There is a vision in our industry wherein we hand our test scripts to a robot that performs an automated certification process on an organization’s behalf. In this vision, robots execute payment card transactions. They finger or key use cases into pin-pads and provide clean reports on pass/fails. Several vendors in our industry have already begun to execute on this vision, offering robotic testing services for merchants.
Is There an Industry Need for Automation?
The most viable use case for automated testing is to execute repetitive tasks in place of manual human re-entry. Given the current state of automated testing, however, W. Capra urges any merchant exploring automated capabilities to ensure that human resources continue to remain a part of testing— not just to oversee testing robotics, but to play an active role in the QA process where robotics have not yet proven effective.
Regression testing, for instance, is an ideal target for automation. New features, however, likely require organic human interaction and creativity in corner case construction. Human inventiveness is also essential in “kid tests” (how can we break the system when mom isn’t looking?). Victor Madera, Senior Certification Analyst added, “It would be near-impossible to automate test scripts without first analyzing the new feature and how you interact with it. In particular, within retail petroleum testing, there is a wide array of different impacts to be considered and prodded for every new feature within the payments or loyalty ecosystem.”
Most importantly, the human element is most integral to review test results and determine which use cases weren’t run properly in prior rounds of testing, which cases require re-trials, etc. Sue Chan, Associate Director of Retail Petroleum Architecture and Assurance at W. Capra exhorted, “The human component of testing and certification, and the ability to interpret results of tests beyond a pure black and white pass or fail, will always be needed.”
What is the Future of Automation?
This article isn’t to bullhorn the tropes of science fiction or to rail against the rise of the machines— W. Capra performs our work in the sweet spot between human resources and technological innovation. While we are continuously working on ways to introduce automation into our QA services, the human element is not going away. As the industry is largely cutting back in bringing QA resources in-house, W. Capra continues to add expertise and innovate testing and certification methodologies.
We recently relocated and expanded our Technology Lab to a new facility in Woodridge, Illinois, which will be the new home to the growing number of QA testing and certification services that we provide, while also serving as an innovation center for emerging retail technologies. The new facility is more than three times the size of our previous lab in Munster, Indiana. With the additional space and upgraded facility, we can continue to operate at the forefront of in-store and digital commerce technology and further support our clients with their testing and validation needs.
For organizations looking to supplement their testing capabilities with proven experts, we have the in-house proficiency, the relationships with industry suppliers, and the equipment in our lab to help you think through edge cases from day one and test your solution end-to-end. As the innovation around commerce systems continues to evolve, we will maintain a mastery of the technology and continue provide the human element in our services that the technology can never quite replace.
Sue Chan and Victor Madera are dedicated to assisting W. Capra clients with all things related to User Acceptance Testing and Quality Assurance. For further discussion, contact Sue at [email protected] or Victor at [email protected].