In this blog post, we describe and go beyond the benefits of testing to see how LzLabs is leveraging decades of experience – and some clever tools – to help our customers achieve their goals. We think it is of critical importance to emphasise the key role that testing plays. Mainframe teams have perfected their test procedures over time, yet in many cases, we have seen that testing investment has been reduced or outsourced for cost reasons. When kicking off your mainframe migration project, it is time to take your testing back into expert hands.
The challenge of testing
Many application migrations fail because, at the end of the day, they don’t do what they used to do. At LzLabs, we ensure that the application logic remains intact. Part of our secret sauce is one of the most essential ingredients for success: effective testing before, during and after the migration.
Testing is one of the most important elements in all our projects and often the most time-consuming element. If you do it right, it doesn’t have to take as long.
How do we do it? We use the LzLabs Software Defined Mainframe® (SDM) and our family of supporting mainframe migration products and services. This effective toolset allows you to pick and choose which mainframe applications to migrate to a new environment with no need to recompile, transcode, or rewrite. So, what is special about this when it comes to testing?
Successful testing in one third of the time
When you migrate using the LzLabs SDM, the big difference is that you can test your functionality in as little as one third of the usual time, even if you move to re-written or standard applications. That may seem unbelievable, but it works. We consider the 5 critical success factors that underpin good functionality testing, apply underlying intelligence and start by answering basic questions:
What do you still have to test?
How much do you have to test?
How confident are you that the application will do what it is supposed to do?
The good thing is – with LzLabs, you can be sure that the application will work after migrating, as it remains intact. By answering these questions, we extrapolate higher-level thinking and apply it to test more processes, more efficiently, at a higher level. Thus, we provide increased confidence that it will work.
Why is it important to get your testing right?
Often, the most decisive part of the project is the testing. By deciding what to test, and capturing relevant tests early enough in the project, you can gain a lot of momentum. However, if you underestimate the amount of testing in the beginning or don’t prepare them properly, you can run into serious trouble that may even result in failed projects.
Capturing test cases and being able to re-run them isn’t just crucial for the transitional phase of a project; it can be used for further modernisations, too. A substantially working test environment adds value because it helps with agile development’s critical ‘fail fast’ element.
Lastly, efficient test management also helps you deal with updates and upgrades later on.
So, what are the benefits of doing testing correctly from the beginning? We are so glad you asked…
Benefits of getting testing right, right from the start
Benefit 1: leverage previous investments in testing
Want to hit the ground running? Build on existing functionality tests that you have already developed before doing a mainframe migration. Tests do not have to be new if they work. Sometimes, it is even advisable to repeat testing before the project even begins, creating up-to-date reference data. Experience shows that this saves time and effort during the migration process.
Benefit 2: get IT aligned with business needs
The importance of cross-functional business alignment is often overlooked. If you get the business involved earlier in the project – by planning tests to help validate that they will be able to use the application the way they expect – then it really helps. In fact, thanks to the new, more modern platform, the application may work better – more efficient, user-friendly, etc. In addition, you can help pre-empt and even prevent potential miscommunication and misunderstanding, resulting in a smoother and more successful migration process.
Benefit 3: reduce risk
CIOs and other business leaders may consider mainframe migration to be a risky project. How do you know that mission-critical applications will work when you turn them on in a new environment? You don’t – unless you test them thoroughly! Proper testing can significantly reduce risk. That is why investing properly in this often grossly underestimated process is so important.
Benefit 4: get bug fixing right, earlier
In our experience, companies need to understand in detail what their users are actually using. Trying to anticipate that is almost an exercise in futility. Yet, if you can create solid tests which can be reusable, you won’t just use them during the migration phase, you can also use them in a more agile way during bug-fixing, issue-fixing and upgrade stages a long way down the road.
Benefit 5: help your operations team
Operations teams learn how to operate the environment and deal with issues after the testing has been done. Usually, this only happens once you are already in a live environment. If they have already become familiar with the environment in advance, through precise testing, they can run, monitor, track and trace and do backups on your applications almost from before you go live. The result? Valuable time is saved and operations team members are more confident and proactive, resulting in users receiving a better experience. It can also prevent future issues and downtime, while improving performance and reliability.
Benefit 6: build the foundation for future testing
When you get testing right during the migration project, you build a foundation for future test setups. When done well, testing is not just useful for mainframe modernisation, it is useful for the whole evolution of your business including current and future projects. In this way, good testing can become an evergreen investment that you can use to improve your existing testing infrastructure and even enhance your testing practices over time.
Are you ready to ask for help?
At LzLabs, we are determined to simplify the mainframe migration process, making it more effective and pain-free. That is why we are happy to share advice and guidance about testing, and help companies implement effective testing regimes.
We have been doing this for a long time and learned a lot from our successes and failures. That is why we are so passionate about helping organisations get mainframe migration right without the trauma!
We use our in-depth knowledge of testing best practices and methodologies to help our customers put testing regimes in place and save everyone valuable time and effort.
So, if you are curious about how to get the most out of your mainframe migration – whether that is about testing or any other element – please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our team of experts is always happy to have a chat.
Here’s a related blog: Functionality Testing: 5 Critical Success Factors.