By Tarun Philar, CTO & Global Head of PLM, Software Quality Systems
PLM has increasingly become an enterprise system of record for most manufacturing companies managing complex engineering and manufacturing product data. Over the past decade more and more companies of all sizes have embraced and adapted to a PLM environment. Easy access to enterprise wide information through such systems and the ability to collaborate and store information intelligently has increased the user base for PLM beyond just Engineering or Manufacturing. With more users relying on a PLM system for their day to day activities and tasks, it has become more important than ever to ensure a stable PLM environment is made available to all the users at all times. Given the complexity of a PLM solution this would require a thorough IT quality assurance process to be in existence at these companies.
Minimizing system downtime and loss of productivity thereof is critical to the success of every business. IT departments are tasked with identifying proven solutions to mitigate this risk of system downtime. Having a flexible risk management framework with automation is key to having a robust PLM environment. Flexibility is the key word here without which the cost of maintenance of such a solution can be significantly higher.
The HP technology solutions with HP Quality Control (QC) and Unified Functional Testing (UFT) tools enable delivery of a proven quality assurance process. Leveraging these technologies from HP, SQS has built a robust test automation framework that enables Teamcenter (PLM) customers to ensure a high quality PLM environments.
“A well-managed asset is a lot easier to maintain and incrementally build upon as your company progresses with increased scope of PLM implementations”
HP QC with its rich capabilities has been a tool of choice for most companies invested in a test automation tool.
HP QC allows for methodical storage thus increasing the reusability and easy access to the test assets. SQS leverages these capabilities in helping customers implement best practices around PLM quality assurance processes. A well-managed asset is a lot easier to maintain and incrementally build upon as your company progresses with increased scope of PLM implementations.
Benefits to Our Customers: Manufacturing companies have experienced a wide range of tangible and intangible benefits from automation of test cases.
Some of the Tangible Benefits have been: 1. Increase in testing scope coverage in the same amount of time. 1500 percent more scope coverage. 2. Lower cost of testing with automation. As much as 50 percent lower compared to manual testing. 3. Reduced issue resolution time. 75 percent reduction in resolution time due to timely identification of issues. 4. Ability to run tests overnight or off shift hours allowing more to be accomplished in a day. 5. Improved bug reporting and traceability.
Key Intangible Benefits:
1. Users are able to focus on new functionalities and increase the ROI from the investments made in PLM. 2. Reduce time spent on non-value add tasks. 3. Higher user satisfaction and acceptance rate.
Lowering the Cost of Maintenance:
Often companies that have tried automation of testing have noticed and complained of high costs of maintaining the automated scripts. This is largely dependent on the methodology adopted for automation. Often bad practices such as hard coding data points in the test cases and lack of reusable object oriented coding practices have led to these higher costs. Our customers have lowered their cost to maintain automated scripts by as much as 70 percent. HP UFT tool gives us the flexibility to allow a breakdown of the test case automation scripts in a modular component based approach allowing for higher reuse. The one-to-many mapping of objects to scripts allows a change to be made at the object level and be inherited by all subsequent scripts referencing that object.
Summary and Conclusions: PLM environments are mission critical in manufacturing companies and downtime is not tolerated. Identifying the correct amount of testing necessary is crucial in ensuring a smooth rollout.No amount of manual testing is comparable to the results of automated testing. The most efficient way to ensure adequate coverage during testing of a PLM solutions is through automation of testing.Automation of software testing has significant benefits if done right using the HP technology. It allows companies to create reusable test assets that can be managed with ease.Maintenance of automated scripts doesn’t have to be expensive if done right using proven technologies.HP technology solutions, HP Quality Control (QC) and Unified Functional Testing (UFT) enable manufacturing companies to implement advanced software quality assurance processes.