Case Study

Colas Digital Solutions

How Colas Digital Solutions industrializes end-to-end testing for speed and efficiency
110
enterprise applications
1400
automated tests across 6 legacy apps + ERP
80%
test automation in targeted app stack
image

End-to-end testing offers speed and efficiency

Overview

The Colas Group’s ambition is being the world leader in innovative, sustainable mobility solutions. Its mission is designing, building and maintaining sustainable transport infrastructure from its local roots, around the world. Its reason for acting? Connecting communities and fostering exchanges for the world of today and tomorrow. Its three main business segments are Roads, Materials and Railways.

The organization runs approximately 86,000 road and railway projects each year in some 50 countries worldwide. Their workforce of 55,000 people relies on a complex infrastructure to keep these projects moving. And these employees rely on the Colas Digital Solutions group. This group ensures that critical processes across 110 business applications work seamlessly while those applications evolve to meet their ever-changing operational needs.

With a major ERP system update rolling out as part of a broader digital business initiative, Colas’ quality leaders recognized that their existing manual testing approach had to evolve. It could not achieve the testing speed and completeness required to deliver the new functionality on-time and with an acceptable quality level. They had two options: hire additional manual testers or invest in test automation.

In theory, the automation path could yield significant cost savings in the long term, as well as provide more accurate and more rigorous checking than any number of manual testers could perform in a reasonable amount of time. But doubts remained. Was it possible to do test automation without wasting lots of time on test maintenance? Their quality leaders Sandrine Kita and Galaad Lepaul knew from past experiences that just building test automation was not enough for success. It was also critical to ensure the automation was resilient, reusable, and sustainable—and that required looking beyond the traditional script-based test automation tools that had failed in the past.

Tricentis helped Colas Digital Solutions evolve their existing manual testing practice into an automated approach that was more resilient, reusable and sustainable.

Challenges

  • 10 core applications to automate, across JD Edwards ERP, legacy applications, SaaS applications, custom desktop applications, and more.
  • Experiences with legacy test automation tools left many doubting the value of test automation

  • Interconnected applications evolving at different speeds

  • The applications are highly interconnected, but the associated project teams were quite siloed
  • Employees frustrated at the pace of change for core business applications

  • Business users did not have the background to create scripted tests
  • Testing was seen as a buffer between the end of development and go-live

Solution

Colas Digital Solutions launched the TASER (Test Automation of System to Evade Regressions) project and started researching test automation approaches that would evade the “maintenance trap” known to undermine test automation initiatives. A brief Proof of Concept with Tricentis Tosca proved that it fit their various needs extremely well:

  • Tricentis provides a single solution for automating the array of enterprise technologies in their complex application stack (JD Edwards, legacy desktop applications, SaaS applications…).
  • Business analysts could create their own automation without relying on developers.
  • The model-based test automation they created did not require as much attention and fixing as other systems. They knew this was key for ensuring that test automation provided long-term cost savings.

Galaad Lepaul built the initial set of tests working closely with experts from Tricentis. Some team members were not yet convinced of the value of test automation, so they decided to run manual testing in parallel with the new test automation. On the automated perimeter, the test automation not only found all the same issues that the manual testers did. In fact, it found more issues since it covered application areas that manual testers didn’t have time to check. At that point, the value of automation was accepted.

Based on the initial success, the project and team expanded. With a broader focus on quality assurance, they are advancing test automation across additional applications and also optimizing a manual test factory of Colas employees located in Morocco. For over three years now, they have been working closely with Tricentis, developing strategies with the guidance of Tricentis Customer Success and taking full advantage of various success programs that Tricentis has to offer (Continuous Testing Maturity Assessments, for example).

The Colas team has become Tricentis Tosca power users, and they plan to extend test automation across additional projects. They already know how to create sophisticated test automation with ease, and this expertise will ensure the fastest return on their subsequent test automation efforts.

Product Mix

“Increasing delivery speed was critical for our business, but we couldn’t get there with manual testing alone. We needed new tools that could help us accelerate testing—to industrialize it.”

— Galaad Lepaul, Head of Test Automation at Colas Digital Solutions

“Before, testing was just a buffer between development and go-live. Now, people in projects are beginning to embrace testing and the quality mindset. Seeing the increase in quality and the reduction of issues in production is really helping to underscore the value of testing.

Sandrine Kita, QA Lead at Colas Digital Solutions

Results

  • Automated testing across 6 legacy systems and an ERP with four major modules

  • Approximately 80% of testing is automated across target applications

  • Many production disruptions are avoided by exposing defects early with automation

  • Manual testing is performed alongside test automation where it makes strategic sense
  • Team members are relieved from testing, gain time to focus on the tasks they enjoy more

  • The team is adopting a new quality mindset, considering quality from the start and focusing on quality as a continuous process

  • Testing is becoming industrialized, and a team of specialists is now dedicated to test

  • 1400 test scenarios are automated and executing regularly