Embrace Automation With Olenick Automation Enablement
Automation may try to promise you the world, but how do you know what it will actually deliver?
The growing field of automation is filled with big promises and utopian-sounding solutions, but also littered with unsuccessful projects where the automation implementation fell short of its promise. Not every automation effort results in a home run. Given the frequent gap between automation’s potential and its actual results, businesses need to focus on well-defined automation approaches to avoid chasing unrealistic goals. But how do you find the needles of effective automation amidst the haystacks of hype?
One effective approach is an Automation Enablement project, in which a team of specialists helps you evaluate business processes to identify the best candidates for automation, then helps you select the right automation tools and trains your organization’s business users on the technical side to give them the skills to use those automation tools effectively. The selection of automation tools will help identify where to put effort into training your organization’s resources. The obvious first step is training engineers in automation tools and practices, but an often-missed area of training is putting the effort into training business users.
Having an automation partner who doesn’t try to “force the path” to automation but instead takes a targeted and realistic approach is essential for success. At Olenick we embrace this approach and focus on providing the practical assistance needed to make your automation team effective. We have seen Automation Enablement deliver excellent results with our business partners, particularly in the utilities space.
Automation Enablement with Utility Software Testing
Recently we partnered with a utility client’s software quality team who wanted to find automation solutions to reduce time spent on manual testing and enable more frequent deployments – without reducing quality or expanding their existing team size.
Olenick’s Automation Enablement specialists provided automation consulting/planning, DevOps integration, and training. These exercises enabled the utility’s software quality team to incorporate more automation into their quality processes. This project included:
- Running Automation workshops determining which processes to automate to deliver the most return on investment (ROI)
- Evaluating modules for automation
- Meeting with business users to help better define the processes to be automated
- Executing proof of concept assessments on available test automation tools
- Developing Azure pipelines to run as part of deployment process
- Integrating automation with Azure DevOps
- Providing automation structures to help the engineering team realize concepts of automation
- Creating automation training materials and job aids for the client’s existing teams
Through these Automation Enablement activities, the client realized the below tangible benefits – all without expanding their existing team size:
- Discovered 200 person-days per year of potential savings through automation
- Enabled fourfold increase in frequency of deployments (from 6 times per year to 24 times per year)
- Scaled up three Agile client teams to incorporate automation
- Execution of CI/CD pipelines for test automation at a minimum of every 4 hours
- Finalized Automation Toolset for client’s Agile teams
With projects like this, our goal is not to “sell” the client automation – rather it is to help the client select those processes where automation makes sense and then enable the client to implement the automation by upskilling their existing IT teams with targeted training and tool recommendations.
We find that taking this practical approach to automation helps insulate a business from the occasionally hyperbolic claims of tool vendors. It also helps translate automation vendor claims into real-world success by tailoring a customized strategy for the client’s business processes. (Tool vendors will often demonstrate their tools in a way that does not match real-world use cases, dynamic data requirements, or complex workflows.)
Olenick’s Automation Service Offerings
Olenick offers a complete set of Automation services meant to build upon one another over time. Rather than the generic offerings of a tool vendor, Olenick’s Automation Enablement offers personalized workshops, customized tool recommendations, and targeted training to implement and manage the automation technology while integrating fully with DevOps/Dev Test Ops.
The Olenick Automation Enablement methodology ensures that:
- Automation candidates are selected based on quantitative data
- Resources are properly trained
- Scripts are planned, written, and reviewed to ensure efficiency/durability
- Automation efforts are measured over time to compare planned vs. actual
The overall purpose of this kind of “test automation coaching and guidance model” is to provide an avenue for experience, learning and continuous improvement around not only test automation but the entire SDLC.
Olenick Automation Enablement can expedite automation efforts by:
- Helping to identify the types of automation that will bring benefit to your organization
- Defining implementation layers for your projected automation projects
- Providing direction for your team to implement and validate your new automation processes most successfully
Olenick’s Automation Enablement approach helps organizations capitalize on the efficiencies available through automation in a targeted fashion, instead of pouring excessive time and resources into automation efforts that may not deliver the anticipated ROI. We stand ready to help ensure that your automation projects get off the ground and are successfully implemented!
Contributing Editor: Eric Byville