Automated test procedures as part of software implementation.The Test-First procedure from XCOM AG increases quality and reduces complexity and costs

Logo XCOM AG (PresseBox) ( Willich, )
Despite the wide variety of programs and special tools, successfully automating tests in the run-up to implementing (new) software within companies is still a huge challenge for IT departments.

Current experience gained from intensive discussions with well-known financial service providers has demonstrated that although the tests are generally of a high quality they require enormous amounts of resources which of course cost time and money.

For many years the Willich-based software development company XCOM AG has dealt intensively with various methods and procedures relating to the automation of test procedures in particular as these procedures also play an important role with the company; for example in the area of new release implementations at the affiliated biw-(Bank) AG.

Matthias Albrecht, CEO of XCOM AG says, “During the years since 1998, we have gained a lot of different experiences with test procedures and have used different testing tools on each problem. When evaluated the results were very sobering. For example, retrospective module tests have often proved to be uneconomical, especially when it comes to cost and usage aspects”.

Drawing on these experiences XCOM was able to break new ground a few years ago under the leadership of Stephan Heinze in the Zwickau eBanking Software Development Centre. Although XCOM “works” predominantly with “free tools”, they decisively re-developed the methodology for the automation of software tests. This resulted in significant quality improvements on the one hand and, on the other hand, the reduction of costs and resources in customer projects.

XCOM AG’s defined procedure model, the Test-First approach, firstly schedules the systematic assimilation of requirements including testability and then connects these with a so-called “instrumentalisation” during project implementation. Put precisely this means that a test is built using programming logic which then basically tests the system as a "black box test”. The particular advantage of this method is that the results can be recognised immediately in the relevant specification which means that the project progress can be "reviewed" at any time and not just "at the end of the chain".

Dr. Rainer Fuchs, Board Chairman of XCOM AG says, “Over the past few weeks the very positive nature of the discussions, including those with CIOs of large banks and financial service providers, has encouraged us to offer these self-developed, significantly advantageous procedures as new services on the market”.

Something worth noting in this context, is that implementing the Test-First approach within the client’s IT structure requires organisational and structural changes as well as significant attitude changes from the staff, architects etc responsible for the software tests.

“This cannot simply be quickly ordered in a top-down manner,” continues Dr. Fuchs, “instead some accompanying measures have to be taken into consideration and implemented before carrying out the Test-First procedure”.

However, the current experiences show that XCOM AG uses the most modern methods in this segment and that, with a view towards usability in banks and for financial service providers, these methods can be “transported”.

The complexity of the tests as part of the software development and implementation is without a doubt significantly reduced – especially with regards to quality, speed and cost reduction.

XCOM will be pleased to present the Test-First approach in detail to interested companies from the financial services industry at any time. Preliminary information is contained in a separate presentation “Automated Test Procedures”, which can be requested using the contact form or by sending an e-mail to
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