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Mainframe Testing: Why Now is the Time to Automate

Maria Homann

Maria Homann

Digital transformation is on the agenda of every modern enterprise. For businesses using mainframe, however, the transformation process is proving difficult due to the processes for testing the mainframe systems - processes that are about as old as the technology itself.

Mainframe technology is used across global businesses, particularly in the banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI) industries, for several reasons:

  • Mainframes are reliable systems. The hardware in mainframes has been built to be reliable, as opposed to many other systems where you build in capabilities just to deal with potential system crashes.
  • Mainframes are scalable. You can run multiple systems and transactions on a single mainframe application instead of maintaining thousands of machines. That makes it significantly easier to manage and requires fewer resources.
  • Mainframes are designed to never have downtime. You don’t have to reboot mainframes like you do with other systems. Mainframes are built to keep running, and they don’t require downtime to be updated.

With these benefits in mind, it isn't difficult to understand why some of the largest enterprises in the world rely on them for their most critical business processes.

However, to meet the demands for transformed release cycles, which means delivering higher quality faster, it's imperative that mainframe development and testing is modernized with the right tool.

One way to drive higher quality and efficiency at low costs is to adopt new practices and tools, and by moving away from manual testing towards test automation.

From manual to automated tests: how to overcome common barriers

One of the main drivers for businesses to switch to automated testing is limited developer resources; while workloads are continuing to increase and expectations for quality delivery at speed are growing, skilled professionals with expertise in mainframe are becoming fewer.

Traditional, manual approaches to testing are draining skilled developer resources, which forces them to sacrifice quality and skip important parts of mainframe testing.

Unless teams find a way to automate tests, they risk falling behind the curve and delivering less than satisfactory customer experiences.

By automating tests, teams can speed up the entire release cycle and become more agile. Automated tests are significantly more accurate and fast at performing repetitive tasks, which means automation drives productivity and quality, and reduces risk.

By freeing up tester and developer resources, developers can focus on developing - this is particularly critical in mainframe development due to the limited amount of skilled mainframe programmers - and testers can move away from tedious, mundane, error-prone testing, and instead focus on exploratory testing, user experience or improving test design.

As a result, resources are optimized, the product is improved, customer experiences are enhanced, and the business can differentiate itself from the competition and thrive.

So what’s keeping mainframe-run businesses from shifting to automation?

The challenge is that most automation requires those same mainframe developers to set up the automated tests. Code-based automation only adds to the pile of work and prohibits the developers from actually developing.

No-code mainframe automation

No-code test automation can solve this problem. With a visual language instead of a script-based one, tests can be designed, executed and maintained without writing or reading a single line of code.

Leapwork is a no-code automation tool that allows mainframe developers and testers to automate tests with ease, and thus achieve the quality at speed that is required to stay competitive in today’s market.

Download our guide to green screen testing to learn how to overcome common challenges in mainframe testing to achieve efficient, low-risk, and low-cost operations.

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