Quality is the most important export product for Germans. The German seal is like a guarantee of reliable and safe products. But does this hold true for the security of systems and software? The World Quality Report 2017 released by Capgemini and Sogeti examines the position of application quality and testing in 32 countries. Let’s take a look at Germany.

First: Why is the World Quality Report (WQR) important? It is important because the quality and smooth performance of IT have a direct impact on business and competitiveness. The value IT contributes to business goals constantly increases and the IT quality of the final product has a direct effect on the business. These are factors heighten the importance of the secure functioning of software and systems, even in the eyes of top-level management.

When asked about the objectives of their IT strategy, German IT leaders and CIOs gave the highest weight to options such as “higher quality of software solutions,” “enhanced customer experience,” and “enhance security.” The same holds true regarding the strategy for testing and quality assurance (QA). Nevertheless, budgets have been reduced for the second time now, to 25%. However, the budgets for testing vary from company to company and range from below 10% of the IT budget to more than 50%. And greater budget allocation for testing teams is forecasted in the report.

German masters of (test) automation

What is keeping German testers busy? A major trend in recent years has been automation. German companies have already achieved a fairly high level of automation internally and today the focus is on automation outside the organization. Currently, the focus is on aligning processes and platforms between organizations and their suppliers, after which there is likely to be a wave of automation of the entire value chain, which will play out over the next few years.

Germany also consistently reports higher levels of QA and testing automation than the rest of the world. According to our survey, as much as 18% of test data in Germany is generated using test data tools (as opposed to a worldwide average of 16%) and 18% of functional test cases are generated using test generation tools (as opposed to a worldwide average of 16%). Survey respondents also pointed to challenges such as “difficulties with integrating various automation tools together,” “automation tools not supporting mobile testing,” “challenges with service virtualization,” and “lack of skilled and experienced test automation resources.”

Other testing trends in Germany

The biggest and most prominent trend is clearly digital transformation, which touches on almost every sector of the German economy today. Due to the direct interaction with the customer provided by digitalization, there is a lot of focus on the customer. End-user satisfaction is the key goal of all organizational effort. It naturally implies quality assurance that is aligned to digital and integrated processes and has an effective impact on the work of a testing team. Information about development and infrastructure should therefore be secured in a testing team.

There has also been a steady shift towards agile and DevOps ways of working and we can expect further growth in the use of agile methodologies in Germany over the coming years. Germany is positioned a bit below the international average but is catching up fast. Companies have found ways to implement Agile in a structured way, which is in keeping with the process-driven German culture. However, as far as testing in an agile environment is concerned, there are still huge hurdles. One difficulty, as per the respondents of WQR, is the distribution of testing activities to several locations. This is due to the way in which testing is structured these days. Agile methods are almost omnipresent and not too many of the huge managed testing centers of the past exist now. Instead, companies now have smaller and more specialized Test Centers of Excellence (TCoEs) that follow the principle “Plug and Play.”

Last but not the least, security continues to be a considerable concern in the German market. This has, however, come into much more focus due to the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which will be implemented by May 2018 and testing teams do not yet consider themselves fully ready for the legal obligations.

To sum up: The biggest testing trends in Germany are the increasing automation in testing and the steady shift towards agile and DevOps ways of working—all driven by digitalization. In this way, even digital testing is gaining more importance and IoT products are experiencing a proper boom. At the same time, they give testers headaches due to their complexity and heavy dependency on the Internet of Things. More about that in my next blog. Stay tuned!