Workday has been one of the biggest success stories of the past decade. Launched in 2006, it had a successful IPO in 2012, crossed the $1 billion revenue mark in 2016, and $2 billion in 2017. Its success is proof that enterprises have had enough of the old order of ERP software from the likes of Oracle and SAP, and are now looking to fresh new alternatives like Workday.
Today, as enterprises choose Workday, they are ready to embrace a new way of running their organizations. This has ripple effects on how their various internal and third-party applications are integrated with each other. How they build applications for the Workday platform. How their internal teams are structured, and finally, how end users use the applications to drive efficiency.
How development is different with Workday:
Developing applications with workday is very different from developing applications for traditional ERP software. There are many nuances to consider that are unique to the platform. For example, Workday separates the business logic layer from the infrastructure layer so that one doesn’t depend on the other. What this means is that a developer creating applications for the Workday platform can focus exclusively on the business logic and delivering releases that meet the needs of the business without having to worry about the underlying data schema, or infrastructure management – that’s all taken care of by Workday.
This makes it possible to continuously update Workday applications without having to worry about changes that affect the entire stack. While this makes application development a lot easier, a Workday developer still has to own the process of creating new features for their apps and releasing them in a timely and efficient manner. This takes a deep understanding of the Workday platform, and a robust software delivery pipeline that spans development, QA, and IT. QA is the focus of this article, and is an essential component when building Workday applications for the enterprise.
The importance of testing Workday applications
Traditionally, QA sat between Dev and IT and was a passive player in the software lifecycle. Today, with the DevOps movement gaining adoption, QA is now an active participant at every stage of the development pipeline. The concept of ‘shift left’ requires QA to work closely with developers at the very inception of new updates and features. QA has a key role in defining what can and can’t be done, and which features can make it into each release. No longer do QA wait for dev to throw code over the wall to start their testing, they’re testing much earlier in the cycle, and providing feedback as new features are being built.
Priorities & challenges with Workday testing:
Testing Workday applications is a multi-pronged effort. There are many priorities, and sometimes they seem to conflict with each other.
With testing, speed is of the essence. The faster you test and get the feature or application out to its users, the more your organization benefits. This requires optimizing every step of the testing process – creating the test case, defining the parameters for the test, running tests in parallel, and being able to get feedback quickly. If there are bottlenecks in any of these key tasks, the testing efforts, and the application release is delayed.
Not just speed, your testing needs to have wide coverage. For any new feature, you need to test all scenarios where the feature is used. This means testing any integrations with other applications, whether internal or third-party applications. If testing covers on a few integrations, or if it fails midway because of bad integration between applications, the quality of testing suffers. Even worse, if released as is, users in the real world pay the price for sloppy testing efforts.
There are many aspects to security when testing applications. You need to ensure data is stored securely, configure appropriate role-based access for the data and the applications being tested, ensure secret information like passwords and access keys are handled with care and not embedded into the application code by mistake, and you need alerts whenever security is being compromised at any point of the system.
While you want to run as many tests as needed, as frequently as needed, and as fast as possible, you want to do all this in an efficient manner. This means using as few people resources as possible. It requires reducing complexity at every step. Importantly, you need to embrace the idea of automated testing over manual testing. Efficiently handling testing and people resources results in the vital benefit of cost savings.
After tests are run, you need to view test results quickly, and have detailed information which you can use to further improve the application, or confidently sign off as ready for release. The test feedback should be accurate including performance metrics at every step, and details of errors in the form of logs. It should be easy to share these reports with teammates and be able to analyze them using reporting tools and features.
The interesting thing is that Workday enables all these benefits, but they don’t come automatically once you choose the Workday platform. You need to configure Workday, and design your development activities the right way to turn these challenges into opportunities.
Manual vs automated – That is the question
The key question when deciding how to implement your testing strategy for Workday is whether to continue with the old order of manual testing, or to embrace the new order of automated testing. Related to this is whether to run your tests on-premises or in the cloud, and whether to build a solution in-house, or leverage a pre-built vendor solution. Your decisions here will make all the difference between the success and failure of your testing efforts.
It’s easy to stick with the convenient option of manual testing, but this has a huge hidden cost of lost opportunity. Automated testing is the process of defining your tests and letting the system run them for you without having to configure the nuts and bolts of how to run the test. When running a similar test, you don’t need to write the test case from scratch, you can simply edit the previous test and run it over and over again.
Automated testing beats manual testing any day of the week because of its advantages in speed of running tests, running multiple tests in parallel, and being able to tweak tests programmatically at scale. It brings wider testing coverage, and can ensure security policies are applied at scale to the entire system under test. It reduces the number of testers required to create and execute tests, and provides detailed reporting at the end of every test.
Automated testing in the cloud is the way to go
Running a testing lab in-house is a cumbersome task. The hardware costs are only the tip of the iceberg. The cost to hire talent to maintain the lab, troubleshoot issues during tests, and scale resources to meet testing needs are all more expensive than the hard cost itself. The solution is the run automated tests in the cloud. Only the cloud brings the kind of scale out economics that makes automated testing possible.
Genie – Automated cloud-based framework for Workday applications
Genie is an automation testing frameworkthat can be extended to ERP applications such as Workday. Being a cloud-based solution it makes testing simple and hassle-free. However, it doesn’t compromise on the ‘quality’ of your tests. It lets you run automated tests at scale, and ensures they are compliant.
Genie is made up of four core testing modules:
1. Business Process Configurations
Replicate & run various end to end business processes across your enterprise.
Test all integrations between internal & external applications using unit tests. Ensure data consistency before sending to a vendor.
3. Security Configurations
Configure security policies that govern how users access your data, and how they interact with the underlying data from within the applications.
Get detailed, timely reporting on all test cases run so you can analyze and share testing results with the rest of the team.
Genie is Workday-aware, and can take your Workday testing to the next level.
You’ve made a big decision to choose Workday for your ERP needs. While it is a game-changing platform, what you do with it is still in your hands. You could go the traditional route of doing all your Workday testing manually on hardware servers, but brings numerous challenges and obstacles in the way of your business. On the other hand, by embracing automated testing in the cloud, you can take full advantage of all Workday has to offer. As you look for the right solution for test automation in the cloud, consider Genie – a test automation framework built exclusively for your ERP needs.