Good bye manual, hello automation: The era of change

The Windows 10 era has seen a change of policy from Microsoft, with the OS now provided as Windows as a Service (WaaS). This has several significant impacts upon ongoing ownership of an estate of Windows-based endpoints.

As part of this process, Microsoft will now release two features updates a year. It means, every time there’s an update, there are potential application compatibility/compliance issues and this is ongoing. There is no planned Windows “11”, just a continuous rollout of version “10” by any other name. The manual approach to application compatibility/compliance testing is extremely laborious and very expensive, in terms of both manpower and time. It is also given to significant human error, creating more time issues and costs.

For existing Windows-based enterprises, there is no “sit back and wait” option as, by January 2020, Windows 7 will no longer be supported so, realistically Windows 10/WaaS has to be adopted if a company is to remain with Microsoft.

So where to start with this?  Let me introduce Rimo3 ACTIV.

Rimo3 ACTIV automatically identifies and tests all applications in a customer’s estate, may that be in the migration to Windows 10 or at the point of ensuring continuous compatibility and compliance with Windows as a Service.

ACTIV connects to a company’s Microsoft SCCM (System Centre Configuration Manager) servers or any distribution point and automatically finds and identifies all retesting requirements. It also automatically differentiates between different versions of the same application, so is always aware of which version is in use.

The product is language and geo-site independent, so can be used to manage installations globally. It carries out a complete install, launch and test of each application to check for compliance and compatibility. Thereafter it monitors the distribution servers to indicate any package updates and potential section.

Rimo3’s ACTIV is designed to take the guesswork and uncertainty out of application compliance testing. It automatically identifies and tests all applications in a customer’s estate (though this is fully customisable), creating a pseudo-working environment that models user activity as accurately as possible.

It does this by combining automation and RPA (Robotic Process Automation) technology, starting by automatically identifying, discovering, installing and testing all applications in the estate, with no requirement for user intervention. The aim is to allow IT to focus on the remediation of applications that are proven by ACTIV to be incompatible.

The process can be monitored and managed from start to completion, meaning that applications can be prioritised or de-prioritised during these workflows, based on the results being generated. In this way it enables a migration to be completely flexible and pro-active. Importantly, everything can be viewed from a single interface, so any information feed such as accessing application records, tracking upgrade projects or viewing version numbers on an estate-wide basis, is available from a single console.

ACTIV is SaaS-based so there is no OnPrem setup at the endpoints, so can be driven from anywhere, via a real-time dashboard (single pane of glass view with real-time project updates and role-based views, including secure API access to 3rd party integration, within that single pane view).

Walking through the basic ACTIV process, here are the key elements:

  • Acquisition: ACTIV acquires applications from any source/SCCM for auto- acquisition and discovers all application inter-dependencies.
  • Auto smoke test: this is a 1-click, fully automated procedure, consisting of an application launch and load. Importantly, the smoke testing also tests an uninstall, often an application failure point.
  • UAT: This is a fully automated execution of a test case, based on defined UAT scripts.
  • Business Process Testing (BPT): This is based around a bespoke test case creation and automated execution that mimics a customer business process. The key element here is in maximising reliability by ensuring multiple applications do not interact negatively with each other.
  • Instant visual diagnosis: here we have complete visibility at an application’s point of failure, with real-time logs and snapshot screenshots.

The benefits are huge.

ACTIV reduces manual testing costs by over 50% and manual testing effort by 90%. ACTIV will also identify 99% of all compatibility issues before deployment or migration of a new release within a WaaS environment.  In addition, ACTIV not only allows a company to keep ahead of the requirements, but – in providing detailed analysis of each application – provides invaluable resource information to help model future requirements in terms of resource.

It really is the era of change, are you ready? Goodbye manual, hello automation.