If your business still doesn't have a blog--one of the best ways around to provide up-to-date company and product news--you're only about three years behind the curve. Hey, it's not too late to catch up: WordPress installs in minutes (it even offers a free, hosted option on WordPress.com), and the platform is dazzlingly easy to use (the site's home page carries an ad for WordPress for Dummies, but we doubt you'll need to crack that volume). WordPress so simple, your team will be begging to contribute to the blog instead of whining that it's too laborious. (free)
The method or process being used to implement automation is called a test automation framework. Several frameworks have been implemented over the years by commercial vendors and testing organizations. Automating tests with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) or open source software can be complicated, however, because they almost always require customization. In many organizations, automation is only implemented when it has been determined that the manual testing program is not meeting expectations and it is not possible to bring in more human testers.
Data mining is the extraction of consumer information from a database by utilizing software that can isolate and identify previously unknown patterns or trends in large amounts of data. There is a variety of data mining techniques that reveal different types of patterns. Some of the techniques that belong here are statistical methods (particularly business statistics) and neural networks, as very advanced means of analyzing data.
The move to agile has led many teams to adopt a pyramid testing strategy. The test automation pyramid strategy calls for automating tests at three different levels. Unit testing represents the base and biggest percentage of this test automation pyramid. Next comes, service layer, or API testing. And finally, GUI tests sit at the top. The pyramid looks something like this:
API driven testing. A testing framework that uses a programming interface to the application to validate the behaviour under test. Typically API driven testing bypasses application user interface altogether. It can also be testing public (usually) interfaces to classes, modules or libraries are tested with a variety of input arguments to validate that the results that are returned are correct.
Unified Functional Testing (UFT) is a well-known commercial testing tool for functional testing. It provides a comprehensive feature set for API, web services, and GUI testing of desktop, web, and mobile applications across platforms. The tool has advanced image-based object recognition feature, reusable test components, and automated documentation.
The next phase in the evolution of business software is being led by the emergance of Robotic Process Automation (RPA), which involves identifying and automating highly repetitive tasks and processes, with an aim to drive operational efficiency, reduce costs and limit human error. Industries that have been in the forefront of RPA adoption include the Insurance industry, Banking and Financial Services, the Legal industry and the Healthcare industry.
Tipalti is a cloud-based payment automation and management software that is known for helping businesses accurately meet deadlines. The solution helps solve problems that include non-compliance, late payments, administrative overload and complications arising from human error. Time spent on financial management is significantly decreased, solving one of the biggest problems facing accounting teams.
Zoho Books is a subscription-based accounting software with enough features to meet all your small business needs without the hefty price tag. It can sync with your bank accounts and help you create and send invoices. The time- and expense-tracking features are top-notch. The Basic plan will track your billable hours and accommodates up to 50 contacts. The Standard plan supports two users and accommodates up to 500 contacts. You can track inventory if you upgrade to the Professional plan. The Professional plan supports up to 10 users and holds unlimited contacts.
Ranorex Studio produces straightforward and comprehensive test reports to reduce debugging time. View reports in Ranorex Studio, or formatted as a PDF and sent automatically by email. To get the fastest feedback, you can even view reports while testing is in progress. Choose whether or not to generate detailed logs, produce a JUnit-compatible report, or create a custom report template. Debug errors by jumping straight from the test report to the failed step in the test case. Use Ranorex predefined report levels to select messages by type such as “warning” or “error,” and include screenshots and snapshots in reports to aid in the debugging effort.
With the growing number of web-based applications this is changing, however, as verifying and testing web-based interfaces is easier and there are various tools that help with this, including free open source projects. Please see below for a list of popular and useful tools, projects, books and resources to get started with automated software testing.
Some business applications are built in-house and some are bought from vendors (off the shelf software products). These business applications are installed on either desktops or big servers. Prior to the introduction of COBOL (a universal compiler) in 1965, businesses developed their own unique machine language. RCA's language consisted of a 12-position instruction. For example, to read a record into memory, the first two digits would be the instruction (action) code. The next four positions of the instruction (an 'A' address) would be the exact leftmost memory location where you want the readable character to be placed. Four positions (a 'B' address) of the instruction would note the very rightmost memory location where you want the last character of the record to be located. A two digit 'B' address also allows a modification of any instruction. Instruction codes and memory designations excluded the use of 8's or 9's. The first RCA business application was implemented in 1962 on a 4k RCA 301. The RCA 301, mid frame 501, and large frame 601 began their marketing in early 1960.
Small business accounting is an area where there's still a lot of competition, which is healthy, but it makes your decision-making process harder. Consider the chart above and click through to the full reviews, take a look at the screenshots, and take advantage of the free trials offered. What you choose now may or may not be what you need in five years, but the landscape will look different by then. So pick the best match for your current circumstances and dive in!
Angie Jones is a Consulting Automation Engineer who advises several Scrum teams on automation strategies and has developed automation frameworks for many software products. Angie speaks and teaches internationally at software conferences, serving as an Adjunct College Professor of Computer Programming, and also teaches tech workshops to young girls through TechGirlz and Black Girls Code. Find out more on LinkedIn and at angiejones.tech
Instead of creating the "tests" at the end, I suggest starting with examples at the beginning that can be run by a human or a software system. Get the programmer, tester, and product owner in a room to talk about what they need to be successful, to create examples, to define what the automation strategy will be, and to create a shared understanding to reduce failure demand. My preference is to do this at the story level — what some might call a minimum marketable feature — which requires a half-day to a week of work. George Dinwiddie, an agile coach in Maryland, popularized the term "the three amigos" for this style of work, referring to the programmer, tester, and analyst in these roles. Another term for the concept is acceptance test-driven development.
Timecamp is a one-solution-fits-all business management solution that comes with a time tracker with computer activities, productivity monitoring, attendance tracking, integrations and more. The software tracks time automatically so you don’t have to worry about spending hours on figuring out how to do it. TimeCamp offers you an intuitive interface to get your team on board effortlessly.
Ultimately, choosing the right test solution is going to mean paring down to the test results, test cases, and test scripts that you need. Automated tools make it easier to complete specific tasks. It is up to your organization to first model the data it has and identify the results that it needs before it can determine which automated testing tool will yield the best results.
Many of the systems we’ve reviewed are just cut for freelancers, with configurable billing & invoicing, automated tax calculations, integration with all major banks, and of course – reports and metrics that comply with your needs. A large portion of them are also extremely affordable, but so that you stay on the safe side, we recommend you to look exclusively at online and cloud-hosted technology. Pick natively integrated systems instead of hiring a developer to build software connections from scratch, and pay attention to scalability so that your prospective system can handle sudden workload spikes.
Katalon Studio is an automated testing platform that offers a comprehensive set of features to implement full automated testing solutions for Web, API, and Mobile. Built on top of the open-source Selenium and Appium frameworks, Katalon Studio allows teams to get started with test automation quickly by reducing the effort and expertise required for learning and integrating these frameworks for automated testing needs.
Those who believe they will be actively customizing their automated test environments may want to start with Selenium and customize it from there, whereas those who want to begin in a more structured test environment may be better off with one of the systems that are built on top of Selenium. Selenium can be scripted in a multitude of languages, including Java, Python, PHP, C#, and Perl.
“The most important thing to consider is the problem you are trying to solve. Many test automation initiatives fail because teams are trying to jump in head first and automate every test possible instead of the most valuable tests according to the goals of development. They find themselves in a maintenance nightmare. Pick the most valuable test you were already performing manually and automate those first.”
Running a small business is hard and challenging. Many don’t survive past the first, few years. Using the right apps can make a big difference in helping you overcome the basic issues that every small business owners runs into when they have their own operation. They help you get organized, streamline your workflows, and get more done with greater efficiency and reliability.
But if test automation is so limited, why do we do it in the first place? Because we have to, there is simply no other way. Because development adds up, testing doesn’t. Each iteration and release adds new features to the software (or so it should). And they need to be tested, manually. But new features also usually cause changes in the software that can break existing functionality. So existing functionality has to be tested, too. Ideally, you even want existing functionality to be tested continuously, so you recognise fast if changes break existing functionality and need some rework. But even if you only test before releases, in a team with a fixed number of developers and testers, over time, the testers are bound to fall behind. This is why at some point, testing has to be automated.
Odoo is an all-in-one business management software that offers a range of business applications which forms a complete suite of enterprise management applications. It covers CRM, eCommerce, accounting, inventory, sales, and project management. Odoo apps are perfectly integrated with each other, allowing you to fully automate your business processes.
Asana is a good project management tool for small teams and businesses that need to communicate frequently about ongoing projects. Look for individual dashboards to watch progress toward task and project goals as well as workflows, reminders, and notifications to keep everyone on task. You can track progress in Kanban boards, list views, or calendars, whatever works best for the individual.
However, as businesses grow, they’ll likely need to implement more controls over their business processes and better alignment between information and operational technologies. At this stage, they should consider investing in business process management software to help them standardize processes and workflows for multiple departments and improve operational performance. (Not to be confused with general "business managment" software, "business process management" software carries a more specific definition and set of technical requirements. Follow the link above to read our buyer's guide and learn more.)
With the experience of advising clients on test automation and architecting their automation journey, TestingXperts is one of the leading automation testing companies that generates the value you always wanted through test automation. Our test automation solutions support your business objectives by designing an automation strategy aligned with enterprise goals. We carry out a detailed tool evaluation exercise to recommend an optimized tool inventory to suit your needs and budget.
GetResponse is best known as an email marketing platform, but they’ve expanded their offerings significantly in the past couple of years with CRM, webinars, and marketing automation tools. The GetResponse marketing automation is built around drag-and-drop workflows that you can set up to mimic customer journeys through your website and toward conversion.
myBooks Online Accounting Software comes equipped with all the essential features for small businesses that are looking to manage their accounting processes at an affordable price. This web based accounting application has a few automation capabilities to speed up one’s workflow, including automating conversions for foreign currencies and automatically displaying bank feeds on your dashboard. myBooks Online Accounting software supports multi-currency transactions, which essentially eliminates the intricacies attached to foreign exchange processes. Moreover, it features an enterprise-grade security to safeguard your financial data from external threats.
Although this a complete list of the best software for small businesses in each of these categories, there might be other options that work better for your company. Click on the category headers below for a full list of available products. For personalized recommendations based on your business needs call one of our Technology Advisors at 877-822-9526 for a free, 5-minute consultation.