Enterprise Test Automation : What it is & Why it Matters

When an application is used by an enterprise for its business, the testing done to ensure is functions well is called enterprise testing; automating these tests is termed as Enterprise Test Automation. Here is a guide that talks in detail about Enterprise test automation.

Enterprises create their online presence through various products. Some try to provide a web application while others connect with their customers using mobile applications. The aim of all these methods, however, is just one – to be connected to the user by providing them comfort and a choice of their liking. 

If we just talk about web applications in the enterprise domain, today, more than 71% of big businesses have a website while 28% of these businesses are capable of transacting their business through an online medium. These numbers go as high as 83% when it comes to small enterprises that have started selling online.

The data clearly shows how enterprises take their online presence seriously and hire so many people to keep improving and providing newer features to their users. But we have still not talked about the missing piece that makes all of this happen and lets things work smoothly between a business and a user. This missing piece is test automation, and ironically, software companies that make this happen are themselves enterprises like Testsigma. What is this process and why does it matter to an enterprise as well as a customer is what serves as the crux of this post today. But before all that, what exactly do we mean when we say “enterprise test automation”?

What is enterprise test automation?

Enterprise test automation is the process of testing the application created/deployed by an enterprise for its users. While this is also a “testing” process the testers may feel to use the same techniques as they would on a smaller-level application or use the same tools and frameworks. 

Enterprise test automation has to consider multiple elements as they are big and require multiple technologies to work. For instance, multiple microservices are set up using Docker, and even the cloud infrastructure will have multiple cloud technologies attached to the machine. When enterprise test automation is conducted, all these components come into the picture which creates an extremely complex web for the tester. Hence, the team makes sure that individual components, integrated components, and the complete end-to-end flow of the application remain intact and work as expected. 

To understand this massive structure, we can take the example of Netflix here. This enterprise contains many components out of which the major ones are as follows:

  1. OpenConnect: The CDN infrastructure OpenConnect helps in bringing the video a user wishes to stream a lot closer to the user physically so that there are very few network rerouting. This helps make the playback a lot faster and cheaper for everyone. Today, Netflix has crossed 17000 servers and is still in the expansion phase.
  1. AWS: The popular cloud infrastructure AWS is used for all the things that do not require playback but other logic processing such as user account creation and identity management.
  1. ELB: The elastic load balancer is used by Netflix to route the traffic correctly avoiding heavy load on any particular server.
  1. ReactJS: Netflix uses the React JS library to create complex yet highly user-friendly user interfaces.
  1. ZUUL: The enterprise built a dynamic routing facility called ZUUL with additional functionalities such as load shedding, authentication management, and security. It helps requests to be redirected to the correct cluster in the back-end while increasing requests gradually.
  1. Hystrix: Hystrix is a fault-tolerance and latency library designed to disconnect failing services from migrating their impact on other services. It is also developed by Netflix and used for monitoring as well.
  1. Microservices: Netflix currently involves more than 1000 microservices that have their own specific tasks to accomplish. They vary from determining the device the user is using to watch the video to managing CDAs for better performance.
  1. Cache units: Netflix has its own set of cached units to avoid any performance losses when a particular node where the cache was stored goes down. EVCache, as it is called, copies the cache in units in multiple nodes so that there is at least one set of cache to deliver, and the performance remains intact.
  1. Databases: Where there is data, there has to be a database somewhere connected to the complete system. Netflix has an enormous amount of data in the form of videos that are stored in MySQL and connected to AWS instances. They need to work with the same performance as queries when a user searches, plays, etc. any video.
  1.  Data processing: The data processing events in Netflix are of utmost importance to channel the different data streams at the correct point. These data events count to billions in number, and a lot of seamless video viewing experience depends on them. Apache Kafka is connected to make this possible in Netflix.
  1. Data collection: Events and all other processing tasks keep generating their own data (such as logs) that needs to be documented as well. Such data collection helps in monitoring any bugs, glitches, or any other mishaps in the future. In addition, analyzing this data also helps us explore the improvement scopes and the weak areas. Therefore, it becomes essential for a tester to test this element. Apache Chukwa is used to make this possible on Netflix.

Now the main aim of describing this list is to understand the scale at which an enterprise works. If we start exploring all the components of Netflix, we are set for a lot of surprises. However, a user is not so concerned about what happens behind the scenes. All they need is for the application to open quickly, search quickly, and play their selected video in the best format for their device, as soon as it is possible. This makes enterprise test automation a job with extraordinary responsibility.

What to automate in enterprise test automation?

Enterprises work with a ton of applications out of which some are third-party while many are their in-house projects. All of them connect together and work in synchronization to provide the correct output as expected from the application. In such a messy organization of critical components, it can be overwhelming to list the final tasks and goals expected from us as enterprise automation testers. To sort things out, we can list the high-level elements of enterprise test automation that can further help us refine these elements into sub-parts.

All direct business requirements

Business requirements have a direct impact on business goals. They do not contain a list of all the features, but certain main tasks that provide relevance to the business.

Business requirements document

Source: edrawmind

All direct business requirements are of high priority as business goals depend on them. Enterprise test automation should include all necessary business requirements to make sure they are robust.

Critical features

While enterprise applications will have hundreds of features, there will be a few of them that are highly critical to the business. If we again look at Netflix, what movies are on the top 10 list in your region is not a critical feature and will not have a major impact on a user’s experience. However, searching for a movie and giving correct results according to the geolocation is indeed one! 

Critical features are explicitly visible and highly used in the application. They are of high priority and can stop the release of software if not found working correctly. In technical terms, we can say that these are high-risk features and can break production if faulty versions are pushed. Therefore, enterprise test automation should always ensure that critical features are included for automation. Also, testers working on enterprise test automation should keep in mind that something may not be critical today but with time and additions of more enhancements, it will become one definitely. So, keep updating the list and observing newer developments for better efficiency.

A lot of the features of an application ask for the data input from the end-user. For instance, on Netflix, the search bar takes multiple inputs and provides the video results in the output as per the location of the user. Testing these types of features is termed data-driven testing and is always recommended to be done through automation because of the amount of data involved. One input field may take hundreds of data points while testing to ensure the output given is correct, and validations also work fine.

Enterprise test automation is no exception, and here, too, the data-related tasks are required to be tested through automation, as manual data-driven testing is often error-prone due to repetitive tasks.

In the component list of Netflix mentioned above, it is easy to observe that the enterprise has developed a few of its own components just to be high on performance in any part of the application. This story is the same for each enterprise. When it comes to processing and showing the results to the user (in any way), it has to be fast in today’s world. However, enterprises also push a lot of code into the database and it is not humanly possible to keep testing the performance of each of the code. While most of the code may not impact the performance as such, the truth in the software world is that it just takes a single line of code to bring down the application.

Enterprise test automation is the best option in this regard that can be run (even at night) to test the performance metrics for each line of code. This ensures that we never cross certain thresholds and provide the best performance to the end-user. 

Highly complex tasks

Out of the tasks that do not come under the above-mentioned areas, a few of them will be complex to handle. For instance, dependent actions are always complex scenarios where one action opens up different options from where the user can navigate to any of the paths. These can be multi-layered depending on the complexity. Such complex tasks should be under enterprise test automation as repetitive manual actions can lead to slight errors that may end up on a user’s screen.

Load testing

Disney Plus (another enterprise) crashed on the day of its launch due to heavy demand that they never anticipated. These types of events are often seen with many enterprises when they test the lower value of traffic than the actual number. This testing process is called load testing. In load testing, as the name suggests, the tester puts down the load on the system to test the breaking point. The enterprises keep it well above the number they have calculated however, the real world is full of surprises.

Enterprise test automation should include load testing because there are too many elements that take the load. When a lot of people start streaming the same video on Netflix, multiple elements are affected behind the scenes and each of them has different capacities to handle the load. Automation can analyze each of them multiple times, especially during the release to verify if the application is ready to handle the load or not.

Unit testing

While the enterprise app is a big software, each of them is built using individual components that all have to work perfectly to make the bigger software work smoothly. These individual units are, therefore, required to be tested each time any code is changed. This is done to restrict the area of impact such that we know exactly what part and what code caused the issue and it becomes extremely easy and quick to rectify the bug as well. 

Integration testing

So what would happen if OpenConnect is working perfectly as an independent entity but fails to provide the content when integrated with other components on Netflix? Obviously, there is nothing wrong with the component here, but the communication part is broken. This makes us wonder about testing exactly this part and how different components are working together as one whole unit. This is termed as integration testing and this as well cannot be done manually. Enterprise test automation initiates this testing each time any component gets changed, and thousands of tests ensure that the whole unit works as ideally as possible.

End-to-end testing

The part that comes after integration testing needs to be manual as well as automated in parts. End-to-end testing ensures that the flow of the application from the end user’s point of view is always intact. An end-user can start from any point and conclude at any point in his time operating the application. While enterprise test automation cannot take care of the user behavior, it certainly can ensure that the operation taking place on each user action works as expected. For instance, the robustness of API or cross-browser testing. The organizations should make sure that these domains are covered under enterprise test automation.

Apart from this, the testers should automate the tasks that are always considered for automation. For instance, repetitive tasks, cross-browser testing tasks, etc.

What not to automate in enterprise test automation?

Most of the things in enterprise software are worthy candidates to be considered for enterprise test automation. It saves a lot of time, and considering the size of an enterprise software, time is always short on each of the teams. However, there are a few things that should never go into automation as it can have a reverse effect on the testing process. 

The first thing is the user experience. While testing the user interface itself is mostly a manual task, it still includes visual regression testing to point out minor defects that are not noticeable by human eyes. User experience, on the other hand, is a whole different game. For example, let’s turn to our example of Netflix here. The web application of Netflix offers search results on each keypress and not after the user presses enter. This is something no machine can decide whether it is a good experience or not. It needs human involvement, and the bigger the sample size, the better feedback a team gets. 

Secondly, tasks that are complex, data-related, or critical but will never be tested again in the future should be done manually. The whole point of test automation is to bring down the costs with respect to future runs. This goal is not accomplished when automation is done just once, and we end up consuming a lot more time than what we would have done through the manual path.

Finally, keep the scope for analyzing your own project and determining the components manually with the team’s help to understand what strategy is best for you. Different projects will require different plans of action which is what makes the job of an enterprise tester interesting.

Importance of automated testing for enterprise apps

A few bits of the importance of enterprise test automation have already been scattered around this post. However, to have a clearer picture, let’s recollect them to understand that enterprise test automation is important to:

  • Provide a better-performing app to the end user.
  • Have minimum bugs in the application code.
  • Retain the reputation of the enterprise among the masses.
  • Have a short debug-feedback cycle.
  • Save a lot of time and money for the enterprise.
  • Ensure maximum efficiency of each associated component.
  • Cope up with the management of thousands of code pushes done every day.

With these listed elements, it is important to note that enterprise test automation is a mandatory tool for business reputation. Enterprises are not generally short on money and have already made their user base so new feature pushes are also done slowly. The only thing they are concerned about is their reputation and to ensure that the application should work as intended in any scenario and on any device no matter how small a feature the user is using. Enterprise test automation makes sure that the end users always get a robust application and that testing is done in the shortest time possible.

Challenges in Enterprise Test Automation

Enterprise test automation is a herculean task. It involves a lot of elements, which can be hard to manage especially when we have so many things scattered at so many places. Therefore, working with enterprise test automation can be challenging in many ways; a few important ones are listed here:

Too many components

The first thing that previous sections taught us is the number of components involved behind the scenes that make the enterprise application work as expected. If we could picture the components of Netflix alone, we get the following image:

too many components

And remember that this does not even contain the thousands of other microservices attached to the system. All of these components play their part, small or big, in the successful run of the application and therefore, each of them are required to be tested thoroughly and preferably through enterprise test automation. This is a huge challenge initially when the team needs to set things up, connect the tests, and manage their work in this scattered arrangement.

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Another challenge in enterprise test automation is the planning stage, the stage where we chalk out the path to follow when actual testing will start. A lot of planning goes into this especially due to a big application. Just to give an example, since there are so many components, all of them are generally not supported by a single tool or framework. Here the team researches to find a list of tools that can help in the process. The team also needs to make sure that all the team members know about this or at least the learning curve is easy to train the team quickly. Similarly, the blueprints are written down, how the data will be collected, how the flow will occur, etc. are a few more points discussed during this stage.

Management of tests

Enterprise test automation contains a lot of tests and when there are a lot of tests, their management becomes a mess. For instance, let’s say we have four thousand tests to run as a regression on the application. One day, all the regression runs on all the code changes by different developers (independent changes) start getting the same failures. At this point, the work of the testers starts to debug the issue. The following general causes can be listed:

  • a test failure whose effect is reciprocated to other tests. 
  • multiple failures in multiple tests. 
  • a recent code change (addition or deletion) that got pushed into production.
  • malfunction of any other resource

This is not an easy task when thousands of test cases are lined up. Even if there are no failures, testers are required to keep making the changes and managing these tests so that no such critical failure occurs that requires immediate attention. 

A good solution to achieve this is to divide the tests into multiple independent farm jobs logically. A failure in one of the tests will therefore reciprocate in a confined area and it becomes easier to point out the root cause.

False positives

The one scenario that could be listed above and is a part of test management is false positives. The more test cases the application has, the more chances are that the failure highlighted could also be a false positive. So, what could be done to identify which failures are actually failures and which are not? Practically, there is nothing we can do here and this is why it deserves a separate section. Testers can only know that some failure is a false positive after debugging it extensively and eliminating all the above-mentioned scenarios. The risk of declaring a true failure as a false positive is too high which leads testers to spend a lot of time in this case. Since we have thousands of tests, it is a huge challenge for enterprise test automation.

Apart from this, the challenges of teams and the projects they are working on exist as well. For instance, in Netflix teams will have their own challenges related to test cases associated with the streaming of the videos. These should be identified at a very early stage, possibly the planning stage, to help maintain and manage suites easily and smoothly.

A glimpse of practical enterprise test automation

The concepts discussed up till this point for enterprise test automation are highly theoretical. They will be implemented when a tester starts the testing process except that the few practical scenarios will impact the process. These practical scenarios depend on the user behavior, their shopping (or surfing) requirements, and maybe current trends. 

As a tester, you will witness a change in a few of these patterns regularly while some might stick for a long time. One such pattern is the experiments of a device manufacturer with their new products and unpredictable buying trends of a user. Currently, as we all witness in our daily lives, mobile devices have become a necessary part of our lives. So necessary that people carry them everywhere at all times and use them for their different needs such as shopping, chatting, etc.

As an enterprise, while all the devices are important, it is a fact that mobile devices carry an edge over the others. Considering the fact that people check their phones 58 times a day on average and spend 3 hours 15 minutes every day, naturally, enterprises do tend to focus more on their applications related to mobile devices. But when we look closely, mobile devices seem to have a lot of variables that produce a lot of combinations making each device differ from the other.

For instance, two devices may be from the same manufacturer but contain different OS versions. They may have the same OS versions but different screen sizes. They may even have the same OS versions and the same screen size but the user is using different browsers and the same cycle will repeat. It is just not humanely possible to perform manual testing on each of these devices. In addition, procurement becomes another problem in such scenarios. Enterprises do not have a budget issue and can keep procuring devices however, it means there needs to be a separate team to maintain the infrastructure and this means one more area where things can take a wrong turn and stop a release. So, what could be the best solution here?

How can Testsigma help achieve enterprise test automation?

Testsigma is a test automation tool. More than that, it is a “cloud-based” test automation tool that provides real physical devices with a robust dedicated infrastructure to conduct testing sessions of any major type of automation testing. Be it data-driven testing, end-to-end testing, cross-browser testing, mobile testing, or web app testing, Testsigma not only executes the tests efficiently but also optimizes the scripting process by providing a codeless interface suitable for beginners or veterans. It is open-source, free to try, and comes with artificial intelligence-enabled systems to give you a hand in testing. 

Some key features of Testsigma are:

  • English-based scripting: The platform uses the English language to write test scripts that are converted to test actions through natural language processing. This makes the process extremely fast and easy to maintain.
  • Self-healing: Testsigma applies self-healing technology to detect the changes in UI and correct the corresponding tests automatically. This is a great time saver in enterprise test automation as the number of test cases is high and a single UI change can demand a lot of time from a tester.
  • Physical devices: Enterprises need their applications to be accurate and accurate results are only achieved through physical devices. These devices are the same devices an end-user would use and with Testsigma, the tester just needs an account to access any device with any specification.
  • Integrations: Third-party tools help extend the functionality of the environment and give extra scope to the testers to accomplish other tasks by integrating them with the current platform. Testsigma supports integrations to allow the testers to work from a single profile with multiple tools.
  • Specialized tools: Testers also get access to specialized tools that facilitate the testing process and encourage collaboration among team members.
  • Reporting: The enterprise test automation process can be concluded with extensive reporting that provides visual elements as well for other team members. This makes the report a common element across teams with simple language and easy to understand data.

Enterprise test automation is a bulky job and testers require capable tools to complete this process. Testsigma is built to blend into this heavy process and provide convenience to the testers and other team members as well which includes non-technical people like stakeholders and analysts.



Enterprise test automation is a different process than, let’s say, the automation of small business projects. The responsibilities of a tester are much higher in enterprise test automation due to the number of people that can be affected by a simple bug. Even more than that, the reputation of the enterprise rides on these applications that are opened on various devices with various configurations. When so many components make an application run with so many target devices to consider, enterprise test automation invites challenges and confusion with which the tester struggles to find the most optimum path.

This post aims to clear out the confusion such as areas to consider for automation and areas to be left for manual testing. Exploring the type of testing and challenges involved, the glimpse of the practical world showed us that learning about theory alone is not enough in enterprise test automation. When we start testing, we explore various practical scenarios hindering the process and forcing us to choose a self-sufficient tool that lets us do all our work on a single screen like Testsigma. With this note, we hope this guide will help testers achieve their goals in enterprise test automation and deliver top-quality products to millions of customers.

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