At the recent Microsoft Inspire conference, CEO Satya Nadella has estimated digital transformation as a $4.5 trillion market.
He further stated, “With increasing digitization, where every part of our society and economy has been fundamentally transformed because of digital technology, the opportunity is greater than ever before. Think about how every product, every service is going to have digital cogs associated with it. It’s no longer just building an information system that keeps track of your products and services — the product and the service, itself, is digital.” The expanse and need of implementing a Digital Transformation strategy have made various facets of software testing critical. Compatibility Testing is at the core of any Digital Transformation strategy.
Compatibility Testing forms a segment of the non-functional tests for software and doesn’t go by an output per input pattern. It tests a software’s compatibility with the environment in which it is supposed to operate – browsers, operating systems, hardware, devices, databases, or any other technology platform. The performance of a software application gets affected by different versions, networks, bandwidths, and configurations. This can prove disastrous in a situation where an application is released at an enterprise level (internal customers/external users) and it finds difficulty in operating across bandwidths and diverse technology platforms.
Relevance of Compatibility Testing in the Digital sphere
Compatibility testing is essential to test and ensure that the application doesn’t fail to perform as expected across any browser or device and stays responsive on all the key browsers, operating systems, and devices. Today, many enterprises with direct user-connect develop separate applications for the desktop and downloadable applications for the mobile devices. This brings a better experience for the users, especially with applications that are needed for the e-commerce and banking sector to reach out to their customers.
An application goes through various facets of compatibility testing. In the case of hardware, compatibility testing is performed to ensure that the software works flawlessly across diverse hardware configurations. While testing across operating systems, the tests check the compatibility of the application across various operating systems such as Mac OSX, Windows, UNIX, and all contemporary OS. Compatibility tests are run to also check the compatibility of the software with another software.
With networks, compatibility of the software is checked across network setting and the performance is evaluated. The performance is checked on the basis of network capacity, bandwidth, and speed across various mobile devices and operating systems such as Android and iOS. Moreover, it is critical to check the performance of the application across various versions. This is commonly referred to as Background Compatibility Testing and Forward Compatibility Testing.
This makes Compatibility Testing extremely critical for Digital Transformation, as an application at any point of time has to operate effectively across diverse devices, operating systems and their various versions, browsers and their various versions, and fluctuating network conditions.
Steps Involved in Compatibility Testing
The intrinsic steps that compatibility testing follows emphasize its importance in the scenario of Digital Transformation.
The process begins by defining the platforms where the application is expected to operate. This decides the type of compatibility testing and tools that the team will consider for testing the performance of the application.
The next step is to understand the various configurations and build test cases to start testing the various features of the application. This requires a good amount of expertise and in-depth knowledge of the various platforms and software so that the behavior of the application across various configurations may be better understood.
The team then sets the environment under which the application is to be tested for compatibility across various platforms, devices, and networks.
Finally, the results are analyzed and the bugs are reported for fixing. Some major errors usually reported during the compatibility tests are changes in user interface, color, and style, navigation issues, discrepancies in the content display, presentation, and anything that disrupts the user experience while navigating the website/application.
The key objective of Digital Transformation is customer experience and satisfaction. Compatibility Testing ensures that the experience is seamless across any platform, which results in more visits and further supports the business objectives.
Key Benefits of Compatibility Testing
- Rectify Issues in Time
One of the key benefits of Compatibility Testing is that it helps to rectify web/mobile application’s issues earlier rather than finding them post launch to the customers. This cuts down the efforts related to customer support to resolve compatibility issues for a device, operating system, or a browser version. This not only cuts down on effort, but also brings down the costs. There are tremendous costs involved in providing customer support and resolving the issues, and Compatibility Testing helps in resolving it ahead in the development cycle.
- Enhances the Software Development Process
Taking a cue from the earlier point, Compatibility Testing checks the issues with the application in the development process itself. This enhances the quality of the software/application on the go. Compatibility Testing reveals a lot about an application, most importantly, the application’s scalability, stability, and usability across various platforms and configurations. With digital transformation, proper presentation of the application to the users is critical and business-critical. So, the development process has to be comprehensive, and Compatibility Testing makes it flawless.
- Meeting Business and User Expectations
One of the key objectives of Digital Transformation is to meet the never-dying demands of businesses and users. Executing various compatibility tests helps ensure that the application meets the underlying demands of the customers and offers the desired customer experience. In this way, the application is optimized for offering quality. It has been inferred that well-testing products result in enhanced customer satisfaction.
Moreover, it also checks and confirms that all the users of an application or software enjoy similar experience across diverse platforms. Regardless of their computing environment, the experience is flawless and uniform. This helps in ensuring a healthy business outcome in the long-run.
As George Westerman, Principal Research Scientist with the MIT Sloan Initiative on the Digital Economy, rightly states, “When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar.”
Compatibility is a key factor in the overall efforts towards Digital Transformation. It helps in ensuring positive business outcomes, as it boosts referrals and recommendations for your business. Compatibility Testing is essential for building reputation and stature of the brands, which is at the core of Digital Transformation.