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Testing expert Lars Hinrichsen says there is too much improvisation in software testing (Photo: Steria Mummert)

More automation in software testing would make the process better, cheaper and more efficient, according to German testing consultants Steria Mummert.

Three out of four IT departments in Germany test most of their software manually. That takes experts away from their day-to-day responsibilities and leads to a lack of standardized testing procedures, Steria Mummert found.

The consultants said more testing automation is needed everywhere, but particularly when it comes to software, where quality assurance nowadays means more than just a guarantee that the product is error-free. Testers also need to make sure that all requirements are met by the product.

"Often that cannot be accomplished with the existing test team," said Lars Hinrichsen, managed testing expert at Steria Mummert. "Either there are not enough testers or it isn't economically feasible to put them on the job."

Frequently, moreover, not enough time is allotted to the testing process, which results in many companies no longer conducting all the required tests. And that, in turn, leads to quality problems.

Steria Mummert said automation can speed up the testing process. Test data can be reused and the entire process can be outsourced as it is no longer dependent on specific experts within the company.

As an interim step, companies' IT departments should adopt test processes that are traceable and can be repeated, the German consultants said.

Said Hinrichsen: "The tests should be mostly independent of a tester's ingenuity and from personal skills."