How successful Telco corporations are embracing continuous testing in 2020 and beyond

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The Telco industry today is facing more challenges than ever before, with new and emerging technologies like 5G coming onboard and unprecedented demand for connectivity, especially during the current pandemic.

Building applications and services as quickly as possible is important for every industry, but speed alone is hardly ever an arbiter of success. What’s needed is the ability to build resilient, reliable and well-executed services in an efficient manner, that makes the most of limited resources and tight delivery timelines in an increasingly competitive market. What’s needed is Continuous Testing.

The path to rapid, resilient service delivery can be enabled in part via thorough, complete and continuous testing, that is executed throughout the development process to identify and remediate any issues before they reach production. 

Leaving testing to the end of the SDLC means that testing can easily become  a bottleneck for Telco software applications.  Model Based Testing can help Continuous Testing Initiatives by reducing unnecessary testing, and therefore reducing the bottleneck of testing in the development process.

How can continuous testing and model based testing help Telcos to test faster and more efficiently?

  • Increased testing automation is a necessity with massive traffic spikes. Telcos of all sizes are increasing release cadence today and manually generating test cases, for all the things that they need to cover, is not a winning strategy. As part of a rapid release cadence there is a need to be able to do testing within a limited timeframe. It’s also imperative that tests are optimized to make sure that they provide full coverage for a given service or application.
  • Model based testing reduces unnecessary tests- crucial for Agile delivery in large enterprises. Instead of creating tests manually, which for a Telco can take hundreds of hours and lead in many cases to having too many tests, tests are automatically generated in a small fraction of the time.
  • Modeling business logic. Model Based Testing is really good at understanding what an application is supposed to do, as well as understanding the business rules and the business logic behind it. There is a clear need for modelling business logic within Telcos as different services, like 5G are rolled out, to align with how it’s being offered to customers.
  • Optimized testing. What is common at Telcos as well as other industry verticals, is that there is often a large degree of over-testing. The Model Based Testing approach builds programmatically designed tests that provide  full coverage. It’s an approach that reduces testing duplication, optimizing testing overall and accelerating rollouts as fewer tests are run overall within a continuous testing regime.

Here are some examples of Telco companies that have embraced continuous testing, with practices including scaled-up performance testing, model based testing, and service virtualization as tools for Successful Digital Transformation.

BT adopted massive-scale performance testing as part of their digital transformation initiative
The challenge of implementing DevOps at scale has been faced by many Telco providers, including BT, which has over 30 million customers across consumer and enterprise segments.

BT had a large and complex testing operation that involved many manual processes, which became a bottleneck for the company. To help solve this challenge, they integrated continuous testing through the application development and delivery pipeline to plan, manage and test applications. 

With Continuous Testing at every stage of development, BT Group was able to accelerate the development lifecycle, reducing the time it takes to test and bring new capabilities into service.

“There are a number of specific benefits that a Model Based Testing approach brings to the Telco industry,” according to Marta Benach, Client Services Consultant at Broadcom. “With all the variability in the industry, it would be extremely hard, if not impossible, to test every option and yet they need to test every option.”

Model Based Testing provides developers with a way to more efficiently test because they’re not doing everything by hand and designing tests manually. It’s an approach that enables Telcos to become much more efficient and have full coverage in software testing. 

Knowing a source of truth for applications and the way software or services are supposed to work can allow Telcos to better understand service delivery, sales options and answer questions quicker, as was the case with another one of Broadcom’s Telco customers.

T-Mobile: using service virtualization for scalable employee training 
We’ve also helped Telco customers combine  Model Based Testing with Service Virtualization (SV) to create simulated tested workflows to train employees about service offerings and capabilities. This makes it easier for them to plan, manage, test and optimize the continuous delivery pipeline for new and existing services. That translates into faster time to market.

For T-Mobile, they leverage Broadcom’s Service Virtualization to virtualize their retail, customer service systems used  with real world training. As new system updates occur, the training system is also updated, providing T-Mobile representatives with the latest information.

Helping Telco customers on their end-to-end journey 
Many Telcos have large and complex models that define the end-to-end journey. It’s very hard to deal with all that nuance if manual test cases are being used. With Continuous Testing integrating Service Virtualization, At-Scale and Application level Performance Testing and Model Based Testing, Telcos can test more efficiently and at scale to provide better user experiences, even under pressure.

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