Test Automation as a Growing Part of IT Governance

Written by Jordan McMahon in Automation as IT's best ally on October 8, 2014
IT Governance
Image source: Solitude8 via wikimedia.org

These two terms – test automation and IT governance – rarely get mentioned today in the same breath. This is going to change, at least for the smarter corporations and organizations who know a good leverage when they see it. These enterprises are the ones that have advanced the furthest on both these fronts. They are the ones who will be the first to see the links between the two domains and how an automated test application can contribute substantially to the synergy between IT and business. For the others, the road may be little longer and a bit rockier; starting perhaps with a change in attitude to test automation and an understanding of what IT governance is supposed to be.

Governance in a general sense is practiced by a board of directors. IT governance is the specific application to IT. Test automation can assist in reporting, compliance and confirmation that business objectives are being met.

IT Governance 101

Wondering what IT governance is all about? A short version is that it’s a way of structuring IT activities so they are driven by business needs and so they contribute insights, creativity and innovation back to make business better. A slightly longer version is:

IT activities and projects are then conducted and measured according to these criteria. This is potentially applicable to any business using IT (meaning most businesses.) As you might expect, good IT governance also becomes increasingly important as corporations get bigger.

What’s the Link with Test Automation?

From a business value standpoint, test automation has a significant role to play. With a comprehensive test automation application, software can be tested more efficiently and more effectively to bring it to market or end-users faster with better quality and satisfaction. The software project itself must define functionality and architecture according to business requirements and stakeholder interest. But a good automated test application is in the unique position of being able to confirm performance, functional conformance, and compliance with rules and policies.

With a Business Audience in Mind, Too

For those who think test automation is necessarily confined to arcane, code-level tests that only thoroughbred programmers can understand, it’s time to reconsider. While code-driven testing will continue to play a key part in ensuring software quality, functional and process level testing provide a counterpart that allows the technical and business dimensions to be brought together, balanced and optimized. The test automation application that can cover these different angles and provide solutions for all levels of testing is the one that can make a direct, positive and significant contribution to a business meeting its objectives.