Mercury extends reach of application-testing tool

Mercury released an updated version of its Business Process Testing QA tool, adding new user-acceptance features to the software.

Mercury Interactive recently released an updated version of its Business Process Testing QA (quality assurance) tool, adding new user-acceptance features to the software and expanding its integration with other Mercury testing tools.

Mercury Business Process Testing (BPT), first released in September, is part of Mercury's Quality Center suite of software for automating and tracking application-testing functions. The new version adds a user-acceptance certification step to the testing process, which now features a Web interface that business executives can use to try out a new application and provide structured feedback on it. The addition is intended to automate a step that is often left to ad-hoc manual documentation, said Matt Morgan, Mercury's Quality Center director of products.

"This was driven by [customers'] need to have a closed-loop system that documents all of this on a nice audit trail," Morgan said.

In the new BPT version, Mercury has also enabled integration with its WinRunner regression testing software, allowing customers to plug existing WinRunner test scripts into BPT. Mercury hopes the move will expand BPT's customer base by making the tool more attractive to WinRunner's estimated 75,000 users. In the 10 months it has been on the market, BPT has been used by 150 organizations, Mercury said.

Financial services company Raymond James Financial has significantly sped up its testing process since purchasing Quality Center two years ago, according to QA manager Leanne Stumph. BPT, which the company has used since the software's earliest beta-testing days, is an essential component, she said.

Raymond Jones initially deployed Mercury's QuickTest Professional testing tool, another Quality Center component, but found the software too developer-centric for its business-analyst users. "We talked to Mercury about our options, and they led us to BPT," Stumph said. "It was much easier for [the business analysts]. It led them step-by-step, and they can understand it from their standpoint, the business side."

Using BPT and QuickTest Professional in combination, Raymond James has run several applications through testing with Mercury's products, including a mutual fund order-entry system and an application to transfer information from the company's PeopleSoft ERP (enterprise resource planning) system to a custom application. So far, the system is working smoothly, Stumph said. "It's allowed us to free up [staff] resources to concentrate on different things," she said.

Mercury sells Quality Center worldwide. Pricing varies, but Mercury estimated a 15-user deployment, including BPT, would carry a license cost around US$50,000.

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