want personalization and convenience and the agility that comes with Salesforce Health Cloud. Gartner predicts 70% of customer interactions will involve emerging technologies such as machine learning applications, chatbots, and mobile messaging by 2022.

It all boils down to how attentive you are to the elderly? How easily are they able to access their health records?

While some consumers may undermine the importance of maintaining electronic health records, others may not even have access to a computer or fast Internet speed.

And that’s not all; there are issues that plague healthcare workers too. They go through frequent burnouts and find themselves struggling on several fronts to be able to deliver the kind of patient experience patients rightfully deserve.

What we need to understand is that customer service is not just a department but an approach that needs to be followed by the entire organization at all times. Salesforce Health Cloud is equipped to handle all these challenges and more. It offers opportunities to healthcare organizations to embark on an exciting future of care delivery providing new avenues for improving patient experience.

So let’s look at the top benefits.

Centralized data on health cloud

With a centralized data storage space, Salesforce Health Cloud enables the monitoring of medical services using data analytics tools.

Says Don Scheibenreif, Distinguished Vice President Analyst, Gartner, “Monitoring event streams helps organizations stay aware of the current context and thereby make more intelligent decisions. More intelligent decisions translate into better customer service and greater success for the business.”

Healthcare organizations that rely on research and clinical practices can hugely benefit from data centralization be it for accessing patient records or for compiling statistical data. Whatever they need they can access from their mobile phones or other devices in real-time. As the focus shifts from merely maintaining records to building meaningful relationships, Health Cloud helps you put patients at the core of the ecosystem.

Better outcomes with health literacy

Patients can now be treated speedily since services can be delivered almost immediately without wasting too much time on observing protocols. Patients can even avoid hospitalization by educating themselves about their condition, diagnosis, symptoms, patterns, and treatments. They can contact healthcare professionals as needed and access the right care plans to get on the track to recovery.

Salesforce Health Cloud offers a detailed view of the patient journey through individual patient profiles that combine data from electronic health records (EHR) as well as third-party data from medical devices. This helps in assessing patient condition, reviewing medications, and managing appointments with ease.

Personalization and remote care

Care providers can find complete data in one place to make quick decisions. Salesforce has been extensively using Artificial Intelligence tools to facilitate fast decision-making and empower them to take a proactive approach towards healthcare. It enables patient segmentation to manage patient populations and gives you the ability to personalize care and schedule regular check-ins via messages.

Salesforce not only helps curtail costs but also reduces patient risks. As Tuan Phan, founder of cybersecurity company Zero Friction and a member of the ISACA Emerging Trends Working Group explains, “Metadata may indicate that the patient’s condition is deteriorating, allowing medical professionals to take action earlier, in turn driving lower risk to the patient and lower costs to the hospital.”

Empowerment through collaboration

Care teams can connect and collaborate through Salesforce Health Cloud. Everything from case management and tracking to care plan management and follow-ups is taken care of. The best part is you can integrate Health Cloud with legacy tools, operating procedures, and the existing software infrastructure.

With teamwork solutions, workforce administration tools, advanced technologies, and much more, it aids seamless collaboration between care teams and patients. In a day and age where 84% of consumers under 40 wish to engage with technologically advanced and electronically communicative medical organizations, Salesforce is uniquely positioned to close the gap between interactions and outcomes.

Salesforce Health Cloud offers countless applications to address the growing needs of consumers as well as health organizations. These applications can help you boost revenue, lower costs, enhance care coordination and access, drive engagement, and improve outcomes and experience.

Transform patient experience with Trigent

Trust Trigent to enable care coordination of patients in a digital world where connected healthcare continues to transform patient care. At Trigent, we help you get your Salesforce implementations right the very first time thanks to our decades of experience. Our team of Salesforce specialists will help you leverage Health Cloud perfectly to overcome barriers and improve the overall patient experience.

Count on us for everything from Salesforce implementation to seamless integration. Call us today for a business consultation.

Steps to Achieve EHR/EMR Interoperability to Put Patient at the Center of Healthcare

The US healthcare system has been battling quite a few challenges as they continue to track outbreaks, and stay abreast of the latest developments on vaccines and the spread of the disease. But what became glaringly evident during the pandemic was the lack of EHR/EMR interoperability that made sifting through patient information and providing seamless quality care pretty difficult. Although the federal government pumped in billions of dollars to accelerate the adoption of electronic health records, we are still far away from rising to the information challenges clinicians are facing on a day-to-day basis.

A classic case in point – California! It went through public health crises in 2020 as the state with the second-highest number of COVID-19 cases, pinning its hopes on a robust health data exchange. As Claudia Williams, CEO of Manifest MedEx (MX) points out, “Smaller practices don’t know what kind of hospital care the patient received, they don’t know what drugs the patient is on, and they don’t have the tools to conduct that level of risk stratification.”

The Department of Health and Humans Services (HHS) recently published its 2020-2025 Federal Health IT Strategic Plan based on recommendations from more than 25 federal organizations.

Quality of data, user interfaces, and usability concerns, along with the inability of data to adequately support discovery and interoperability among systems – all underline the need to have better EHR/EMR interoperability to put patients at the heart of healthcare.

It’s time we dive deeper into the challenges stakeholders are facing as they proceed towards achieving EHR/EMR interoperability and how we can work towards making it a reality.

EHR and EMR: The fundamental difference

An electronic health record (EHR) is an electronic version of a patient’s medical history that includes test results, present illness and its history, progress notes, immunization, medications, etc. Often confused with an electronic medical record (EMR), an EHR is much broader in scope and offers a comprehensive view of the patient’s health. An EMR also contains medical history along with a treatment plan but it’s often pertaining to one practice and the details will therefore stay with that particular physician or provider and is never really shared when the patient moves on to another physician or provider.

The fact that EHR travels with the patient wherever they go, it gets shared with other physicians and providers helping them make informed decisions. EHR helps maintain continuity of medical care even when patients are moved to a different facility.

But in a complex healthcare environment, EHR integrations are not so easy. EHR solutions used by different medical facilities can differ in features, capabilities, workflows, and infrastructure requirements. Seamless sharing of information will therefore be possible only when we introduce interoperability into the system. This would require stakeholders to tide over the many challenges in attaining healthcare data interoperability.

The top ones include:

  • Absence of a unique patient identifier – Absolutely no or minimum standardization for identifying patients makes data exchange between EMR and EHR extremely tedious.
  • Lack of standardized data – With different standard formats for collating data, the information exchanged varies in format. This poses a barrier to analyzing, storing, and exchanging data seamlessly.
  • Slow FHIR adoption – The use of Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) is recommended since it describes data formats and APIs for health record exchange and integrates the best of HL7, v2, HL7v3, and CDA while leveraging the best of web service technologies. It provides agility, efficiency, and security to data exchange with perfect standardization of data. The adoption of FHIR application programming interfaces (APIs) has a long way to go before it touches the finish line. While FHIR apps do extract data, they lack the ability to write data back.
  • Data privacy and security issues – Healthcare compliances such as HIPAA can impose limitations on how stakeholders share and exchange data amongst each other and third-party vendors.
  • The relatively high cost of integration – Traditional models can be a tad out of reach of small and mid-sized organizations from a cost perspective.

Interoperability for patient-centric care

Interoperability allows patients to be informed all the time irrespective of which vendor they choose. It ensures:

  • Better patient health outcomes
  • Better quality of care
  • Lower healthcare costs
  • Tailored treatments based on individual history and preferences
  • Greater patient engagement
  • Reduced ambiguity
  • Data devoid of redundancies

Interoperability initiatives should be patient-centric and revolve around improving patient care. The chief objective should be to safely and securely exchange patient information across the healthcare ecosystem where interoperability serves as the linchpin.

As Dr. Farzad Mostashari, the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services iterates, “(the agency wants to ensure that) information follows the patient regardless of geographic, organizational, or vendor boundaries.”
A CHIME KLAS report suggests 67% (up from 28% in 2017) of providers admitted they often or nearly always had access to the needed patient records in 2020 while only 15% (up from 6% in 2017) believe data exchange has impacted patient care. The Cures Act and many other federal initiatives are now focused on improving patient care through data sharing. Significant progress has been noticed in data sharing across disparate EMRs.

The way to interoperability

There are certain milestones to touch on the road to attaining interoperability. Just like the banking sector where current systems are modified instead of being recreated, the EHR too will benefit from suitably modified systems wrapped in applications and added capabilities.

Here’s what we need to do:

  • Use a population health management system – This will make providers accountable for caring for populations with common health conditions. The system will use data from various sources including EHRs, EMRs, claims, monitoring devices, etc. to give a 360-degree view to providers while helping patients with regular alerts and messages.
  • Leverage the services of Health Information Exchange (HIE) – HIE connects healthcare organizations across the state to allow them to exchange patient data. So if a patient gets admitted into an emergency room, the HIE will access data from other care centers too so as to give an accurate clinical picture of the patient to providers and alert them when a patient checks in to some other facility.
  • Deploy health management apps designed for patients – These are typically expected to help patients aggregate their health data, get health status, track appointments, manage healthcare plans, etc.
  • Employ big data analytics systems – These systems are expected to review large amounts of data to compare the effectiveness of treatments, aid medical discovery, analyze shifts in patterns of diseases and response to diseases, safety issues pertaining to healthcare equipment, etc. They rely on artificial intelligence for automatic correction of data inconsistencies and other chores such as extracting data from images, free text, etc.
  • Integrate APIs in healthcare – APIs allow developers to build applications quickly and protect patient data from malware and other malicious threats. They save storage space and allow users to pinpoint the exact source of data and get precise data. APIs are thus playing a pivotal role in alleviating clinical burden helping third-party apps and programs analyze data and enhance clinical decisions. As an integral part of healthcare, they now lead the way for successful interoperability.

Tread on the road to interoperability with Trigent

It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle, but with Trigent by your side, you can surely adopt best practices to shift your focus and achieve EHR/EMR interoperability. No matter how far you are on the road to interoperability, we will take you there with the necessary solutions. A few workflow changes and technologies should get us started.

Allow us to tell you how the new interoperability standards can help your practice. Call us today.

Product Development Using Agile Methodology

Customers are not expected to worry about the development methodology used in developing their software.  However, the fact is, they do worry! They worry about things like –

– What if the development team has not understood my requirements clearly? – What happens if the end product does not match specifications?        

– Does the development team have a clear domain knowledge to really understand what I want my product to accomplish? 

For development teams, the above translates into practical technical challenges.  After all, customers are not expected to be explicit at the beginning of a project regarding what they want from the product. This is because a product is the result of an idea and only when the idea takes shape does its real identity emerge. Product specifications are therefore dynamic and as a result incorporating changes when the product is nearly mature can cause confusion to the development team, resulting in bugs and issues which in turn can lead to delayed timelines and added costs.

Secondly, more often than not, hardware and software requirements are finalized at the outset. However, as the product evolves, the chosen tools and hardware may not be completely suitable, once again leading to cost escalation and slipped timelines.

Thirdly, there can be discrepancies if customer requirements are not clearly understood. All flaws come to the fore at the end and by then it may be too late.  Incorporating changes can result in shifted deadlines, increased costs, and delayed releases – all of which can add to the overall cost of the project.

Scrum

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel and one method which ensures that software companies empower their customers to react to market needs is the Agile / Scrum Methodology.  Trigent, for example, routinely uses Scrum project management framework with engineering best practices across several projects.

Agile methodology is a conceptual framework with multiple methods for software development. One of the most popular methods is Scrum which minimizes risk and maximizes profits.  As a lightweight framework, Scrum comes with broad applicability which empowers iterations and increments during the project’s evolution.  It also focuses on team and task management and this becomes crucial for projects which are constantly being viewed and reviewed by both project owners and end customers.

To know more, download whitepaper: Building Software in an Agile Manner

What are the best practices for Automated Regression Testing?

How it all Began ?

Period since the industrial revolution (1820) is referred by scientists as Anthropocene, also referred as Human Age. Significance of this period is automation of manual tasks using machines. Automation has helped mankind become more productive, self-sufficient and innovative.

The onset of Anthropocene era saw machines being used for manufacturing of textiles, paper, cement, chemicals, glass, stream engines, and automobiles and also used for agriculture. Today, you hardly find a household which doesn’t use technology/machines.

Since the invention of computers in the late 20th century, software has empowered humans to eliminate manual processes, introducing automation tools, where ever applicable. And till date, it’s ongoing.

Software development and testing

Software development lifecycle involves four important phases, namely requirement gathering, architecture and design, core development and testing. Software testing validates the functional and non-functional capability of the software. Today, software testing is mostly done manually by one or more person based on the size and complexity of the software.

Automated regression testing

During the initial stages of a software’s life cycle, it is valuable to have humans manually validate software’s capability and usability. However, as a software becomes mature it becomes a challenge in terms of time / cost to validate all aspects of the software manually. For a tester it becomes monotonous and is error prone when executing hundreds of test cases for every major software enhancements. So, it is essential to automate the tasks done by the tester to improve quality and thereby save time / cost. This process is referred as automated regression testing.

During the software development, it is essential that the test team build a regression suite from the very initial stage. This effort will pay high dividend during the later stage of the development and during software maintenance.

4 essential ingredients for an automated regression testing suite 

  1. Test database/environment on which the test scripts have to be executed
  2. Test scripts that translates the regression test case and has an expected result
  3. Test report that compares expected and actual result and
  4. Report that highlights the code covered by the regression suite

Test database has predefined data that are required for the software to run in a stable manner and for the test scripts to be executed successfully. Test team has to continuously update the test database as per the changes to the software.

Test scripts translate the hand written test cases to a re-executable script. There are multiple tools that helps in writing test script, the popular one’s are QTP, Winrunner, Selenium, Watir, SOA test, Testing Anywhere, etc. Selenium, Watir are open source and helps in building your own framework.

Every test script should have an assert statement to validate the expected result and the actual result match. In case they match it is a success else a failure. End of the regression test suite execution the test or project manager should review the report, ascertain the quality of the software and take appropriate action.

Validate test sufficiency:

Regression test suite should be constantly enhanced to reflect the changes to the software. Before enhancing one needs to know if the test scripts or test plans are sufficiently covering all the modules of the software. Code coverage tools helps in assessing the sufficiency of the test scripts. Some of the popular code coverage tools are,

For Java:

a)   EMMA (http://emma.sourceforge.net)

b)   Hansel (http://hansel.sourceforge.net)

c)   jCoverage (http://www.jcoverage.com)

d)   Cobertura (http://cobertura.sourceforge.net)

For .NET:

a)   OpenCover (https://github.com/sawilde/opencover)

b)   Clover.NET (http://www.cenqua.com/clover.net)

c)   NCover (http://ncover.sourceforge.net)

For PHP:

a)   PHP Test Coverage Tool

Our Software testing consulting and automation testing services takes into account all of the above factors. We are amongst a few automation testing companies who provide detailed reporting to validate Testing Sufficiency. Here’s a sample report.